The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey at Mimetic 2013
We’ve all seen performance art, but have you ever seen art perform? The 75-minute opening to Mimetic 2013 saw cardboard actors come alive in a visually and aurally stunning performance by The Paper Cinema.
Opening with pen hitting paper live-projected onto a screen framed by fabric sails, the show’s pace built as ever more cardboard characters stumbled, danced and strolled onto the screen to a live score by three musicians on a whole host of instruments. The on-screen effects, operated by the hands of three of the company’s performers, pushed the boundaries of what you might expect cardboard can do.
The Odyssey is, by definition, an epic story. But as one of the oldest Western tales it is important that it isn’t re-told in the same way time and time again. The Paper Cinema’s version was both canonical and fresh. While the black and white line drawings were clearly influenced by classical Greek art, the effects used to show lightning, traffic, storms and the sea were innovative and inspired. And while the violin and piano created tone and atmosphere throughout, the sinister sound of a saw, the satisfying sound of breaking bubble wrap, and a plaintive kazoo made the performance really stand out.
The drama was punctuated with snippets of modern day humour. As Telemachus sets off to find his father, he hops on a bus and passes a billboard saying: “Do you want a face to launch 1,000 ships?” It was funny, but it didn’t feel in keeping with the rest of the melodrama.
The beauty of The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey is its medium, but its strength lies in how it respects the original ebb and flow of Homer’s epic poem. As Odysseus fell into Poseidon’s deep blue grip the audience were made to feel the real wrath of the great Greek gods.
Mimetic 2013 is on at the Dugdale Centre until 27th July 2013. For further information or to book visit the festival’s website here.
The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey is showing at the Battersea Arts Centre on 23rd and 24th July 2013, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey here: