Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Char's Stars: Gathering of the Tribes

Written by: Char (@charlypies)

I’ll be honest: it’s been difficult to know what to write about this one. It seemed a performance piece that aimed to provoke a level of confusion with a side order of unexplainable suspense. So for my tardy response I apologise and plead a case of inarticulate-itus.

What I am able to say about my experience at Gathering of the Tribes is that I am now extremely keen to go along and see BABEL - the finale of this project.

In precisely 57 days from now the joint efforts of The Battersea Arts Centre, World Stages London, Wildworks and many other theatrical voices and sponsors, will come into fruition in the little-known (perhaps just in my opinion) Caledonian Park Islington. What this fruition will be, however, is rather mysterious…

Because I am a casting ‘special’ I was on the hunt for ‘Char’s Star’ from the get go and luckily found myself in a bubble-like tent with the wonderfully friendly Szymon (pronounced ‘Simon’, but with a touch of the special). Szymon is from The Recipe Collectors who have sprung from the New Vic to take from the ‘recipe rich’ and give them a new currency. In short, I was encouraged to write a recipe for anything I could possibly think of (I chose epiphanies) and receive one in return from someone else around the world to take away and use as I pleased. This was one of many performance inputs at the event, but was easily my favourite.

BABEL is evidently about the people who make this project what it promises to be; focuses on our sense of community, our sharing of knowledge and, of course, the jilting of our everyday perceptions within city environments. There was admittedly a somewhat early Glasto-hippy-vibe to ‘The Gathering of the Tribes’ with performers inviting me to tie coloured cloth to branches in the surrounding forests and a loud shadow puppetry spectacle suggesting that the clock tower ‘remembered’ the change of its surroundings. BUT, the sheer number of people coming to their windows in the surrounding flats to see what was happening in their local park was amazing to see. As I stood and watched the impressive show of the lit and almost personified clock tower, it reminded me that there are people in the grey blocks of a city, and that these places are still communities despite looking like angry, looming blocks of concrete.

I encourage people to find their ‘star’ as I have with this project and can only assume that you will find a little je ne sais quoi as I did, in a city where we are not often able to take time to do so…

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