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....

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A trip to Manchester

Christina watching herself in 'Snow Mirror'

Christina and I met up with Alison as planned at the Whitworth Art Gallery to catch 'Dark Matters' in its last week. I visited the exhibition in November but neither Alison or Chris had seen it. I had been impressed, especially by Daniel Rozin's 'Snow Mirror', but I wanted us to start thinking about the way we could use video projection in 'Angus'. 

The Whitworth is one of my favourite art gallery spaces of all. Spacious, calm, friendly and generous - but in no way gimmicky or unecessarily demanding. I've known it for well over 40 years and still it improves with each visit. Alison and Chris loved the show - and we sat having lunch by the entrance talking about ways in which we could apply some of the ideas we had seen to our theatre piece. 

I've used video and film in our productions since 1983, in Needles in a Candleflame, when we re-created some of Georges Méliès films (now being remembered in Martin Scorcese's 'Hugo'). To me simple film and animation flows naturally in and out of puppetry - with shadow puppetry being the cross-over point. Nowadays, with film, animation and projection technology being so much easier to use and cheaper to buy, it has a natural place in our work - and to some extent it can be used to compensate for the fact that we can no longer afford to tour with a cast of 6, 7, or even 8 performers in the way we did in the 1980s. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for writing about this exhibition. Managed to catch it just before it closed. What a wonderful collection of works. The simplicity of ideas was inspiring...