Photography: Laura Montag

a performance by Sylvia Rimat

‘There is such a strange menagerie of ideas brought into play in this show that it would be hard to forget’  Total Theatre 
‘If I squint, I can see a serious dancer from the last century. She occupies the stage along with an owl, an elephant, a deer, and pieces of screwed up paper with audience members’ names on them – some of it real, some imagined. The images float somewhere between a memory and a dream, but they’re always collective. It’s not that I am remembering something, but that we’re remembering something together’ Mary Paterson, critical writer  SPILL Festival 2011 
A wonderfully inventive performance, that not only questions the nature of performance spectating but also offers a tantalising 45 minutes of theatrical joy’  A Younger Theatre

Performance maker Sylvia Rimat follows the aspirational and possibly impossible goal to present a show never to be forgotten by its audience members – not a single one. By introducing memory tasks and techniques and applying them to the stage situation, the audience is systematically trained to remember – hopefully forever.

I guess if the stage exploded... aims to explore and interlink ideas on memory, presence and sight, whilst trying to understand our urge to be commemorated. The show draws on memory techniques taken from popular science books and on models of remembering, borrowed from several disciplines.

For the development of the show, Sylvia approached several specialists in the field of memory, e.g. a researcher from Bristol Neuroscience, a lecturer from Experimental Psychology, a hypnotherapist and a researcher from the Centre for Death and Society in Bath, to get their advise on how this performance could be remembered. Sound excerpts from these conversations are woven into the performance, drawing our attention to the role of brain waves and the hippocampus in the brain, on the difficulty of keeping a memory alive, and on the desire of many of us, to be remembered.

"If you like, you can close your eyes and wander back in your mind. Into the hippocampus in your brain, which is a campus, a field, like the old air field in Berlin. And in this field there is space for everything and anything. A brown leather armchair, an eagle owl with bright orange eyes and the legendary voice of Maria Callas. A patch of grass in Berlin and a party with multi-coloured streamers in a kitchen in Sydney  Australia, a mysterious hooting owlman and a woman wearing a red lampshade, dancing angular shapes across the stage."

Performance duration: 55min

Concept and performance: Sylvia Rimat
Outside Eye/ Production Assistance: Rhiannon Chaloner

External performers: Birgit Binder, Andrés Galeano, Malcolm Whittaker & Georgie Meagher
Eagle Owl: Ollie

Lampshade choreography: Kate Ashman
Sound support: Charles Poulet

Sound extracts from interviews with Dr. Matt Jones (Bristol Neuroscience), Dr. Christopher Kent (Experimental Psychology/ University of Bristol), Dr. John Troyer (Centre for Death and Society, University of Bath), Sam Langley (Hypnotherapy)

I guess if the stage exploded... was presented at the Barbican London as part of SPILL Festival 11 and at Arnolfini Bristol as part of Mayfest 2011. Work-in-progress extracts have been presented at 'Supper Club' at The Basement Brighton (March 11), at Practice at ICIA Bath (Feb 11) and during a residency at Grimmuseum Berlin/ Germany (Jan 11).

The performance is available for booking and works well in a festival context. A marketing pack including Tech Specs and a full length video documentation can be sent to you on request. Please contact Sylvia.

I guess if the stage exploded… was commissioned by SPILL Festival at the Barbican, London. Supported by Arts Council England.