The Joy of Six was quite a psychedelic trip, with no red pill to take us to the other side, but mesmerizing movements and sounds, strategy games, jelly beans and pride…
We opened with a Chemical Reaction by Café Reason Butoh Dance Theatre accompanied by the music of Malcolm (aka Dr. Atkins). The dancers made their entrance, feet-first, using the lift platform, then leading the audience into their world of inverted and introverted movements, crossing the space with delicate yet intense presence. Meanwhile, Malcolm weaved together an otherworldly soundscape with voice, two violins and effect pedals, ending with a recorded announcement, in a loop: ‘Café Reason run weekly classes every Friday evening at 7pm.’ [More info here].
After that, Russell lightened up the atmosphere by introducing a new Playground game: a Christmas ‘Spot the differences.’ I think we had one person or team who spotted all the twenty-five differences! Well-done person/team! You have all my respect for your patience and endurance!
Our second act was a Share my Toys by Dot who engaged us in working out the rules of a 1968 board game, suggestively entitled Up Against the Wall Motherfucker! Mixing quasi-military strategy with political activism, the game saw different radicalized groups trying to take over a university building. It featured jellybeans of different colors as combat pieces of the different groups. Bit by bit the obscure rules became more and more clear, and we eventually ate the jellybeans to gratify ourselves for the serious work done.
Just before the interval we had quite a few instant noodles, spicy as well as sweet and sour ones, stir fried and in a soup. The first instant noodle was from Oxford Pride, who called out for performing and visual artists to take part in the next Oxford Pride festival, May 31 – June 9, 2013. Another instant noodle was from Malcolm, who he was looking for an old-fashioned TV to be used in a film. Malcolm served us another instant noodle by announcing a much awaited Nonstop Tango gig on January 8, at the Old Fire Station. Really looking forward to that!
We also had a couple of instant noodles from Dot, who announced that he was going to sing with the Oxford Gospel Choir at the Weisly Memorial Church, New lnn Hall Street, on 14 and 15 December. I am afraid that’s gone now, but good to know that there is a gospel choir in Oxford, which is quite active – I didn’t know. Dot also is looking for people who work with motion capture software or in gaming to collaborate with him in using motion capture in a performance art context.
After a short interval, Lee gave us a particularly tasty Uncooked by playing an intriguing-looking and sounding string instrument that he made himself: the Tritona. Despite the simplicity of its design – a bare cylinder supported by a wooden plank, with three or four strings attached to the side – Lee created a world of sound and movement with it – using a bow or his fingers, hitting or pinching the strings, and changing the chords’ vibration by attaching clothes pegs to them – that was hypnotizing.
Just before the end, Russell reminded us about the feedback forms that we all need to fill to make Playground an even better place than it already is. If you care, as we do, about art by, in and for the community. We’II upload the form on the site really soon.. Tell us how you think Playground is going, what you think is missing, what you think could be improved… In other words, help us make Playground the place we all need and want and dream of!
Happy holidays to all and see you in 2013!