Tragedy (2015-2016)

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Installation view, fig-2 at the ICA, London (photographed by Sylvain Deleu)

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Installation view, fig-2 at the ICA, London (photographed by Sylvain Deleu)

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Installation view, fig-2 at the ICA, London (photographed by Sylvain Deleu)

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Installation view, fig-2 at the ICA, London (photographed by Sylvain Deleu)

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Video Clip Act 1

Video Clip Act 2

Video Clip Act 3

Excerpts - 03:08, 04:55, 05:21
High Definition video installation | 01:56:53

single-channel video projection with stereo sound, pipe and drape room partitioning, seating

long format film version

Tragedy, co-produced with the Opera North in Leeds, brings forth an altered experience of the infamous opera La traviata, presenting it in its entirety. Mimicking the framing device of a play within a play, the piece produces a production of production. The music guides the camera as it explores the fragility of the ‘live’ event. Throughout the work, we observe stage managers, technicians, costume dressers, props personnel and performers, bringing an operatic tradition into context with present-day realities and pronouncing the mechanics that create an experience. A new mise-en-scene for La traviata is presented, composed of its processes of routine labour around the stage while revealing a choreography of support situated between the culture of the workplace and the ‘grand narratives’ of the opera.

Keeping true to the ‘real-time’ of performance and in reference to live screen-based broadcasts, the screen’s attention is turned to the theatre that exists aside the stage. The live-ness relays moments of anticipation, cues and readiness that hold the tension and parallel the stakes of stage performance. Moments of pause and waiting - personal time – where discrete scenarios play out are the dramatic counterpoints. Reconceptualising the gestures of labour-in-time, of too early, too late, of stepping on and off stage as the imperative choreography, the work makes visible a peripheral space of performance whose actors/agents are a community of producers.

Credits:
  • Cinematographer: Margaret Salmon
  • Field Producer: Will Rose
  • Sound Recordist: Tom Sedgewick
  • Editor: Mathieu Bouchard-Malo
  • Sound Mix: Benjamin Hurd
  • Post Production: Sue Giovanni
  • Project Director: Dominic Gray, Opera North
  • Co-production with Opera North, Leeds
  • Special Thank-you to the Opera North Company, Chorus and Crew for their gracious participation in the filming of the project.
  • Funded by Opera North, the Canada Council for the Arts and the University of Hertfordshire.