ANGUS MCPHEE - Weaver of Grass

ANGUS MCPHEE or MACPHEE was a crofter from Uist who spent almost 50 years in a Highland psychiatric hospital. During this time he chose not to speak - instead he wove a series of incredible costumes out of grass. These he hung on trees in the hospital grounds.

This blog follows the progress of HORSE + BAMBOO THEATRE as they develop and tour a show about Angus....

Friday, 27 January 2012

Great Fire in London

A couple of days in London, killing several birds with one visit. On the train back my Angus-mind keeps returning to two things in particular. First an extraordinary exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Anselm Kiefer at the White Cube gallery. Some months ago I blogged about Kiefer's work and how our set might gain something from incorporating some of the textures of his drawings. In the White Cube show the richness of the surface texture of the paintings is extraordinarily rich and quite ravishing - and it often looks as if it's in danger of falling off, so the paintings have an odd vulnerability, suggesting something like a ridiculously slow-motion theatre rather than the usual permanency one associates with painting. 


The second is the show 2 Dimensional Life of Her by Fleur Elise Noble (above), part of London International Mime Festival. I saw this at the Barbican this evening, just before rushing off to catch the late train. It was full of inspiring techniques, and I couldn't help spending almost as much time weighing up how some of the effects were achieved as simply enjoying it all. Probably the highlight of the show is when the whole stage appears to be on fire, and it's a truly powerful sequence despite understanding that this is simply a trick of film. I swear I felt the heat coming off the stage, and the fact that the characters we had been seeing were made largely of paper just added to the power of the scene. I'm planning a bonfire in 'Angus' and this convinced me that, done well, it could be really stunning. Oddly, despite the overwhelming visuals, I also realised that it was the accurate and very loud sound of the fire that was ultimately critical in making us believe in it.

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