|The Alpha Effect|
Prisoners' Lives recreated in movement drama
Front: Sam Ward, Alex Mancuso, Tom Durden
Back: Harry Kingscott, Sydney Robertson
|March-Past - an exercise in synchronised movement|
Front: Tom Durden & Michael Reece
Back: Ben Gilbert, Sam Ward,
Alex Mancuso, Harry Kingscott,
Sydney Robertson, Daniel McNeill
For just £1 admission per head, the audience filed into the small studio space. The prospect was intriguing - a depiction of prison life, without words.
Starting from darkness, the scene was illuminated by harsh spotlights, immediately suggesting confinement and surveillance. The eight performers, in vests and track-suit bottoms were initially static, but then began to march.
|Wild emotions expressed in movement|
Tom Durdon and Michael Reece look on in disbelief
The sequences are incredibly complex, clearly involving exhaustive preparation, and are also physically exhausting. Each performer is soon bathed in perspiration and flushed with exertion - and emotion. On the rare occasions when one or two step back to become observers, they are clearly breathless and only slowly recovering.
|As night falls|
each pair of cell-mates engage in intense dance
Sometimes two characters seem to be expressing love for each other, clearly uncertain, and confused by the inescapable suggestion of enforced limitation to homo-eroticism. Alongside, and interwoven, is the overarching theme of conflict and aggression. Tenderness turns to violence recalling the hair-trigger responses of wild animals encroaching on each other's territory.
|As dawn breaks|
the inmates bewail their fate once more
This performance is short - less than an hour - but so intense that the cast and audience are left drained at the end. "The Alpha Effect" is a total, and frighteningly real, immersion in an alien experience, which allows no respite until the final chord. Even after the action stops, the energy fills the room delaying any return to the more mundane concerns of life outside.
This extraordinary work, with all the preparation and energy that goes into it, will only run to three performances. The second was on the evening of Thursday 20th May. The third will be this Saturday evening (7th June) at Exeter Northcott Theatre (Exeter University Streatham Campus).
"The Alpha Effect" will be performed as part of "RAW: An Emerging Theatre-Makers' Platform", which starts at 7pm on Saturday in the Northcott Theatre. The show will open with two other pieces, "She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother" (an account of anorexia, as seen through the eyes of a sufferer's son) and "Blink" (an exploration in dance, of the effects of a breakdown in the relationship between mind and body). The evening will end with the third and final performance of "The Alpha Effect".
Tickets and information, as always are available from the Northcott Box Office which opens every day at 10am (and is also open for an hour before each performance). The box office staff take calls on 01392 493493 and bookings can be made online through the Northcott Website.
See the end of this post for full details.
Congratulations to the team for a masterpiece of masculine expression, generously crafted, and impressively successful in what it aims to express. The team of students head their separate ways after this, but we will surely be hearing more of all of them before very long.
|Chained and captive within four walls|
Centre: Ben Gilbert
|Love and tenderness|
(Sam Ward & Tom Durden, Michael Reece)
|give way to violence|
(Tom Durden & Ben Gilbert)
|The suffering of one is felt by all|
|The Cast of "The Alpha Effect" -|
Sam Ward, Sydney Robertson, Harry Kingscott, Ben Gilbert,
Tom Durden, Alex Mancuso, Michael Reece, Daniel McNeill
-acknowledge their technical crew
RAW: Emerging Arts Platform
|The Alpha Effect|
Ben Gilbert, Sam Ward
(Photo: Victoria Fullick)
Exeter Northcott Theatre
Saturday 7 June 7pm
"She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother"
A young man's experience of
his mother's anorexia
An exploration in dance, of the
isolation of the mind from the body
"The Alpha Effect"
Eight men share the experience of
life in a men's prison
(2x £13, 3x £18, 4x £22, 5x £25)
Box Office: 01392 493493
"The Alpha Effect" Facebook Page