Everything that happened and would happen

At the end of Everything that happened and would happen I just want to stay in my seat and take in the images that I am left with, to rewind in my mind what I have just seen and to understand how it fit together, to pull together the ideas of what our world has been in the last hundred years, to see how much it has changed, and how little.

We watch the set being built as we enter the space, Russian script, an assortment of pillars from various eras, a large white canvas balanced on an orange pole, a golden pointer. Random artefacts?

This a new work by Heiner Goebbels commissioned by Manchester International Festival and produced by Artangel. I first came across Artangel when I went to the Inside installation at Reading Prison, and there are certainly elements of their style on display here, an intelligence, an openness, a sense of intellectual space.

There are a couple of dud scenes, which is shame because they take you out of the wonderful thread.

The performance is very much focused on how we interrogate history, especially European history. The way we tend to see every historical event as isolated, and are then surprised when it all seems to repeat. Repeat in a way that is strangely similar yet subtly different. So we see a performance structure built around key scenes where ‘history’ is created and then destroyed. The cycle repeats in different ways.

At first, Mayfield Depot dwarfs the scale of the production, but it quickly grows to fill the space.

The production blends monumental images created in the cavernous space of the Depot using light, fabric, giant balls, laundry trolleys, pillars – not what does it mean? but how do I feel? Spoken text on the theme of how we look at history. Huge cut out backdrops that are hoisted onto flying bars to receive projections of today’s news. Well choreographed movements with large objects. After the performance finishes I remember the fabrics, the massive cut out images and the stunning light projections.

I like how all twelve of the company wear different socks. Attention to detail is important.

At times I watch the musicians. Producing the industrial sounds is an art in itself. Reminds me of Bjork’s bespoke instruments in MIF11.

For a few hours I believe that we are part of Europe, and not just an irrelevance. I believe that we understand why the EU is important, not for economic reasons but for political security. I believe that we comprehend that European history is based on conflict and that this cycle will always repeat without the brake that is the EU.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

3 Responses to “Everything that happened and would happen”

  1. Brian Clancy says:

    My wife and I went to the showing last night, Saturday; we are in our late 70s, so expected to find it perhaps uninteligeable or pretentious; we were almost certainly close to being the oldest present.
    It was certainly different, but excellent and with much to think about. We tried to interpret the different ‘scenes and themes’ – and some, even most, we still wonder over but unlike QuietManDave we found no duds. Glad we went!
    I didn’t notice that the cast all wore different socks – but it would have been funny if they had all managed to wear the same socks; we noticed that the blond girl had red socks!

    • QuietManDave says:

      Thank you so much for your comment Brian, it’s always good to get feedback and to see how each audience member takes away something different from the same performance. It’s an interesting point about interpreting scenes and themes, do you have to understand what’s going on or can you just ‘feel’ it?

  2. Hi Dave, i felt there were a couple of dud scenes too and at times I did have an ’emperors new clothes’ moment or three. 20 mins to erect 4 plinths… great space though, wish I could get my hands on it and that budget! 🙂 keep up the good work.

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