Way Out West, The Sea Whispered Me.
Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne
26 October 2010.
When I asked Cupola Bobber (Stephen Fiehn and Tyler B. Myers) the Chicago based duo if I could review Way out West, I thought I would be in for a comfortable night of theatre and art, maybe a night with popcorn and a drink from the bar. What I didn’t realise was that this was performance art and when it comes to contemporary offerings, I am not the most well versed person to be in the audience, never mind reviewing.
Tonight when walking into the new Stage 2 of Northumbria University, I was initially excited by what my eyes and my senses were telling me. Fairly minimalistic stage setting (which in the genre of ‘contemporary’ should have had me bolting back out of the door) of a tarpaulin, a massive inflatable bed and an old gramophone record player has me wondering what was in store. The minimalistic contemporary theme continued with every step and with every word uttered, and I wholeheartedly put my hands up and declare that it was all a mush in my head, I really wanted to understand it, I was willing it to win me over, but it didn’t!
Way Out West is perceived to be a discovery and an insight into the sea, the powers and the passion of it, that bit I got (anybody who lives on an Island can get that), but the way Cupola Bobber went about it, I didn’t ! There was just too much ‘newness’ here for my liking.
I was though, pretty impressed with the used of the main prop (the two tone tarpaulin) pulled by rope made a very good sea, it was at its most effective when the scenes of the storm came billowing out to us.
There was some humour involved, but I am not 100% certain that all of it was intended, maybe some awkward giggling from the audience.
Is it task of Performance art to let you mull over the action set before you, days and days after? If it is, then it is working for me.
Way Out West may not have been for me, but was certainly a talking point for the mainly student audience afterwards.