Thursday, October 27, 2016

'The Flames'

27 October 2016

On Wednesday afternoon I was at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow to see the first performance by ‘The Flames’ - a new multi-media theatre group for participants aged fifty and over established by Tricky Hat Productions and directed by Fiona Miller. Their devised work, developed through five days of rehearsal workshops in October 2016 and presented as part of the Luminate Festival, combines drama, poetry, mime, film and specially composed music to explore life after fifty and challenge perceptions of ageing. Seven actors sitting on a line of chairs facing the audience took turns to come forward to one of two standing microphones. In each case we had no idea what to expect – particularly from the actor wearing a brown paper bag over her head. This series of vignettes challenged stereotypes and ruminated on the modern world. Often an individual performance was accompanied by silent black & white film of the same actor’s face projected on a giant screen above the stage. These videos by Kim Beveridge provided a wonderfully intimate feeling of really getting to know the performers and valuing them as individuals. We were also treated to a taste of ‘The Flaming Elders’, a sister project by Tricky Hat which is collaborating with older people in Inverclyde, Dumfries & Galloway and North West Glasgow. Four musicians performed live to accompany video projected on the wall behind them. It was great to see older people engaging in innovative, improvised performance after a very short period of intensive rehearsal and to get a sense of the confidence and joy this collaborative process had given them. You can read an interview with Tricky Hat Artistic Director, Fiona Miller, at:

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