The magical Paper Cinema arrives at Battersea Arts Centre this month to play out the epic ancient Greek poem ‘Odyssey’ by Homer – as you do – in their fascinating and heart-melting style. If you know The Odyssey, then you will know its fantastical quality, set across many islands and with Odysseus (Ulysess if you prefer the Roman name) as the hero; the poem tells of Odysseus’ attempts to return home after the Trojan war. You may also be familiar with its epic proportions, its difficult to follow storyline and the fact it’s the second oldest poem known to exist in the West. Never fear though, the Paper Cinema breathes simplicity and joy into everything it produces, making this silent take on this 8th Century BC epic a wondrous sight.
The ‘Paper cinema’ concept is taken from the company’s unique combination of live animation and film projection, played alongside a live musical accompaniment. The team are an impressive meeting of puppeteers, designers and musicians. Each scene for the production is brought to life from a simple black line drawing on plain white paper, held in front of a camera. This is then projected for the audience to follow. The simplicity but effectiveness of the art is astonishing. Despite the static drawings, the puppeteers bring life to the projection by moving the sketches around the camera frame. It may not sound like much but their skills create a surprising amount of feeling and movement. And, accompanied by the musical skills of Christopher Reed, Ed Dowie and Quinta (the foley artists) – their enchanted world sings.
Whilst all eyes are directed to the screen, the performers will also be in view as they produce the piece. An amazing opportunity to witness a truly fascinating art, live. (Words: Laura Thornley)
On until March 9th. For more info, visit https://www.bac.org.uk/content/16166/see_whats_on/current_shows/cook_up/the_paper_cinemas_odyssey