A Seventh Man at Amplify Festival
Documentation of A Seventh Man at Amplify, Nottingham Playhouse, on Saturday 15 February 2020. Images: Julian Hughes & Ben Wigley.
Some audience feedback from the showing at Nottingham Playhouse in response to our questions. We acted upon this feedback for the final sharing.
Berger and Mohr’s original book used a collage technique of words and images, which we’ve tried to adapt within a performative setting. Do you have any comments on this aspect of the piece?
● I felt the concept of collage was ‘more’ towards the middle/end of the piece.
● Very kinetic movement between words & images > very good
● The use of props added to the story and experience
● That worked! Looked at different aspects of migrant experience. Allowed it not to have contiguous story.
● I would have liked to have had more opportunity to look at the pictures more closely.
● Visual aspects help bring story to life & gives reality.
● The language had an immediacy. Something is always happening and is important.
● The use of collage techniques of words and images made it more so engaging for the audience
● The photos add a temporal dimension (or distance) and the words bring the story closer. The tension, juxtaposition, creates a nostalgia that is somehow still present.
● Pace is very quick-fire – gives clear indication of urgency.
● Yes, very intense, you were drawn into the production
● VERY IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE
● This piece was, in my opinion, very interesting and very different from what you would usually expect a play
to be like.
● This made it very interesting and enjoyable to watch. Kept you hooked!
● Highly emotive and at times emotionally disturbing. The close intimacy of the space heightened the confusion.
● I liked the sporadic nature, kept me on my toes. Loved how integrated we/I was into all the images.
Did the conditions within S.H.E.D affect your experience of the piece, and if so, how?
● Generally I enjoy work which is shown in an unconventional ‘performance space’. I felt the shed fitted the context of the work.
● Exacerbated strength of the performance.
● Added more depth to the performance and felt more life like
● In a positive way – it intensified the experience.
● Yes it certainly made it more immersive.
● Made it very near
● The cramped space added to the atmosphere.
● Yes, but positively. The closeness enabled me to ‘feel’ the atmosphere.
● I think it helped create the feeling of the small spaces described + the invasion of privacy.
● The closed environment suited the cramped feel of the story. If the interior was metalic, it would be perfect.
● It affected me in terms of feeling as if I was also a worker experiencing what it had once been like during the ‘70s.
● Immersion and participation in the experience but at the same time an awareness that our privilege as non-migrants keeps us as spectators of this drama.
● Clearly indicates the claustrophobic conditions
● Made it feel ‘up close’ & personal.
● Yes, it made you feel drawn into the lives of a migrant, the conditions they have to face, whether its on the bus, in the factory, down the mines
● I think that because being in such a confined space kept me from switching off. I think the interesting set managed to keep me very engaged.
● Very authentic, it made you feel you were experiencing it.
● Yes definitely intensified the feeling (though I was on the side that could view out into the ‘open’ window/world – prob more intense on the other side!
● Yes. It made me imagine that I was there.
● Yes, the touching of bodies made me feel like I had to be careful moving & very self aware physically. I loved the slight rumbling feel in the pipes.
● Yes, it was dutifully cramped which gave a small hint to the conditions I guess. The new timber smell was noticiable, wonder if that could be changed.
● Definitely. I enjoyed the initiative to move to grasp the fullness of what was going on eg leaning forward to see the end pictures, or squeezing into a smaller position to let the performer perform.
Are the parallels between the conditions migrants faced in the 1970s and those faced by migrants today clearly expressed?
● In some way. I was have thought that condition today is significantly worse/more frightening/less empowered.
● Yes other than the dangerous boat crossings in the Med
● Also reminded me of list navy of C18 & C19 century. Same experience of danger and displacement. What changes?
● I wasn’t really aware of the time the piece was set.
● It felt very bound to the 1970s. If there were examples of migrants today, that would breach the gap.
● They were clearly expressed in terms of the language barrier was considered more difficult during the ‘70s.
● The choice of text indeed and particularly the last sentence. I like the fact that the performance starts even before entering the SHED, with the photographs and suitcases.
● I wasn’t aware they were actively comparing. But v. aware of conditions in 1970s.
● Yes, very powerfully. Migrants wanting a better life but ultimately ending up exploited. Still suffering poverty. Families separated.
● YES HOWEVER A FEW UP TO DATE EXAMPLES/STATISTICS MIGHT BE USEFUL
● I think the use of body language made everything much clearer.
● Yes absolutely
● I didn’t detect any deliberate links to today but I did have an awareness within me of the situation today when watching.
● Absolutely. Last line = poignancy & universality. Apart from dates, it doesn’t ever feel like its set in the past.
● I suspect that the information shown on contemporary T.V is relatively ‘sanitised’ – so I can’t really compare to now. Historical footage of 20 Century atrocities do make parallels.
● I love the line at the end “stories, unlike their authors, get younger over time” (or something like that)
Do you have any thoughts about the non-linear approach we used to structure the work?
● I didn’t recognise that the work was non-linear. As we weren’t following a specific family’s experience, the generalisation made each ‘section’ digestable in it’s own right. Though I don’t feel I could identify the beginning or end of each section as it felt well woven together.
● Very good performance > enjoyed the non-linearity but maybe explain the cars/brio at the end a bit more!
● Very powerful
● No emotional engagement to characters. No characters really. Moving & enjoyable nevertheless.
● It worked well to build the scene.
● I think it worked, it’s a collection of memories.
● Mood and danger is perfectly captured. Something was going to happen and we didn’t know where from.
● It still felt quite linear: away (departure) – during (work) – and back (return).
● The pace was monitored so well any gaps or time-changes were not obvious.
● Intense and unexpected.
● Excellent loved it, very different.
● QUITE UNIQUE – NEVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE
● Just Great! Loved the talking in own language!
● Generally enjoyed it but perhaps work on a slightly stronger ending – more definite?
● It was different and creative.
● It actually didn’t feel non-linear; I hadn’t considered it until filling this form out. The fact you went backwards/forwards just felt like it was a natural spilling out of moments/memories of the whole experience.
● I like it. Happy to be taken on a different journey.