Event for Stage by Tacita Dean is a fascinating art piece and is particularly interesting to anyone who happens to be a performer. It’s free to see until 4th November at the Frith Street Gallery 17-18 Golden Square W1F 9 JJ.
Event for Stage is an art film with one actor. It marks the first time that Dean has worked with an actor and using theatre as a medium. The relationship with her actor she says in one interview, was difficult. She approached the actor without a script and said that she wanted to “make a piece of about 45 minutes without having written script as such” –
This is what the actor says in one part of the monologue and you wonder whether this is what really happened of whether it is a created part of the script which points to one of the aspects of the work. What part is the actor playing?
There where four performances of the piece and the art work is edited between the four performances. There were also four different audiences and the actor wears four different costumes. Two of them seem to be 18th century costumes with wigs. In one section he seems to be quoting Shakespeare. When he is reading Shakespeare he takes on the role of an actor acting as an actor. When he is another character he appears to be acting being an actor. Another time he seems to be himself but is he actually acting the part of someone else? That question is not answered –
The stage is circular and at one point the actor is speaking to the audience about the ‘membrane’ of the stage. Something that protects the actor and something that protects the audience. The membrane can be broken. He is asked about stage fright. Pieces of paper are handed to him by a woman in the audience. The woman I find out today, having seen the piece for the second time, is the artist herself. The sheets of paper have directions and text which he reads from then discards onto the floor.
There are two cameras onstage which film him and every now and then a clapper board cuts through his monologue and he directs the other camera to take over the shooting. The cameras, camera men and director are a part of the drama and there is a microphone in the middle of the stage which the actor speaks intimately into at a couple of points.
I might write more about this later because there are so many layers to the piece but I’ll just post this up now because I feel so enthusiastic about it.
Do go and see it. There’s some David Hockney downstairs. I haven’t made it down there yet. Event for Stage has held me captive.