Review: Experimentica Day #5 @ Chapter

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Review: Experimentica Day #5
Chapter Arts Centre
Sunday 2nd April 2017

It was a sad Sunday afternoon, when Experimentica came to an end. It has been another awesome five days of bonkers and wonderful theatrical experiences. We only hope, that next time the festival has day passes. Shows being fully booked and people chomping at the bit for tickets, is not something I wish to experience again and I know other patrons would agree.

Finishing off the start of the last day, Thomas Goddard (who has been featured in the festival before) presented Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop. This work was a telling depiction of how much variety there is in the way we utilise our hands. Film work featured numerous archive extracts of various shots of hands, as young performing arts students delivered varying gesticulations in front of us. Being encased in tight black body suits, these actors conducted, high fived, gave fascist salutes and triggered offensive finger gestures (why do we take offence to certain finger positions???). This held up as a marvellous Dada like array of gesture and moving image.

*Update* A week after Experimentica, a full performance of Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop was billed, but was sadly cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. We can only pray (with our hands) that this is quickly rearranged for the near future.

We had a few hours rest before the next piece. I was curious to what the premise of H*w Gr**n W*s M* V*ll** (Draft 1) was. The name is fragments of the infamous film How Green Was My Valley, which was also winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. It’s set in Wales, though had to be made in wartime California, and the work is as Welsh as a falafel. Only one actor hails from Wales and for some reason the Welsh mam sounds Irish. Inspired by all the flaws and charms of the film, A.S. invited us into the studio for an intimate encounter.

Tying in well with the Hidden Language theme, all the actors (some recognisable from The Nether a few weeks prior) wafted around us and whispered into our ears their thoughts and options on How Green Was My Valley. Some interesting perspectives are heard, though other times it’s just pointing out events that occurred. Even through the festival theme, why was all this whispered about this film? What secrets are there? All though the piece, had a vibrancy to it, it eventually became stale and the hour long run time was bloated.

In the Cinema Foyer for the whole weekend, Heike Roms and Gareth Llŷr Evans had pitched their little booth for Yr Ymarferiadur: What’s Welsh for Live Art? The idea was to tackle translation into Welsh and finding ways to create new words that help define our work as artists.

Although I barely had time to grace them with a visit over the weekend, they had time for a performance in which they shared some of these new words. Heike had an incredibly deadpan delivery and often had us in hysterics, whilst lovely Gareth then translated everything into Welsh (a film piece about their finding would also be a welcome addition to the project). In order for our native language to prosper, we must find ways like this to create new words in the art world and beyond.

Joy of word making and the preservation of the native tongue.

Keeping the best till last, Our Carnal Hearts was such an enjoyable experience that a review simply won’t justify it’s brilliance. Rachel Mars insights and declaration are glorious poetry and the singers who join her a equally as wonderful. We in a square link ring, with one singer on each side and we are treated to some a smashing work of musical theatre.

Programmes would have been great as we wanted to know who consoled the music and just who the fab singers were. Stories of Nespresso shops and the banality of Twitter are highlights. After asking me how many followers I have on the site, I replied with 700, to which Rachel declared “Congratulations! You have won Twitter”. She makes cringe at our actions on social media and the singers complement this by changing the most stupid of Tweets out to us. The reacting of a brutal Guatemalan ritual for babies with rubber chickens, was a super way to vent about our letdowns in life and how she channelled this for us was totally inspired.

I could have seen it go on much longer, though all things come to an end, as does this festival of all things experimental.

Brimming with a vibrant musicality and razor sharp wit.

Excited for next year!


Idle Hands are the Devil’s Workshop: 4 stars
H*w Gr**n W*s M* V*ll** (Draft 1): 3 stars
Yr Ymarferiadur: What’s Welsh for Live Art? (performance): 4 stars
Our Carnal Hearts: 5 stars 

Weeping Tudor Productions returns with their next project: Jamais vu [Brexit means Brexit]. Come join us at the Wales Millennium Centre on Wednesday 31st May as we musically trigger Article 50. Expect flashes of Gertrude Stein, John Cage, Steve Reich, Luigi Nono, poetry, performance art and the joy that is Teresa May. Don’t be left behind. Tickets available soon.

Photo Source: Claire Haigh


Review: Experimentica Day #4 @ Chapter

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Review: Experimentica Day #2 @ Chapter

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