Boilerhouse / Metalvoice, 3600" (Three-Six-Hundred Seconds)

Review in Issue 17-3 | Autumn 2005

This is the third outdoor work I’ve seen by Boilerhouse (here in collaboration with French ‘industrial street poets’ Metalvoice). All have combined intense physical performance with film/video presented on large screens, with mixed success. The potential of Sister, Sister wasn’t realised in The Bridge, which was spectacular but ultimately disappointing due to its over-reliance on a text that did little more than illustrate the physical action. 3600” is a positive development – the spectacle is pared down, and the visual/physical/verbal elements co-exist more harmoniously than in the previous pieces. A long walkway (lined by spectators either side) is bookended by two platforms with rigged screens above. Four performers progress along the walkways; walking, stumbling dancing, dragging chairs, creating a rhythmic and percussive dialogue that counterpoints the recorded text, live-mixed music and screened video. The time/space continuum is played out in numerous combinations of elements, on screen and live; relentless journeys from A to B and back again, the measurement of time within space; beats, meters, pounding footsteps; two slightly different versions of the same film of a car journey; sounds and movement motifs echoed, repeated, rephrased; actions revisited. In the space of a real-time hour, 3600” pulls apart the myriad stories contained within a given hour. An ominous melancholy pervades the whole piece – there’s an ‘if only’ sense of a desire to stop the clock, to go back to a previous innocence, to avoid disaster or undesirable outcomes. Restless and noisy audiences are a perennial problem for ‘serious’ outdoor productions – although I suppose Shakespeare managed, boisterous yardies and all. The irritating close presence of talkative drunken teenagers (not mine I hasten to add) who were obviously wondering when the fireworks would start, were a minor disruption to what was otherwise a good night out at the theatre.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Date Seen
  1. May 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-3
p. 25