Simple8 To Stage THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI, Arcola Theatre, Feb 2013
simple8 follows The Four Stages of Cruelty with the retelling of a masterpiece - The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, at Arcola Theatre (Studio 2) 12th February to 16th March 2013 at 8pm.
"Shadows, dreams, they're all around us, they're everywhere!"
Torn from the silver screen, simple8 brings one of the darkest and most influential films of all time spinning onto the stage in this fast and frenzied fairground sideshow performance. A box office smash on its 1920 cinematic release, silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari has come to define cinematic expressionism and inspire film noir.
simple8 is a critically-acclaimed theatre collective who create bold new work on a sweeping scale and are dedicated to the creation of new writing and adaptations for ensemble work with large casts. They will be occupying the Arcola for four months as they mount their most ambitious project to date - staging The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Moby-Dick back-to-back with the same ensemble and using set and props recycled from their previous work, shared by both plays and built out of reclaimed materials.
In 1920s Germany, foreign films were banned and yet the public clamoured for cinema. So producers and directors decided to make their own films quickly and cheaply. They ended up with 'Expressionism' - painted back-drops and simple set-ups that told ghoulish, crazy, sometimes incoherent stories as effectively and directly as possible. In a way it was 'poor' cinema. simple8 specialise in 'poor' theatre. They use what they have to tell the story in the most economical and simplest ways. Rather than re-creating The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, simple8 have instead transmuted the original material - as eight actors create the swirl of life, bureaucracy, showmanship, murder, love and insanity that drag Franzis Gruber into a fast, frenetic fairground attraction.
simple8's use of the ensemble and 'poor' theatre approach catches the spirit of the source material: busy and broad, spiralling into mayhem and chaos. But new dialogue, characters, live music and physical ingenuity twist the original to a version that delves into the manipulative, duplicitous and confusing nature of people and of storytelling itself.
The same ensemble cast will perform Moby-Dick at the Arcola Theatre from 27th March to 4th May 2013. This new production captures the spirit and atmosphere of Herman Melville's masterpiece - romantic, ambiguous and rich with allegory. It tells the story of Ishmael, a schoolmaster who enrolls under Ahab, Captain of the Pequod - a man bent on destroying the white whale that lost him his leg. Certain that revenge will slake his thirst, Ahab's single-minded pursuit of Moby-Dick consumes Ishmael, the crew and the Pequod itself.
simple8 formed in London in 2004 and are focused on simplicity, the collective and the story. They create new writing through extensive research and development, inspired by rarely explored material and work with large ensemble casts. Using a variety of techniques - poor theatre, mime, live music and song, puppetry and magic - they aim to present work that is fun, inventive, original and daring.
The company has a strong commitment to environmental issues, and created the UK's first ecologically sustainable theatre production with The Living Unknown Soldier. With The Four Stages of Cruelty the company reduced its carbon footprint by 20%, experimented with LED lighting, zero-waste policies and alternative energy sources. They will to continue to develop a template for other theatre companies to follow, surrounding sustainability and environmentally friendly policies.
Dudley Hinton is an actor, writer and producer. He co-adapted Les Enfants du Paradis, produced The Living Unknown Soldier and performed in The Four Stages of Cruelty.
Sebastian Armesto has directed all previous simple8 shows. He has directed opera at the Tête-à-Tête Festival and plays at the HighTide and Edinburgh Festivals. As a writer, he co-adapted simple8's Les Enfants du Paradisand The Four Stages of Cruelty and wrote The Living Unknown Soldier. As an actor he has performed at the National and the Royal Court. Films include Anonymous, Pirates of the Caribbean and Marie-Antoinette.
Running Time: 1 hr 30 minutes (no interval) | Suitable for ages 11+ (due to themes and some strong language)
Directed by Sebastian Armesto and Dudley Hinton Lighting Design by Sherry Coenen
Written by Sebastian Armesto and Dudley Hinton with simple8 Stage Design by Simon Alison