Missing, Friends and Night Porters

Monday! What have we today? Juliet Stevenson is performing down the way at the Young Vic in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. X simply adores Ms Stevenson, and is crestfallen that there are no tickets for sale online. So we wander down the street to see if she can work her “Poor elderly me” routine on the box office staff. Alas, they prove immune to her valiant attempts. The run is sold out past the time we leave town.

Juliet Stevenson in Beckett's Happy Days

Juliet Stevenson in Beckett’s Happy Days

We then wander up Lower Marsh to Westminster Road to hop a bus to Tate Britain. We’re to meet A there, and artist met some years ago with whom Pawn has kept up. A is preparing to shoot a young couple’s portrait in the style of David Hockney’s Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, and we made plans to meet her at the painting in the Tate’s new Walk Through British Art exhibit (gallery 1960), where it rests near a stunning Francis Bacon triptych and Brancusi and Moore and so much more.

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

Test photo

Test photo

A looks dashing with her stylish artist hairdo bundled off to the side in a ribbon, and her dangling camera bag. She forces us to pose before the painting, miming that we’re holding the main figures up in our arms, while she backs up to some delicate sculpture or other and dares the guards to restrain her from snapping photo after photo. If she shares any of those, we’ll post them here.

We proceeded to survey the history of British art from 1970 (the next gallery) back to 1930, then crossed over to 1540 and worked our way forward from there. A was quite determined that we do things in proper order, but then couldn’t wait to escape from the 1800s.

A takes photos, that's what she does

A takes photos, that’s what she does

A break for tea and we continued on with Chris Shaw and Moriyama: Before and After Night Porter. This is a brilliant exhibit of photographers Shaw and Daido Moriyama and their separate but similar (philosophically) work. Shaw showed three portfolio, including his suburban housing estate series, Sandy Hill Estate, the wonderful Life As A Night Porter and the new Weeds Of Wallasey. Moriymama’s contribution is more sober and painful. We loved it all.

NightPorter_0006 500

Our art-itites sated, we grabbed the tube up to Euston Square and a quick bite at Crown & Anchor before ducking into New Diorama Theatre for the last of two performances of a new work, Missing by (e)ngineer Theatre Collective.

Missing Poster

Missing Poster

This is a difficult work, and difficult to explain. This young company prides themselves on their deeply collaborative method — the members list themselves as “devisers” in the program — and have brought that to bear fully here. The subject is the title, and has to do with a statistic cited in a news report a few years back, that 275,000 people go missing each year in the UK. This is the population of Plymouth, and a truly daunting number. Now, of course, many if not most return to their homes, families, lives, still others are found dead — murdered, suicide, accident, natural death — but some are never heard from again. This work focuses on a select few cases and recreates, from interviews, the emotional roller-coaster the families and friends of the lost are subjected to.

missing-by-engineer-theatre-collective

There is no way in a brief blog post I can convey the intensity of this wallow in pathos. We all were deeply moved and left positive feedback on their questionnaire. The sound was poor — the right speaker kept cutting in and out, and when working sounded blown — but as this seems to be a mid-process workshop phase, one can’t complain too much. I have high hopes for this work, and for the young company behind it.

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