BATS Theatre, Wellington

10/11/2006 - 25/11/2006


Production Details

Directed & conceived by Jade Eriksen
Conceptualised by Jade Eriksen, Vaughan Slinn, Jessie Alsop, Sam Martin

Presented by theatreheuristic

theatreheuristic  presents……

A creative collaboration between actors, writers, directors, musicians, architectural graduates, fine art graduates, graphic designers and performance design students culminating in a transformation of the theatre into a modern Oracular site centred around a domestic mystery.

A sensual installation taking the shape of tunnels, chambers, hives, jars and cabinets of curiosity, the work conjures the memory of a New Zealand farmer’s wife in flux.

theatreheuristic is delighted to produce arcane as part of the 2006 STAB commission, featuring Angela Green (Jane and the Dragon) and Serena Cotton (Insiders Guide to Love).

To find out more, visit  

Limited to 35 tickets per performance – book early!

Angela Green, Serena Cotton, Amanda Baker, Jessie Alsop, Marnie Prockett

Creative Collaborators:
Erin McNamara, GEoff Pinfield, Richie Elworthy, Daphne Eriksen

Vaughan Slinn, Ritchie Elworthy

Sound Design
Gareth Farr 

Theatre ,

approx 1 hr, no interval

What's Up?

Review by Lynn Freeman 15th Nov 2006

This production is a puzzle, but one worth the effort of time and thought.

Tiny square black box Bats has been transformed into a place of mystery and oracles, a treasure trove of tiny objects, a miniature beehive of industry but one where really and truly, nothing is as it seems.

You are ushered from space to space, weird experience to weird experience. Read the programme before you go in is the best advice I can give.

Director Jake Eriksen based much of the work on the memories of her two grandmothers. A woman starts to make preserves, in a quiet and orderly way. She is eventually joined by another version of herself doing the sewing, and another doing the laundry and so it goes on. A woman’s work, truly, is never done.

Eriksen cements her reputation as one of the most interesting young directors in Wellington with this piece. It’s almost choreography the way she has her performers move around each other in small spaces as they complete their tasks. She makes a difficult task look effortless. The performers too are all terrific.

The set and lighting designs all add to an invigorating piece of theatre.


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Oracle leaves it to us

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 13th Nov 2006

Fortified by a small glass of mead, the audience (limited to 28 for each performance) of arcane is taken on an intriguing tour of an old house, but on the way it will pass between and behind the walls, through mysterious tunnels, up a ladder, and over floorboards through which it may occasionally glimpse a young woman.

All one can hear on the short journey are the murmur of innumerable bees, dripping water, and the plaintive sighing of a woman as one passes beehives, dozens of drawers and cabinets in which are the relics of a busy life (buttons, bees wax, pieces of cutlery, sewing), and tiny models of rooms.

Finally the audience finds itself seated before what the publicity describes as a modern Oracular site and a domestic mystery. On one side of the stage is a kitchen, on the other side a laundry, both as spick and span as an advertisement in a 1950s Saturday Evening Post. Above the rooms muslin bags round with liquid are dripping away producing jelly while below, amongst rows of Agee jars a farmer’s wife is preparing fruit for bottling.

Slowly the wife (now played by four actors in identical dresses and aprons) silently, efficiently and ritualistically cooks, cleans, irons, traps a bee, knits and does the washing. All the while an oracular priestess/Queen Bee conducts the action and then leads us into the final mystery before we are dispatched into the bustle of Cambridge Terrace.

arcane is part of the 2006 STAB season of experimental theatre and is a product of a collaboration between actors, writers, directors, musicians, architectural graduates, fine art graduates, graphic designers and performance design students.

Jade Eriksen of theatreheuristic has brought them all together with great skill and produced a work that is evocative of a particular time and brings to mind the lines of poet Isaac Watts: How doth the little busy bee/Improve each shining hour/And gather honey all the day/From every opening flower! /How skilfully she builds her cell/How neat she spreads the wax; / And labours hard to store it well/With the sweet food she makes. But unlike Watts, the collaborators of arcane ask the Oracle what all the hard work was for, and the answer, like most oracular answers, is a mystery we have to unravel for ourselves.


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Yes - and ...?

Review by John Smythe 11th Nov 2006

arcane adj. mysterious, secret, obscure, understood by few …

I always approach the BATS STAB season with anticipation, intrigue, excitement and, of course, trust. As commissioned shows – funded by a special Creative New Zealand grant – they have come through a competitive process that has challenged them to propose then create “performance works so cutting edge in their innovations they break the boundaries of audience expectations”. Expect the unexpected, then. Yes. I do!

