Clod Ensemble, For One Night Only

Review in Issue 14-4 | Winter 2002

Three pieces: two from the repertoire and one new. All examples of the company’s ongoing investigation of the relationship between music and physical performance, as envisioned by director Suzy Willson and composer Paul Clark. First, Frere Jacques (1996), with Tristan Sharps in the title role of Gentleman Jack asleep in his chair, entreated to (tormented by?) an enigmatic female character (played by performance artist Stacy Makishi). Is she wife, maid or lover? Or perhaps the embodiment of the accompanying (live) music which seems to cause the ticks and twitches that make him restless? But maybe it is the music that is the expression of his dreams? Just eight minutes long, Frere Jacques is a small but perfectly executed delight.

Second: the much loved and oft performed collaboration with Split Britches It’s a small house and we lived in it always (1999). As it has been reviewed in these pages I shall say no more than that it is performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver and should be seen by everyone, being a near perfect piece of theatre.

Third: a scratch performance of the latest Clod Ensemble piece The Wrestling Project. Piano, drums – and Lois Weaver at the side of the stage sitting reading. She has the air of a diva awaiting her call. On stage, a wrestling arena. Two women slog it out, with Lois nonchalantly dinging the beginning and end of rounds. This is no abstracted dance-theatre re-enactment of a wrestling match; the women really engage their full physical force, grapple and hit the floor (British Association of Wrestling coaches have been engaged in the devising of the piece). And this is no voyeuristic girls-get-sweaty porn-fest. There is an Olympian grace in their battle. The moments of kitsch and camp are provided not by our battling heroines but by timekeeper Lois and the ‘special guest appearance’ of Miss High Leg Kick who sashays on to the accompaniment of Nina Simone. An extraordinary piece of theatre that is to be developed with other new pieces in 2003. Watch this space!

Artforms
Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2002

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-4
p. 25