Lilian Baylis Studio
The Lilian Baylis Studio feels a bit like Sadler’s Wells Lite, being just next door. We entered via the stage door, and there’s a little café and some gallery-esque bits and bobs to look at. Through a door and down the stairs an empty studio beckons, braced for creatives to fill it for us. Tonight, artist J Neve Harrington has an ‘experience’ waiting.
SOME TIMES is an event more than a theatrical piece; a journey through time that has been created by Harrington’s multi-modal mind. We are led through the evening by a cast of multi-generational performers, including a wonderful community group of 16-19 year olds. Different scenes bring contrasting experiences and feelings, splitting the performance into four distinctive sections. The young members of the cast are only around in the first part, and I kept looking out for them to come back but they didn’t – although in a Q&A after the performance they didn’t seem to mind this and sounded genuinely thrilled with their role.
I’m new to Harrington’s work, and was surprised to find out this was her first go at a ‘performance’ – where we begin and end together, where it happens and then it finishes. However, no one in the audience had the same evening as another person. Yes, we saw and heard the same things, but something about Harrington’s presentation felt so uniquely like a gift for me and me alone.
I felt both soothed and excited by shifting landscapes made of ribbon, affronted by dancers displacing each other like tectonic plates and entranced by a panoramic stagecraft masterclass. The sound (by Dan Nicholls), lighting (by Jack Hathaway) and projections (by Lucie Kordacova) have their moments to shine, with the absence of performers in one scene making a stark difference to the experience. One scene where the performers, clad in metallic clothes, raced around like particles attracted and repelled by each other, is particularly enjoyable. Even though we were in the round I forgot anyone else was even there.
Harrington’s exploration of relationships is powerful: how we relate to each other, to our surroundings, to our senses and to our own thoughts changes as we travel through time. The way we pass through time changes as well, sometimes sailing through, sometimes being dragged. In SOME TIMES I thought I saw it all, felt it all and came away better for it. A thought I had as it went along what that it wasn’t entertaining, per se, (and I daresay not meant to be?) but completely engaging. So do check out Harrington’s SOME TIMES, or whatever she comes up with next, not because it’s entertainment to while away some time, but because it’s a treat, a tonic, an idea.
Written by: J Neve Harrington
Produced by: Eve Veglio-Hüner & Nassy Konan
Space Design by: J Neve Harrington
Sound Design by: Dan Nicholls
Lighting Design by: Jack Hathaway
SOME TIMES has now finished its run at The Lilian Baylis Studio. Information on upcoming events at Sadlers Wells can be found here.