This year the first STAB event was Open Book’s back-to-back I Ain’t Nothing But / A Glimmer in the Dark, She Said at Shed 11, which attracted diverse reviews and a provocative comment from Ake Ake’s Rhys Latton (which no-one, as yet, has either supported or challenged – why not?).

Now, back a BATS – still recognisable from the footpath where the office doorway serves as the box-office and the Pit Bar is the holding pen for the gathering audience – theatreheuristic has created an experiential installation and performance art work called arcane. (heuristic adj. serving or helping to find out or discover something; discovering for oneself; proceeding by trial and error …)

Conceived and directed by Jade Eriksen, arcane has been brought to fruition over ten months by four ‘conceptualisers’, four ‘creative collaborators’, two lighting designers, a sound designer, five performers and a vast construction team that includes most of the aforementioned.

arcane evolved from three primary sources:

  • stories and memories received and constructed from both of Eriksen’s grandmothers, specifically scripts of 1960s radio talks written and read by her paternal grandmother, a Gisborne farmer’s wife
  • the communication systems and architecture of bee colonies, and
  • the Oracular establishments of the classical Greek period – specifically the Delphic Oracle and the ‘Oracle of the Dead’, site found in Baia, Italy.

In her programme notes, Eriksen also evokes Aristotle’s view of ancient riddles in explaining a feeling she sometimes has about theatre: “That it is a heuristic art form, generous in that it asks us all to be part of the problem solving and by its often metaphorical nature we are invited to get personal. Without realizing, it is through these ancient themes, these animals, these ancestors that we have revealed something very personal about ourselves.”

It’s as well to know all this before you enter into the experience. While the work is totally non-verbal except for one line uttered in the penultimate moment, and an enquiring mind and trusting soul may well be able to align and interpret all the physical and sensate elements without such prompting, the clues written in the programme notes will undoubtedly help you to solve the ‘riddle’ and thus feel more satisfied. Or not.

Spoiler warning
If the above has made you decide to go – or you’re going anyway – you may prefer to make your own discoveries without prior knowledge of the components, and return to this and other reviews after you’ve seen it – then argue via the ‘comment’ function if you disagree.

The ‘back to the womb’ entry point (recalling Les Arts Sauts’ Ola Kola at Waitangi Park in this year’s international arts festival) may have more carnal connotations for those not already thinking of beehives. As we queue along an under-lit boardwalk in a translucent plastic tunnel, a steady hum backs our compulsive chit-chat. Bright light and the silhouette of a woman’s head glows and fades, some sort of projection flickers – of writing in negative or is it chalk on a blackboard? – and we realise the ‘show’ has started. That is, we are already in the experience.

Moving on, including up steep steps to a higher level, nooks and crannies offer peek-box views of a fairly bare home in dolls’ house scale. Drawers of various kinds, harbouring intriguing knick-knacks, segue through long slim filing drawers to man-made beehives. And still the buzz drones on … Excitement ripples as we realise a woman’s face is gliding beneath the boardwalk, zipping open her plastic covering as she goes …

And so down into the auditorium, or a wedge of it, for the sit-down segment. A figure with her back to us, clad in translucent plastic, vibrates to the buzz which will, from time to time, be merged with the sounds of breathing and dripping (a Gareth Farr soundscape) … She (Angela Green) dons a bulbous, plastic frock (her abdomen?) and continues her mesmeric Tai Chi-meets-Bhutto ritual dance … She faces a large plastic wall which scrunches into what could be a navel – or a really tight sphincter perhaps?

A gloomily-lit 1960s farmhouse kitchen and laundry, separated by a passage behind the plastic wall, become the venues for solitary domestic activity carried out in silence by a well-groomed woman (she has obviously worn hair rollers over night) in a blue tunic dress, a red pinafore and black high-heeled shoes (mid-height). She cleans glass jars and will go on to wash, peel, cut and preserve fruit …

A clone of the woman sews and darns … Another washes and irons and attends to those troublesome stains … A fourth washes windows … Clone drones? As the work goes on around the vibrating Queen Bee there is plenty of time to contemplate, consider, conjecture …

For generation X or Y – the makers of the work – this may be a humming hymn of praise to their grandmothers and the buzzi-ness of being a woman in ‘the good old days’. For baby boomers like me it offers nostalgia for the roles and home life our parents ‘enjoyed’ but we roundly rejected in favour of less labour-intensive solutions and more instant gratification. And are our lives really the richer, are we more satisfied, in the wake of it all?

