Intimacy: Beautiful and touching devised theatre – A Curatorial Statement by Norman Armour
January 07, 2016
Some shows scream for attention.
Others are far quieter—they whisper in your ear. At first not being sure of what you’re hearing, or even the direction from which you are being beckoned, the work subtly, gradually and ever so gently beckons you into its orbit. This effect can be the result of a particular performance style, perhaps the nature of the spoken text, or maybe the combination of live performers and projected image—the various “materials” of stage, as it were.
On the other hand, a show’s charm might rest with the precise nature of the explicit content or subject matter, and the surgeon’s precision with which the artist tackles and gives form to it. Intimacy is one such work. Created from snippets of overhead conversations in public spaces, Australia’s Ranters Theatre has created a beguiling piece of devised theatre that beautifully and touchingly explores notions of human interaction, of disclosure, of kindness, and of cloaked exposure. Through a series of intimate and far-ranging conversations, the piece gives a candid, funny and sometimes disquieting portrait of everyday life where personal anxieties are never far from the surface.
I saw Intimacy a few years back in a festival called Theaterformen in Germany. Anja Dirks was the festival’s curator at the time. I’d always been drawn to her curation, as it inevitably provided me with something surprising, unknown and unexpected. Anja, while a regular collaborator with her European colleagues on extended tours of foreign works, she would often strike out on her own and present something that no one else did. These were to-be-discovered gems and works that defied categorization; they were sui generis, having a self-defined universe.
Ranters Theatre hails from Melbourne. A remarkable city. One of my all time favourites to visit. Heck, I’d move there in a flash. Australia’s San Francisco. Intelligent, diverse, built on a very human scale, with coffee houses (and Italian food) to die for. Also one of the most imaginative cocktail lounge scenes one could envision. Vancouver and Melbourne have a lot in common—not the least being our respective independent theatre scenes. In fact, I’ve often felt there was a kind of “distant cousin” relationship between the two cities. Our own local treasures like Neworld, Theatre Replacement, Boca del Lupo, 605 Collective, Out Innerspace, Itsazoo, and The Chop would find their creative (even spiritual) counterparts there.
My not so secret hope is that audiences here in Vancouver will also find their opposite number—a mirrored reflection of their own inner thoughts, musings and desires.
Yes, it’s me whispering…
Artistic & Executive Director
Get to know Intimacy January 20–23, 2016 at The Orpheum Annex. Book tickets on your PuSh Pass, Youth Passport or as single tickets online.