A central feature of Matt Franco’s solo piece Alpha Who? is panoramic scenography that responds to the performer. Learn more about how this “painting in movement” is created, check out our gallery of stunning photos – and then experience it live at Camden Fringe, where the production runs at the Cockpit Theatre from 7 to 9 August only. Time to get booking!
Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, a brave and honest solo performance, inspired by the writer’s own personal experiences.
Every week, 84 men take their own lives in the UK. This statistic reflects how today’s modern society is struggling to define masculinity. Delving into the reasons behind the silent mental health crisis men are experiencing today, creator Matt Franco explores gender identity, vulnerability, emotionality and the binary restrictions of feminine and masculine ideals. A central piece of the production, directed by Gail Sixsmith, is the panoramic painting, designed by Saverio Tonoli.
A painting in movement
The Painting was born under the impulses and suggestions of the themes researched in Alpha Who?, in the attempt of juxtaposing the act of the performance and the physical presence of a painting on stage. Therefore, it becomes a crucial player in the flowing relationship between text, movement and space.
The Performer represents the Man looking for clues to reach the next level of consciousness, sharing his journey with the audience, welcoming it in his Cave in a limbic and metaphysical dimension of reality: the infinite and timeless Mind. In this scenario, the Painting can be considered a set of cave paintings that the Performer tries to decipher in order to bring his story forward.
A story that gleans from the journeys of mythological figures such as Atlas, Epimetheus and Prometheus.
Aesthetically, the Painting is an interpretation of the physical interior landscape of a living mammal being. The brush paths and the mixture of four different red variations – the colour nuances of blood – recall the shapes of the organs, in particular, the Brain, the Stomach and the Uterus. One piece, The Key, stands out of this abstract landscape, attempting at a geometrical representation of the infinite Mind, in contrast with the finite Brain. The Key shows a system with cogs and orbits, suggesting connections with the mechanisms of a clock or of a planetary system.
The technique used for the Painting – ink and rice paper on canvas -, enhances the qualities of flexibility, lightness and high transparency. This has allowed a free dialogue between the Inside and Outside of the performative space in front and behind the Painting, essential requirement for Alpha Who?.
The Screens that compose the Painting are arranged and repositioned to shape the space on stage, switching between rooms, corridors and monoliths. The different arrangements that manifest themselves are: typical windscreens to hide, hang and divide; an image to be contemplated; a set of monolithic sculptures; a rotating key to the puzzle. These combinations allow an ever-changing Hide & Reveal dynamic, and they are conceived as an entity that supports the Performer’s and Storytelling’s needs. The Screens are moved, flipped and re-positioned throughout the show by the Performer, who is the creator of the images necessary to bring the story forward.
As part of this year’s Camden Fringe, Alpha Who? runs from 7 to 8 August 2019 at the Cockpit Theatre, Gateforth Street, London NW8 8EH, with performances at 7pm. Tickets are priced £12.00. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Full festival programme
For details on all 300+ shows in the 2019 Camden Fringe programme, visit the festival websiteClick here