I also find myself thinking, is this a true evocation of such a life? Where are the hints of her family – the piles of dishes, large meals to prepare, y-fronts and rugby jerseys, school uniforms, toys, homework, sports gear …? Was there no upside of love, in any of its many forms, to offer pleasure or enrich this life? And what about her inevitable involvement in wider community activities, and her use of the phone, radio, newspapers and magazines as portals to the wider world?

Amid the humdrum existence there is a relatively dramatic moment when the housewife stalks an intruding insect in the laundry and captures it under a jar. The buzzing intensifies: aha – it’s a bee! The prisoner imprisons! But it’s an idea that goes nowhere because there is no sense of character in this cipher to indicate anything beyond the robotic. So my next thought is, isn’t this finally an insult to all those grandmothers?

This in turn raises the question of whether the art form serves the content or vice versa. A good poet could capture the metaphorical imagery and tone in a few well-wrought lines. A visual artist could explore the same detail in a single frame that would reveal itself in a few minutes of study yet be worthy of revisiting for years to come. But this is performance art and as such, isn’t it underutilising its potential resources rather than pushing beyond the usual boundaries?

Is there a difference between the performing arts and Performance Art? Perhaps. But just because it’s slow, or non-verbal, that doesn’t make it Art. Not in my book, anyway.

When the Queen Bee’s abdomen lights up from within with fairy lights and she finds a different rhythm in a foot-stamping dance then approaches the wall and breaches it (recalling the earlier under-floor image), it suggests a breakthrough of sorts. But to what? There is only darkness beyond. Endless possibility? She becomes preoccupied with a dim, naked light bulb … Blackout. Silence.

Yes – and …? This could be a finely crated, if over-extended, first act. It has certainly been delivered with dedication and conviction. The ingredients are set out for a repast rich in potential. Now what? But no. That’s all there is.

To return to the premise, then: is arcane “so cutting edge in its innovations it breaks the boundaries of audience expectations”? For me the answer is “no” to the first bit (the component parts of last year’s Demeter’s Dark Ride and Head were much more dynamic and interesting) and “yes” to the second, in that I usually expect theatre – and an art work in any form – to add up to more than the sum of its parts and stimulate me a great deal more than this has.

If this is ‘alternative’ theatre, it seems fair to compare it with a ‘well made play’ or two on the theme of a woman’s role in the home: Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (1879) or Renee’s Wednesday to Come (1984), for example. And in so doing, I cannot help but conclude that one great benefit of the STAB season is that it helps us appreciate just how thoroughly a well wrought play, well produced, can engage all dimensions of our being human.

I ache to see a STAB commission that truly fulfils the brief instead of proving, yet again, that when devisers work on the ‘how’ of performance before fully processing the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the content, the result invariably adds up to less than the sum of the parts.

P.S. I feel bound to add that if the work of Robert Lepage is an influence here (no Marty, I’m not assuming it is, but if …), then would-be emulators need to study his process in greater depth and comprehend what rich deposits of human experience lie beneath the surface, and how very human and complex the motive forces are that drive the action forward.


John Smythe November 21st, 2006

Very well said Mr Morley. Let me hasten to clarify that in comparing ‘alternative’ theatre to the ‘well made play’ I am not for a moment suggesting they should be anything but very different from each other. My point (not very clearly made, I concede) is that when such ‘well made’ plays as those I mentioned, because they traverse similar ground, are more engaging on all levels than something that purports to be so “cutting edge in its innovations it breaks the boundaries of audience expectations”, it’s time to take stock. How can it be innovative and cutting edge if it engages us less than ‘ordinary’ theatre? Your penultimate par enumerates powerful elements I would dearly love to have seen represented – touched on in some way – in arcane. I looked for upsides, you’ve added downsides, but what we got was the bland bit in the middle: mum on Mogadon with no insight, within the work itself, as to why. While I think it is wonderful – inevitable in fact – that people bring their own life experience and awareness to a work, I say it’s a cop-out to rely on that solely to add a third dimension to something we hoped might explore fourth and fifth dimensions of being human (or trans human, for that matter). Why? Because work we have complete to that extent can only remind us of what we already know rather than take us to places we’ve never been. (“Innovation” implies something new.) The STAB commission offers recipients a great deal more money and time to develop their work than anything else at BATS. Rather than ignore the fundamental principles of engagement, that apply whether we like it or not, I’d like to see results that take all that in their stride then move on beyond the norm, rather than fall short in the name of ‘experimentation’. (“Cutting edge” implies something that takes us beyond where we’ve already been.) Yes I know: there is nothing new under the sun. Yet it also remains true that there are more things in heaven and earth than we – as individuals, especially – have dreamed of in our philosophy. This is the paradox that pumps the heart of all art. And by the way, I wouldn’t be bothering to say any of this if I didn’t have great respect for the skills and talents of the people involved in making arcane. It’s because I believe they are fully committed that I assume they are up for this level of challenge. As am I. Hey, this is STAB: it comes with the territory. Thanks again.

