stunde null

16Apr12

Stunde Null : Edit from imitating the dog on Vimeo.

Previewed in January at the Platform Theatre, Kings Cross, Stunde Null (Zero Point) is one of two new shows from Imitating The Dog and Pete Brooks. The show extends the company’s trademark style of using hi-spec editing and projection technology to create a distinctive filmic aesthetic.

I first worked with Pete when (as one of his original cohort of students at Lancaster University) he directed the inspirational Sleep Has It’s House, drawn from Oliver Sacks book “Awakenings” – a series of accounts of patients trapped in a state of catatonic sleeping sickness. That was May 1986, when Pete was winding up his own company, Impact Theatre Co-op in the wake of their ultimate piece, The Carrier Frequency. Our proto-show became in turn the model for The Sleep, which toured the following year as the inaugural production for Insomniac Productions, featuring Sarah-Jane Morris. Pete’s arrival and tenure as Fellow-in-Theatre marked an incredibly vibrant period of creativity at Lancaster. With Impact Co-op as a model, Pete encouraged four of us to form a company of our own, Glory What Glory, producing 3 touring shows in as many years under his mentorship (1987-90) – all  hi-physicality and with more than a trace of the film-derived visual aesthetic which Pete would develop more profoundly in the work of Insomniac (eg. L’Ascensore, Clair de Luz) and later Imitating The Dog. Composer Jocelyn Pook provided the soundtracks to this early work, which featured at the National Review of Live Art 1988 and graced many an Arthouse venue across the UK at a time when a touring network really existed and where it was possible to book a 30-date tour for a young, virtually unknown company and deliver it within a 2-month period.

When it became clear that Glory What Glory had run its course, I teamed up with recent Lancaster graduate James Yarker and returned to my native Birmingham with the newly-formed Stan’s Cafe. The seductive influence of Pete’s work remained and continues to remain, however. I worked with Pete on several Insomniac and related projects in the early 90’s and some notable Stan’s Cafe pieces acknowledge his aesthetic – notably It’s Your Film (1998) and Constance Brown (2007). More directly however, James managed to persuade the programmers of Birmingham’s ‘Towards The Millennium Festival’ to support the re-staging of Impact’s The Carrier Frequency at the Crescent Theatre, in May 1999

The Carrier Frequency, restaged by Stan’s Cafe. Performers: Charlotte Vincent, Jake Oldershaw, Mike Kirchner, Cait Davis, Heather Burton, Graeme Rose. Photo: Ed Dimsdale

Stunde Null by Imitating The Dog will be touring the UK from October 2012

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