PROJECTS

 
Roanna Mitchell as the Little Prince. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Roanna Mitchell as the Little Prince. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

THE LITTLE PRINCE 

Joshua MacLellan and Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Joshua MacLellan and Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Directed by: Cass Fleming
Cast: Thomas Bostock, Sian Clarke, Alistair Foylan, Katja Hilevaara, Joshua MacLellan, Roanna Mitchell, Phobe Naughton
Devised by: The Chekhov Collective
Adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupery by The Chekhov Collective
Lighting Design: Dadiow Lin
Projection and Scenography: Francesca Castelbuono and The Chekhov Collective
Sound Design by The Chekhov Collective
Running time: 80 minutes

A story about love and loss.
A story about the extraordinary and funny business of being an adult.
Above all, a story about hope. 

This surprisingly queer and delicately physical re-telling interweaves material from Saint Exupery’s well-loved novella The Little Prince with his writings on travel and war, and takes inspiration from the life of pilot Amelia Earhart.

Although The Little Prince is often framed as a children’s piece, our version is for adults, and the children they remember themselves to be.

Alistair Foylan. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Alistair Foylan. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

A scratch performance of the show was held at Queen Mary, University of London June 2016, followed by a work-in-progress in July, and a R&D sharing at Goldsmiths in September 2016.  The show is currently being developed for a run later in 2017.

The Little Prince is created by The Chekhov Collective, an ensemble of experienced and emerging artists, led by Cass Fleming, who have been training intensively together since 2013.

 

Thomas Bostock and Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Thomas Bostock and Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Roanna Mitchell. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Katja Hilevaara. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Katja Hilevaara. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Phoebe Naughton. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Phoebe Naughton. Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Photo by Katarina Kotti.

Photo by Katarina Kotti.


 

JARMAN GARDEN 

James Hyland. Photo by Simon Rawles.

James Hyland. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Directed by: Ben Gove, Cass Fleming
Cast: Nicholas Chambers, Martin Hyder, James Hyland, Nadia Morgan, Sally Mortemore, Thomas Power
Devised by: Ben Gove and Cass Fleming and the company
Lighting Design: Mark Jonathan
Scenography: Erik Rehl
Sound Design: Adrienne Quartly
Produced by: Ben Gove, Flaming Theatre in association with Wisepart Productions and The Riverside Studios
Sponsorship: The Jerwood Space

Flaming Theatre, Riverside Studios, London 2004

A fantasia on the life and work of Derek Jarman integrating original film with visual and physical performance. Co-directed and co-devised with Ben Gove, we explored the translation of a queer film aesthetic translated into embodied performance. 

Jarman Garden was a long term project culminating in a run at the Riverside Studios. The project aimed to generate original material through the application of a devising methodology based on extensive research into the work and life of Derek Jarman. The central question addressed was how to identify and apply a ‘Jarmanesque’ aesthetic and methodology to the process of making performance. The aim was not to create an accurate biography but to engage in an experimental investigation, a ‘fantasia’, of his life and work.

James Hyland, Martin Hyder, Nadia Morgan. Photo by Simon Rawles.

James Hyland, Martin Hyder, Nadia Morgan. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Reviews & Feedback

Nadia Morgan, Thomas Power, James Hyland, Sally Mortemore. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Nadia Morgan, Thomas Power, James Hyland, Sally Mortemore. Photo by Simon Rawles.

"Given that Flaming Theatre were shortlisted for an award for innovation in theatre practices, it comes as little surprise that their approach to this Derek Jarman homage subverts dramatic convention in a way the filmmaker himself might have approved. On a decking stage that slowly peels away to reveal the shingle beach where the filmmaker, painter, activist and 'avant gardener' spent the final years before his death a decade ago, six actors relive key moments in his life. Language in the play is sparse, which means mime, song and loose elements of dance become primary narrative tools against a backdrop of video projection, forcing the audience to decipher these snapshots of a life lived through art and sexual awakening. But like most things that require work, the rewards, when you get them, feel well-earned...an intriguing portrait." – METRO, Ben Sloan, 23 February 2004

Nadia Morgan and James Hyland. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Nadia Morgan and James Hyland. Photo by Simon Rawles.

"From Jarman's boyhood in a family ruled by his father, who was serving in the RAF, to his emergence as a significant artist, out-and-proud homosexual and AIDS awareness campaigner, "Jarman Garden", directed by Ben Gove and Cass Fleming, takes us on a rollercoaster ride of sensations...Adrienne Quartly's eclectic sound design emphasises Jarman's Englishness, from a brass band playing "An English Country Garden" to a high-energy disco version of "Jerusalem" to the ecstatically soaring strings of Vaughan Williams. It's a sublime interdisciplinary sensual assault. The combination of live movement and giant video images of bright flowers bursting into bloom is gorgeous, and in its marrying of formality with exuberance is reminiscent of the work of that other acclaimed gay artist and Jarman's contemporary, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe" - THE TIMES, Sam Marlowe, 24 February 2004

Nadia Morgan. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Nadia Morgan. Photo by Simon Rawles.

"As the evening unfolds, a rich and layered portrait is gradually revealed. So, too, is the beach on which Jarman created his famous Dungeness garden: hidden away beneath wooden boards, the chunky pebbles are exposed, slat by slat. There's a wonderful moment when the actors drag their feet in unison backwards and forwards across the stones. If you close your eyes, you are on a beach at sunset. When you open them, the performers, with their hypnotic swaying, seem to be the waves personified. In keeping with Jarman's passion for the 'intercommunication' of art forms, Ben Gove's company combine film, dance, song, physical theatre and a soundtrack that ranges from musical numbers to drum 'n' bass. And they inject humour in unexpected places - a family tea scene becomes an illustration of Jarman Senior's kleptomania, the cutlery smuggled down the front of his uniform. Just as swiftly, the tone switches again, and the old man dies standing up, the stolen items clattering from his clothes onto the ground...a garden full of many delights" - TIME OUT, Madeleine North, 25 February 2004

Thomas Power. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Thomas Power. Photo by Simon Rawles.

"A beautifully integrated performance, which uses music, projections, dance, non-verbal performance and a minimal text to take us through Jarman's life...extraordinarily powerful images...touching minimalism...a celebration of Jarman's life: of his work, his love, his queerness and his Englishness...Presenting an elegy that skilfully mixes media and styles, this company have given Jarman an appropriate, posthumous birthday present." - ROGUES & VAGABONDS, Howard Loxton, 20 February 2004.

“A quirky, unusual theatrical biography of the late film-maker, artist, writer and gardener Derek Jarman which plays with each of the forms he worked in to hilarious, intriguing and eventually moving effect.  One of the 5 Best Shows in London.” - BBC LONDON RADIO, Mark Shenton

“A beautifully choreographed tour through Derek's life and world.” Neil Tennant, 22 March 2004

“Thank you for the production, which was very fine indeed. You captured much of Derek's spirit in often thoughtful and surprising ways. He would have applauded”. Tony Peake, Biographer of Derek Jarman, 25 February 2004

Feedback from the Arts Council

The cast of Jarman Garden. Photo by Simon Rawles.

The cast of Jarman Garden. Photo by Simon Rawles.

“A devised multi-media tribute to the life and work of Derek Jarman, Jarman Garden is both a reverent and irreverent homage, which he would have enjoyed.  A cast of six, four men and two women, spend ninety minutes reconstructing his biography with music, video, mime, voice-over, linking episodes from his life with a minimum of props and a wonderfully evocative set of his final home, his small weather board house and famous garden in Dungeness, Kent.

Martin Hyder and Nicholas Chambers. Photo by Simon Rawles.

Martin Hyder and Nicholas Chambers. Photo by Simon Rawles.