bruce morley November 21st, 2006

By a fine coincidence, a culture-starved Aucklander happened to be in Wellington last week, and saw "Arcane"... ...and was still mulling over the provocations of this neuro-spatial construction (my phrase) when I read John Smythe's review, in which he asked, inter alia: " this a true evocation of such a life? Where are the hints of her family - the piles of dishes, large meals to prepare....Was there no upside of love?...What about...portals to the wider world?...etc". These observations might have been more pertinent had Mr Smythe not gone on to compare "Arcane" to "well-made plays" (his phrase), and to lament the lack of answers to those questions. But if "Arcane" provoked Mr. Smythe into contemplation of the lacunae enumerated in his review, surely this suggests that it actually achieved its purpose in the first place? I found that my discomfort at being left rudderless was actually a positive theatrical experience; that I could be man enough to form my own conclusions about what had been presented to me; and, it being a gender issue, that those conclusions might differ from the author's. While "well-made plays" supply all the audience wants; plot, character, drama, denouement and (particularly) answers, as I understand it this is neither the STAB brief, nor "Arcane"'s brief ' in particular. Should we expect the author (creator?) to supply answers if she did not consider that to be her mission? Mr Smythe should have reviewed the piece he was presented with, not the one it seems he would like to have seen (presumably a "well-made play"). Otherwise, it's rather like sending the gardening correspondent to review the races. As for the queries themselves: those of us old enough to remember the period remain well aware of the absolute role-modelling and demarcations of daily life then (one aspect of which could be aptly summed up as: people-possessing-a-penis-are-not-found-in-kitchens... even if they would like to be); the sense of isolation, within the house, from the outside world; and, most insidious of all, the constant role-bargaining/sex-for-security/sex-for-labour trade-offs that, despite attempts to cover the tracks, often led the young to conclude that, indeed, there may be no "upside of love" to these Faustian bargains (and, incidentally, that Queen bees should be avoided - men were as trapped in the honey as women were). In this, "Arcane" got it dead right, and with a frightening resonance underscored by the incessant humming of the metaphoric hive, at turns innocent or malevolent. Those (of either sex) that grew up there, know. Bruce Morley 17 November 2006

sam trubridge November 15th, 2006

Dear John, What you describe sounds quite similar to the work of Signa Sorenson, in particular the Black Rose Trick Hotel production in Malmo (Sweden) last year. First of all I would like to applaud you for setting up this invaluable forum on NZ performing arts. I really believe that discussion such as this one on Arcane, and the ongoing debate that this website can create around performing arts in New Zealand can only help to improve the quality of the work we produce, and help educate and excite our audience. I guess it is thus necessary for us as practitioners to keep ahead of what is happening and keep finding ways of pushing the arts in our country – and not just give the audiences what they expect. This is where I find your response to Ain’t Nothing But… particularly confusing and concerning – since it so obviously failed to deal with a promising concept, and instead deferred to familiar and derivative models, done badly. I think Rhys has argued this point very well, so I needn’t add more. But what Arcane does, very bravely, is set out to explore the concepts it proposes. I have to agree that it was not successful in every respect – but it is nonetheless on a entirely higher level to Glimmer… due to the fact that its creators actually tried to make use of the concept, and were willing to push it, explore what it offered, and believed in what it was. After seeing the work by Societas Raffaello Sanzio at the Melbourne Festival last month, with someone who had never seen performances like this before, I realise we don’t need to always give our audiences what they expect. We play it safe here in NZ, but what the SRS show proved to me was that people CAN understand, and moreover can enjoy, “slow”, non verbal performance. What Jade and her collaborators are doing is bravely seeking out methods that theatre can speak to the live embodied audience in ways that other media (in particular film) never can. We need this, and we need this more. I sincerely hope that Theatreheuristic continues working in this way, and gets the support to do so, because it is work like this that begins to address concerns in theatre that are contemporary with international movements in the performing arts. It prevents our country from being a theatrical backwater, where conventional colonial models of theatre are sustained beyond their sell-by date. I think it is invaluable that we are discussing this, and I only lament the fact that we don’t have commissions like STAB more regularly, so that the development of our performing arts can proceed more rapidly and with more support. Also with the occupation of Shed 11 by a new photography gallery it is sad to lose another large flexible space and further limit our options for producing theatre in Wellington.

