Most speakers would be distracted by a giant moon looming in front of them but not so Alex Rigg Director of Oceanallover who was appearing at the International Science Festival to perform and to speak about his latest piece ‘Orographic.
Alex Rigg took us through his creative process from inspiration and thoughts through to the practicalities of performance.
Orographic, was first performed at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Museum- described by Alex Rigg as a ‘superb performing space’. He said people go to museums with an open mind wondering what they will see – not knowing – and for ‘Orographic’ it means the audience was ‘already with you.’
Mountains and the landscape paintings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh were the inspiration of this latest work and it was central to this project to perform them at the buildings he had designed as well as into the landscape of Scotland.
Oceanallover is ‘not conventional theatre’. In its initial stages it is very much the work of an individual, Alex Rigg, who from inspiration makes sketches, writes poems , designs and makes the most incredible costumes. The collaboration on Orographic with other bodies like the South of Scotland Golden Eagle project and the Slovak Wildlife Society feeds into the process. The performers see themselves as part of a family and are artists Alex Rigg respects and in most cases has worked with many times. It is too expensive to run a full time company so they are drafted in as the project takes shape.
It’s a combination of a individual’s drive and creativity with trust in the collaborative process, allowing the musicians to ‘get on with it’ and described by one of the artists as ‘freedom with intent’. It produces a skilfully executed performance which is ‘loaded with energy but also calm’.
Every performance by Oceanallover is different as each location provides new opportunities and challenges – ‘changing the context of performance’. The artist is the guide, ‘this path has no belonging and makes no promises.’
‘Each piece is a palette’ that is reset depending on the location responding to the physical aspect of the landscape and its ‘mood’.
The Stromness performance led the audience to Brinkie’s Brae which overlooks and overhangs the small town. In a single file procession they were guided to the summit where the main part of the performance took place. The audience became part of the wonder as they were invited to come forward – conducted into position.
It was an extraordinary performance audience and performers moving around the landscape of Brinkie’s Brae, filling the mind with wonder, curiosity ‘a door on your foot‘ taking your mind to another place.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame