I had the pleasure of spending a week earlier this year working on Argus as dramaturg in a creative development workshop. I loved this process.
Director David Morton and his team had already developed an original performance style, in which instead of carefully built puppets they explored what could be done using nothing but the performers’ bare hands and a few household objects.
From their experiments they developed an extraordinary range of animals, and one charming central character – the little guy pictured in the top photo of this post. My role was to help develop a storyline for the piece.
It was fascinating to see how quickly the viewer came to accept the hands as living creatures in their own right. As they scuttled, stomped, swam or soared over the tabletop, the hand creatures acquired distinct personalities and often had a surprisingly powerful emotional impact.
Creating Argus himself, with the hands of all four performers involved, required amazing concentration and co-ordination, but as the chemistry developed they seemed to be able to read each other’s minds.
Argus will run from June 26th till June 30th. It’s a short season, though I hope it will just be the beginning. The show seems to me to have enormous appeal and touring potential. It is simple and profound at the same time, accessible to children and adults and, being wordless, it can possibly have an international future too.
If you happen to be the director of a major arts festival somewhere in the world, please get in touch!
For everybody else, if you are going to be in Brisbane next week, take your kids to see it. If you don’t have kids, go anyway. You can book your tickets HERE.
Break a leg (or should that be ‘break a finger’?), David, Ben, Laura, Liam and Sam!
PS. If you do manage to see the show, please let me know what you think of it.