Rhys Latton November 15th, 2006

Great pitch John! It is often said that theatre critics are frustrated directors – do it! I’ll come along more than once. Reminds me of 24-hour improv’ marathons they performed in Paris. I would agree that this show seems unfinished – as though, like Lepage, the creators need to go away and add another few hours to it. But by wheeling out the "Is it ART?" challenge, you really indulge a conservative, Palaeolithic part of the faculty. What is theatre? Here is a ritualistic event situated in focussed time and space before the gaze (and other senses) of an audience. It is amazing that 40-odd years after Peter Brook said that all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged is a person to walk across an empty space while another is watching, that many are still addicted to consumerist narrative-on-a-platter. Perhaps it is because this is New Zealand (...don’t wander too far from the flock…) In Europe theatre works more bizarre and revolutionary that arcane are gobbled up by Opera House-sized audiences. These shows are self-assured and intelligent, with impeccable production values (something I would applaud theatreheuristic for in this production). They provide the audience with a mystery, a riddle – and the critics rave. Over here we still refer to Ibsen’s well made plays as though there isn’t any other way to express the questions of life, the universe and everything. You mention some of the programme notes John, but seem to miss a vital clue by Robert Temple: "oracles … were stimulating fresh mental associations by a means which was essentially non-logical; they were … stirring up the creative and non-rational faculty of man." As you point out, we are told of 3 primary strands that the work descends from (farmer’s wife, bees, oracles), which don’t seem to have any obvious ‘1 +1 = 2’ logic to their association. The treasure clearly lies in participating as the second part of the creative equation. How does it fit? Is it the world’s navel or a sphincter? What can this eternal dance of housewife buzziness have to do with the future-telling oracular ceremony? These questions may continue into the following week or month after the production – it simply won’t be neatly wrapped up and put away, which is to me, in principle, a great theatrical success. We see a lot of works being made for theatre and dance these days which evoke the mysterious, the unknowable, the arcane. Why is this? In hive society, chemical signals make it clear when there have been enough workers produced, when to create more drones, when to lay down a new queen. My theory is that our society currently is in need mythological space. The time of rational domination and conscious certainty has waned. We are subconsciously calling in the night. Thanks for this forum for discussion. By provoking these philosophical questions, 'arcane' is clearly pushing some buttons. PS. I didn’t read Lepage in this creation. He is still mostly working from linear narrative and being respectfully laid out in fashion history like dress shorts with diamond pattern walk socks. I look forward to your STAB!

John Smythe November 13th, 2006

Here’s the thing. I have this basic belief that any performance work, no matter how ‘innovative’ or ‘unexpected’, has structure. It’s inevitable. Because it happens in time and space, it begins, it ends, and the bit in between is inevitably in the middle. Beginning – middle – end: as immutable as gravity. Maybe short works can simply leave an abiding impression. But the longer they last the more we hope – okay, expect – to be rewarded for our investment of time, attention and empathic concern. All I’m saying is that I engaged with arcane as far as it went, accepted the tedium as part of the point but cannot say I felt stimulated by being left wanting something more … Feeling short-changed is unexpected but not what I’d call innovative. So, in confronting my apparent limitations and shortcomings, I’ve come up with a pitch for a STAB show: BATS is fitted out with a range of gathering environments: the bar, the foyer, a waiting room, kitchen, dining room, bunk room, TV room, an office, a place to party/dance, an open microphone perhaps … The environment is open 24/7 over about a week and people can come and go as they please – they choose when to arrive. And when they do they get a card that says what time they arrived. No-one knows who the ‘performers’ are. But those that are ‘performers’ insinuate themselves into the spaces and sit around, stand around, converse, sing, dance, engage in any kind of social activity … But whether they tell jokes, anecdotes, shaggy dog stories, or sing songs, dance, move, or make something, they never do it all. At different times they might do the beginning middle OR end but never the lot in sequence, in one place. And they do what they do in ways that encourage the ‘audience’ to engage in similar activities, without any sense that a performance, as such, is under way – and with no requirement on them, of course, to limit themselves to dislocation. They can tell whole stories or jokes, sing whole songs, make a whole sandwich, whole a whole letter or email … No-one tells them when its over or when to go – they choose that themselves. And when they do, they pay according to how long they’ve stayed ( i.e. It works like a parking building). So there we are: a concept that demolishes the idea of structure in performance and puts the onus on the audience to make of it what they will, decide when they've had enough of one thing, move on to another ... A bit like life, really. Yes. And …? Is it theatre? Would it get an ‘audience’ – or is that not important either?

