An electric symphony

Patrick Nolan's Symphony:

"THAT'S the exciting thing about theatre, you watch it unfold in real time. It's always developing because it's taking place in the moment."

Patrick's no stranger to Lismore and NORPA. As a freelance director, he brought The Flood (2004) and Electric Lenin (2006) to town. His work is known for its grand theatrical gestures, such as costuming a hundred school children as the animals on Noah's ark in The Flood.

He says that Symphony will be his most intimate production yet.

"The others were epic visual works. This show is four performers and a musician - it's about exploring the dynamics between the forms and is much more about the human level."

He's been working with Legs on the Wall (LOTW), an innovative Sydney-based production company, for four years. They recently returned from the UK, where they were one of the opening events for the London Olympics.

"We do movement-based theatre. It's a hybrid of different forms, including dance, cabaret and spoken word."

Like all LOTW productions, Symphony is counterpointed by music - in this case from virtuoso guitarist Stefan Gregory, playing an elegantly cranked electric guitar.

"He's a conservatorium-trained guitarist, highly technically proficient and imaginative," Patrick said.

"We asked him to choose any of Beethoven's symphonies and told him he could do whatever he wanted with it; sample it, put beats to it, whatever, but he had to be able to play it. He chose the Seventh, which is interesting because it's known as a dance piece."

While the performers interact with it singly, in each of the four movements, Stefan's guitar is the one constant.

"What is grand about this show is the music - Stefan's guitar playing is majestic at times. Electric guitar can be delicate and fragile or thrashed it can be loud and intense."

The performers interact with the music. Sometimes they lead, sometimes Stefan does. This is where the live dynamic cuts in.

"Of course we have to set certain limits, but within these limits there's always an opportunity for things to evolve and change."

Symphony is the last work in NORPA's 2012 season, finishing a huge year for the regional performing arts company. With its theatrical base, Lismore City Hall undergoing major renovations, 2013 looks like an exciting season for NORPA.


Symphony plays at the Lismore City Hall on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17, both at 7.30pm. Tickets are $37 adult, $30 conc, $16.50 u/18. Ph:1300 066 772 or go to www.norpa.org.au.

NORPA is giving away a double pass for the Saturday night show, to somebody that can tell us the name of a NORPA production featuring 100 animals. To enter email scene@echonews.com by Monday, November 12 at 12pm.

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