Posts Tagged ‘Song of the Goat Theatre’

Polish theatre company Song of the Goat first crossed my radar ten years ago in Edinburgh when they put on an extraordinary, hypnotic combination of movement and polyphonic music in the nave of a church. Five years later I caught up with their other Shakespeare inspired piece, Macbeth, at the Barbican, which was less hypnotic but just as original. This show is based on King Lear presented, as the director says, as a series of ‘sound pictures’.

The ten actors, dressed in black, sit in black chairs in an arc. Each scene is introduced by the director, who is visibly directing from the side of the stage. It is predominantly sung, though there is some dialogue (but I have to confess I didn’t understand it all). Most of the vocals are unaccompanied, with occasional use of harmonium, bagpipes and kora and in one extraordinary scene nine drum skins are held by the actors while the tenth plays them, carefully avoiding their hands! In addition to the singing, their movement is carefully choreographed for each scene, with stamping of feet and gesticulation and, in a brilliantly staged war scene, tension is created by six actors ‘playing’ their chairs in unison, like drums.

Though it doesn’t purport to tell you the whole of Lear’s story in 65 minutes, it does capture the essence through what are largely sound pictures, as the director suggests, and it’s very compelling and captivating. This is a unique company with a very particular blend of music, narrative and movement that seems to be rooted in their training and work together. Fascinating.

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Five years ago, I was blown away by a Polish theatre company called Song of the Goat who took Edinburgh by storm with an indescribable but beautiful show of graceful organic movement with polyphonic singing.

The opportunity to see them again has been a long time coming and this time it’s a version of Macbeth (I’d call it ‘scenes from Macbeth’) with dialogue in English, but the same physicality, movement and singing. 

I think they are one of those companies, like  Kneehigh and Punchdrunk, where your first time may always be the best, but it was still a thoroughly original and enjoyable ride nonetheless.

It’s so hard to describe what they do that I’ve dried up!

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