Performed at the Roter Salon, Volksbühne, Berlin (2018)
Written and directed by Sam Williams with students of MA Theatre Criticism and Dramaturgy at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
With music by Sir Henry
Based on texts compiled by Armen Avanessian
Generational battlegrounds. Class war. High ideals, dirty money, and never enough of the latter. From the birth of mechanical reproduction in 1457 to the death of the gold standard in 1973, the Poetry of Power is an experiment in staging modernity.
What happens when the global systems that we once thought permanent break down? And what does it mean for cultural production in the 21st Century? An interactive performance designed with Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future (2015), presents a simulation of global system failure and invites participants to consider the consequences. This interactive boardgame performance prompts a discussion of what global system failure will mean for artists, theatremakers, and the art forms that are likely to emerge. The event concludes with an open platform for the free exchange of ideas with Paul Mason, Sam Williams and Armen Avanessian.
"If we are to remember, we must take things down. Record."
Can truth be recorded? An archivist digs into the archives to investigate. Women, contemporary and ancient, prisoners, mystics and storytellers arrive to testify? But are they telling the truth? Or do their stories represent another type of myth? Who is recording?And why?
UNMASKED is an alchemical attempt to boil down cultural and historical crosscurrents of magic and myth, history and violence to disclose something of contemporary experience through the ancient mythical structures of Finnish national epic, The Kalevala.
An essay about the project can be found here:
Performed at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2013
Drawing on encounter, verbatim and found material, philosophy, and myth, this performance analyses the mediatized relationships between human bodies online and in performance, and between women’s bodies and commodity exchange.
The performer executes three composite characters - the ferryman/janitor, Aletheia/the mediator, and the camera/girl. Video feeds of audience and performer are projected onto the middle of three screens throughout the performance. Each screen is 'home' to one of the characters and their belongings, cast off during the performance.
Performed at BuildingBloqs, London (2013)
This performance is predicated on ancient the ritual practice of encircling objects and bodies with cord, the encirclement of a magnet in current-carrying wire to form an electromagnet, and Japanese bondage (shibari/kinbaku). It asks whether binding can create a ‘ritual field’ in performance, like the amplification of a magnetic field by encircling an iron core.
The performance inhabits the tension between spiritual and political realities, questioning conventional notions of what it is to be an individual, to make one's mark. What it might mean to testify experience differently? To be marked, instead of marking? To overcome wilfulness through surrender? What might be achieved by surrendering our 'selves'?
Pavillion, Vokesbühne, Berlin (2010)
Die Auspeitschung [the Scourging] was a performance installation by the IAGW (Institut für Angewandte Geschichtswissenschaften) commissioned for the Volksbühne Pavillion at the Gedenkfeier [memorial celebration] for Christoph Schlingensief on 6 November 2010, and was reported by Die Zeit, Hamburger Zeitung, and Berliner Morgenpost, among others.
“Just as meaning and sorrow are manifested in different eras as different feelings every person must encounter in their own way, so too are punishment, mourning and salvation. Visitors from the future can cut themselves into the video, and so travel back in time to take part.”