Monkeying around at the Arcola Theatre London

Will Self's 1997 novel is a satire on contemporary machismo and also a challenge to familiar notions of what constitutes civilised behaviour. This skilful adaptation by Patrick Marmion captures its blend of shrewd observation, linguistic bravura and shameless puns.

Bryan Dick brings an angsty revulsion to artist Simon Dykes, who wakes up one morning to find he’s in a world run by chimps. At first he thinks he has simply guzzled too many drugs, but soon his longstanding obsession with perspective is being sorely tested. As Simon struggles to adjust to a society in which bum display and voracious public sex are the norm, psychiatrists try to rescue him from the delusion that he’s human.

Indebted to Franz Kafka and Jonathan Swift, the story takes an idea that might suit a five-minute TV sketch and extends it beyond absurdity into the realms of madness. Jokes about bottoms proliferate, as do densely scientific speeches, yet after a rather frantic opening first-time director Oscar Pearce maintains a firm grasp on the show’s tumbling craziness.

The cast includes Stephen Ventura as Simon’s critic-baiting gallerist and John Cummins as an Oxford academic fond of quaffing liquid excrement. All the actors are wholly committed to their apish physicality - squirming around on crutches and indulging in a feast of sniffing, whooping, grooming and rutting. The standout is Ruth Lass as Zack Busner, a maverick shrink who focuses the piece’s unsettling interest in modern neuroses and biological destiny.

Trestle physical theatre and participation projects

Trestle is a mask and physical theatre company, with a highly regarded arts education programme. As a charity, their mission is to engage children, young people and adults in creative activity, which aims to enhance the cultural quality of their experiences.

Trestle has been making innovative and inspirational physical theatre and participation projects since 1981. All of the work is influenced by full and half mask; however, over the past decade, collaborations with artists from India, Spain, Eastern Europe and Africa, along with our partners in the UK, have inspired the evolution of the work they create.

Trestle is one of the leading providers of school workshops, teacher training and participation programmes in the country. They run mask, half mask, physical theatre and bespoke workshops, projects and residencies nationally and internationally.

Trestle Arts Base in St Albans is home to Trestle Theatre Company, from here they support the development and performance of new, high quality, professional productions. There are weekly classes, community events and meetings, as well as spaces for performance research and development. The longest standing professional theatre company in St Albans offers its students the opportunity to work, learn and play inspiring them to grow in confidence, make friends, improve communication and explore their creativity.



International Winter School of Physical Theatre 2018

International Winter School of Physical Theatre is specifically designed to prepare participants for a professional practice, both within the educational context and within the professional development of performers.

Primarily aimed at high-level dancers, choreographers, directors and actors who wish to extend their knowledge and skills through the practical investigations of how to: develop the understanding of the dance and movement, performance and acting, be choreographer, coach, director of movement and dance, create professional performance in a limited rehearsal time.

Practical sessions are designed to enhance understanding of performance making and rehearsal processes, and skills in pedagogy. Winter School is a simple way that can help you formulate your personal unique approach to work with actors and dancers, through the intensive practical training based on the Ostrenko Brothers Method of performer's physical training and rehearsal.

Students may expect to encounter the techniques of such outstanding figures as V. Meyerhold, M. Chekhov, K. Stanislavski and E. Barba. The course is taught by the experienced professional practitioners, experts in performing arts pedagogy, actors’ training, theatre directing and movement research in intercultural groups and projects. 

Teachers are Sergei Ostrenko and Gennady Ostrenko. The working language is English. Deadline is 19 February 2018. Location is Leitring bei Leibnitz, Steiermark, Austria. For all information http://www.iugte.com/projects/lab