helen varley jamieson November 12th, 2006

hi john, i'm having trouble reconciling your assessment that "arcane" fails to live up to the STAB mission of works that are "so cutting edge in their innovations they break the boundaries of audience expectations", with your verdict of "i ain't nothing but a glimmer in the dark, she said" as being "right up there with the best" of the STAB commissions. as someone who was there when the STAB concept was born, i understand STAB to be about giving theatre-makers the chance to experiment, to take risks, perhaps to fail; and to offer audiences something outside of a "normal" night at the theatre. applying this criteria to the 2006 STAB commissions, my assessment is the opposite of yours: arcane has met the grade, while i ain't nothing ... has fallen somewhat short. "i ain't nothing ... " started with a promising concept, but disappointingly emerged as something one might expect to see in a "normal" night during the fringe, for example. there was plenty of potential for innovation but every time they came close to doing something interesting, they shied away from it in favour of a safer option (such as using pre-recorded video instead of live, and sticking to predictable characters and story). "arcane" may not be perfect, but from the moment we entered the theatre i was intrigued, and didn't know what to expect. as in "i ain't nothing ... " there was also a time where i found myself becoming bored - but the difference here was that it was intentional. to deliberately take your audience to a place that is boring, to let them feel that discomfort then push them through it, does break the boundaries of our expectations. whereas to let your audience feel like the actors are filling in time until someone comes through a door, as happened in "i ain't nothing ...", is just boring. i also felt dissatisfied at the end of "arcane" - similar to your "Yes - and ... ?"; but isn't this what it was about? the realisation, just when it's too late, that that's all there is: jars of carefully preserved memories and a spotless, empty house. Yes. And. i left the theatre with a sort of troubled feeling that's still niggling away somewhere in the back of my brain ... STAB isn't about creating "successful" theatre, huge hits, or shows that the mainstream theatres will want to import. It isn't about entertaining the audience or having a good time (contrary to the programme for "i ain't nothing ... " which was at pains to reassure us that it WAS all about being entertained and having fun). I don't go to STAB shows to be entertained - if I happen to be entertained at the same time then that's great, but I go to a STAB show to be provoked, pushed out of my comfort zone, to see something different - even to see something fail. experimentation is about trial and error; failure is as much if not more a part of it as success and STAB allows us a rare opportunity to fail. STAB shows (as with most NZ theatre ... ) are premiers of new work - barely finished, the paint still wet, revealed to an audience for the first time - and it's important to acknowledge this in our responses to the work. But to come back to whether either of this year's commissions lives up to the STAB ideal - "i ain't nothing ..." offered us entertainment, "arcane" offered us a riddle. i'm not sure that either was truly innovative, but only "arcane" broke my expectations in that respect.

Michael Wray November 12th, 2006

The entry point for me did not evoke a "back to the womb" connotation, as much as standing inside a brain experiencing fragments of memory. However, I must admit this did not occur to me until after the show when I was trying to make sense of what I'd just seen. I decided that the silhouette near the entrance, which at the time looked like it was dropping an egg, must have represented the dropping of an apple in to a jar; that the writing represented a diary to tie in with the sole verbal element that took place in the Bats theatre proper. Ultimately, I felt disappointed. Perhaps I was not "in" on the various elements enough, but during the scene where the multiple-mother figures carried out domestic chores I grew restless and bored. I switched off way before the end of that long sequence. My final impressions were similar to one of last year's STAB show, Demeter's Dark Ride - some clever elements with interesting moments, but what was the *substance*. It's all well and good being innovative and different, but it all felt a bit self-indulgent and gratuitous. I'm afraid I haven't left a STAB show feeling really satisfied since Sniper.

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