Wednesday 17 February 2010

'Norman' - show combining dance, performance and film returns to the MacRobert Arts Centre

I missed this show the first time it came to Stirling so I'm really looking forward to seeing it next month. On a recent trip to Stirling Council Archives (where our Norman McLaren Archive is being stored whilst the University library refurbishment continues) I was lucky to get the chance to look through his letters home from Canada to his parents in Stirling. I only got a chance to read a few but it's whetted my appetite for more. The ones I read were from 1939 and talk about the long journey on the boat from the UK to New York, and then the excitement of his first few months in New York. I'll need to go back for another look (once I get my conference paper for Los Angeles written, it could be my reward - well, in addition to a night out and some nice wine of course!). Anyhoo - to get back to the point of my blog post and off my ramblings - Norman! The whole concept of the show sounds really intriguing. The dancer/choreographer Peter Trosztmer interacts with the films of Norman McLaren on a visit to the offices of the National Film Board of Canada (where McLaren worked).

Created by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon of lemieux.pilon 4d with Peter Trosztmer. here's some information from the lemieux.pilon 4d website about the show.
"This production bridges the gap between performance and documentary filmmaking. Peter screens interviews made with people who knew McLaren and his work; these witnesses materialize out of thin air and appear onstage to guide Peter in his exploration, sharing their knowledge and feelings about the filmmaker. A selection of about thirty works from McLaren’s corpus, some of them never released, underline the testimonies and allow Peter to communicate what he's learned, sometimes verbally, sometimes simply through the dance that links him to the films. McLaren once said that if he hadn't been a filmmaker, he would have been a choreographer; this show uses movement (of light, of images, of the body) as a way to access his creative world.

As I haven't seen the show yet here's a link to a review from Peter Dickinson's blog 'Performance, Place and Politics' from a performance of Norman in Montreal May 2009.

Below are some images of the corridor outside my office where a number of drawings, prints, photographs and paintings from the Norman McLaren Collection are on display (sorry they're pretty poor quality photos as the light isn't great, and I'm not that good a photographer!)

For information on how to book for the shows see the MacRobert Arts Centre.

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