Some moons ago, I flirted with the idea of working in an art department. I spent a summer huddled in a cramped room at the BAC transforming bottles and dried goods from the Chinese supermarket into weird and wonderful potions, all in aid of the Punchdrunk production of Masque of the Red Death. Sadly, the need to eat got the better of my art department dream, but it was an experience that I remember with pleasure and a company that was obviously on the up. The team behind the name still remain the same, and the buzz they have created since their humble beginnings is growing exponentially.
Their latest production is in collaboration with the National Theatre (no less) and will resurrect the unfinished story The Drowned Man, by German writer Georg Buchner. It’s a tale of a soldier who, tormented by his experiences at war, murders his unfaithful wife in a fit of crazed passion. Whilst the story is relevant, the company’s style is often so interactive and abstract, it rarely ends as a lesson in traditional storytelling. Expect interactive, immersive theatre coming at you from all sides. Audience participation and exploration are all encouraged and essential.
The space they will use this time is a whopping 200,000 sq ft, in a converted film studio close to Paddington station. The performances will attract 600 people a night… which is nothing short of enormous. Will it work? Perhaps not in a traditional theatre sense, but, as always their work is an act of illusion more than sense; an experience that stays with its audience for days, months, and possible years after. (Words: Laura Thornley)
The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable runs from June 20th – December 30th. For more info visit: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-drowned-man-a-hollywood-fable