Friday, September 17, 2010

The Rock Charmer

On Wednesday I was privileged - along with locals, families and friends, and the odd bat conservationist - to attend the preview night of The Rock Charmer, a collaboration between The Paper Cinema and accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen, commissioned for the Inside Out festival.
Set in the impressive surrounds of the Winspit quarry, with the constant whisper of the waves behind us, and a clear star-filled sky above, we watched as The Paper Cinema's hand-manipulated paper puppets and scenery acted out a mysterious narrative, projected some 40 feet high on the bare cliff face.

This was accompanied by Kimmo Pohjonen's animated and often theatrical performance, with industrial sounds and looped and echoing primal wails and tongue clicks taking their place alongside the more familiar sounds of his accordion. And, to be fair, the less familiar sounds of his accordion too, when he either struck it to create rhythms, or amplified the clicks and wheezes of its bare mechanical processes.

The Paper Cinema's projections fitted the music neatly, with images of robot arms carrying squared blocks of stone, suggesting they were building on (or quarrying from) the cliff face itself. This gave way to more familiar Paper Cinema territory, with grizzled sailors, fierce oceans, and mysterious cities upon ships all taking their place (and sea beasties, hot-air balloons, and giant heads too, quite naturally).

Including the pleasant, cow-filled walk to the site from the nearby pub, and an installation in part of the local caves of The Paper Cinema's shadow-casting sculptures of atavistic beasties, it was a tremendous evening, truly making the most of a remarkable location, and a wholly memorable experience. Grand stuff indeed!

Behind any wizard's curtain, there is almost always a man with a beard.*

Walking back to the Square & Compass by lamplight.

*With an unbearded female assistant holding everything together (not pictured).

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