…Finely reconstructed with a beauty of its own the company artistically and sensitively peel back layers of Jarman’s life at the same time as they lift squares of wooden decking to reveal, gradually, Jarman’s shingle garden with its unusual plants.  A model of his house stands in the corner: a doll’s house wired up with light.  It’s a lot smaller than I expected, someone says, which elicits a laugh from us.  It was small, modest but his needs weren’t great.  The light dims, a naked man turns in the final spotlight.  Darkness, but the joyful exuberance for life remains.

… Derek Jarman is honoured by this loving, also clever, imagining of his extraordinary, non-judgmental life.  He left enough material for Flaming Theatre to extract, collate and make into a collage.  Lots of research…and a consummately determined coming together of the creative team.”  [Date seen 25 February 2004]


 

PASSED BETWEEN US

Flyer from Passed Between Us.

Flyer from Passed Between Us.

Director: Cass Fleming
Writer: SJ Griffin
Cast: Tamara Harrison
Devised by: Cass Fleming, SJ Griffin, Tamara Harrison
Lighting: Laura Miles
Scenography and sound: the company
Sponsorship: The Jerwood Space

The central research process sought to develop an original form of collaboration between a writer and ‘physical theatre’ company in the construction of a new kind of performance text.

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

Previous research and twenty years of professional practice in this field identified four key ways in which European practitioners had used text to ensure space for the physical and visual dimensions of performance to signify equally:

(i)            The adaptation of various types of text (e.g. Copeau/Bin, Barrault, Lecoq lineage and the work of Michael Chekhov)

(ii)          Commission of material for ‘physical theatre’ companies (e.g. Frantic Assembly 2001)

(iii)         Writers brought in at later stages of devising (e.g. theimaginarybody 2002)

(iv)         Writers producing texts following a devising   process (e.g. Churchill/Spink/Lan). 

This project set out to fully develop the last model; establishing a cyclical exchange between the rehearsal and writing processes. 

The company worked with SJ Griffin and the concept was developed collectively during the research period. Text was written and then explored, devised around, and edited in rehearsal.  The writer would join rehearsals to watch the development of the work and after collective discussion further modify the text. This process continued allowing text and staging to evolve simultaneously, resulting in the dissolution of the traditional boundaries between writer/director/performer.

The directorial methodology drew on embodied approaches  drawing on play and games to develop characterisation, compositional and improvisational systems, along with a free use of the text. This methodology also explored ways for one performer to embody multiple personae.

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

Comments on the work performed at Chats Palace (London), May 2004

 “Sexy!  Plenty of mileage is achieved by combining issues of sexuality and hysteria in the character of Cathy.  In the end I felt that Cathy’s hysteria was the more important of the two…the moments when Tamara Harrison replaced other people with objects and related to them were especially strong, she was also fearsome when the extent of the disturbance of her character was revealed, especially in the section when she seemed to be physically battling with possession….Well done.”  Clair Montier, The Jerwood Space, 10 May 2002

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

Tamara Harrison. Photo by Vicky Dawe.

“This was a fine show and an impressive young company.”  Nick Reed, Centre Director, Chats Palace, 30 May 2002.

Comments on the work performed at La Mama (Melbourne Fringe Festival), Sept-Oct 2006

“Passed Between Us (2002), constructs an inner portrait of Catherine Forester, a young woman from a good family in Victorian England. Tamara Harrison plays Cathy, together with the host of other voices - real and imaginary - that populate and haunt the house.  Not everything at home is rosy, as Cathy explains: "We exchange blame in this house like gifts at Christmas." There are whisperings amongst the servants, clandestine meetings, and Cathy has episodes or "blank moments", when she quite forgets herself. Shut up in her room, Cathy is something of a caged bird, that archetypal image of the Victorian woman. Who will set her free?  Not Margaret, her unsuitable ‘friend’, for she has already been confined to a "sanatorium" because of aberrant behaviour. Neither will it be Mr Bowes, the widower that Cathy's mother hopes will take her daughter off her hands. When Mr Bowes calls, Cathy has one of her blank moments - and takes off all her clothes. The intimate space of La Mama is a perfect venue for this play, with its references to creaking stairs and overhead voices. Opening night saw a wonderful irony in Cathy's mention of "a voice I don't quite recognise", as it coincided with a conversation in the laneway outside. But the arrival of a new suitor, the progressively minded Mr Harding, sees a change in Cathy… Tamara Harrison found her range and rhythm, giving flight to wit and whimsy….In the end we rejoice with Cathy that she finds freedom.”  Martin Ball, The Age, 4 October 2006

 

 
Tamara Harrison and Laura Plitt. Photo by Dan Caleo.

