The Terrible Shaman
Street Theatre commissioned by the Nightingale Theatre (Brighton) as part of their Dip Your Toe project. Performers Ulysses Black, Matt Rudkin and Annie Brooks devised an ostensibly 'nonsense ritual' undertaken by three shaman characters from an unknown land.
The principle had been an inversion of an anthropological expedition to visit the 'primitives', in which three shaman had journeyed to the developed world as some sort of spirit quest. Responding to the people and locations, objects and signage of the street areas the shaman would encourage the audience and passers-by to look upon their urban home with new eyes.
Dressed in bizarre costumes, and speaking no english, the three grotesque shaman characters would embroil the audience in a ritual to save their local town centre from a terrible monster.
Built into the show were several interesting structures:
1) Solid ritual frameworks underpinned the apparent comic or pseudo-rituals, aiming to deliver a sense of authenticity despite clearly being invented.
2) The presence of sympathetic and mimetic elements within the show, as with ritual enabled the shifting of perspective between degrees of suspension of disbelief. To elaborate: the ritual included puppetry. The shaman would respond to the puppets as if they were real spiritual entities, and yet retain a notion that there were also animated fetishes, whose spirit passed through the hands of the shaman to animate them. The result is that the shaman provide both the remedy to an ailment of a monster attacking the town, and also, obviously enough, provide the monster.
The Terrible Shaman have appeared at the Brighton Fringe (2012), the Milton Keynes Fringe (2012), the Brighton Pink Fringe (2012) and in Amiens, France for Nuit Blanche (White Night Festival) (2012).
The work has entered a second phase of development and should be available for booking late summer 2013 onwards.
Ulysses Black co-wrote and performed within this production, alongside which he provided ritual consultancy, and the ritual structuring that permeates the show.
Milton Keynes Fringe
Brighton's Pink Fringe
Nuit Blanche (Amiens, France)
May - Oct 2012
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