Tamara Harrison and Laura Plitt. Photo by Dan Caleo.

RECOLLECTIONS

Director: Cass Fleming
Cast: Tamara Harrison, Laura Plitt, Gareth Malone
Devised by: Cass Fleming, Tamara Harrison, Laura Plitt, Gareth Malone
Lighting: Dominique Serre
Sound: Gareth Malone
Scenography: the company
Sponsorship: The Jerwood Space

Inspired by the life and works of Marguerite Duras, Albert Camus and Jean Rhys, this production was set in an amorphous colony during the early decades of the last century drawing on these writers’ accounts of their early lives.   A French Colonial family find themselves stifled by poverty and isolated in a remote outpost, with one loyal servant and hopes of better things to come.  The piece explores complicity, longing and manipulation.  The project focused on the way in which scenes could be (re)membered, acts (re)discovered and pasts are (re)constructed in relation to identity, ethnicity/class and embodiment.  Cockpit Theatre, London. Sponsored by the Jerwood Space. 2000-2001.

 

Tamara Harrison and Gareth Malone. Photo by Dan Caleo.

Tamara Harrison and Gareth Malone. Photo by Dan Caleo.

Tamara Harrison and Laura Plitt. Photo by Dan Caleo.

Tamara Harrison and Laura Plitt. Photo by Dan Caleo.


 
Debs Howarth. Rehearsal. Photo by Mick Fleming.

Debs Howarth. Rehearsal. Photo by Mick Fleming.

CREATIVE MISTRUST

Director: Cass Fleming
Cast: Debs Howarth, Simon Humm
Devised by: Cass Fleming, Debs Howarth, and Simon Humm
Lighting: Dominique Serre
Scenography and Sound: the company
Sponsorship: The Jerwood Space

A radical re-working of Peter Handke's Self-Accusation. In the 1960s Handke termed this play a Sprechstück (spectacle without pictures) and confined the (re)presentation to words, disallowing any action.  Rubicon Performance Company's response to this text is playfully at odds with Handke's notion of Sprechstück. It is a highly physical and visual performance which explores the journey through socialisation and guilt that Handke created for two performers. Rubicon Performance Company. Cockpit Theatre, London. Sponsored by the Jerwood Space. 2000.

 

 
Debs Howarth. Rehearsal. 

Debs Howarth. Rehearsal. 

PEA THEORY 

Director: Cass Fleming
Cast: Debs Howarth
Devised by: Cass Fleming and Debs Howarth
Lighting: Dominique Serre
Scenography and Sound: the company

A playful and provocative re-working of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck exploring scientific observation and Foucault's ideas about surveillance. Rubicon Performance Company. The Gym, London. 1999. 


 
Laura Bolton. Photo by John Robinson.

Laura Bolton. Photo by John Robinson.

PLATFORM

Director: Cass Fleming
Cast: Laura Bolton
Devised by: Cass Fleming and Laura Bolton
Lighting: Laura Miles
Scenography and Sound: the company

A production based on the troupe of Ophelia and questions of identity staged on a very tall platform. The show was originally developed as practice-based,  post-graduate research (awarded a distinction).  Rubicon Performance Company. The Gym, London. 1998.


 

HOTEL 

 

Assistant Director/Choreographer to Ian Spink. Worked on this production, devised and developed with playwright Caryl Churchill and composer Orlando Gough and the interdisciplinary company Second Stride, The Place and Manchester Dance House, UK. 1997.