Some Monday lunchtime reading from Forest Fringe Co-Director and performance maker Andy Field…
Disaster Movies aren’t really about the disasters. You could quite easily be fooled into thinking they were by the posters, with their fires and crumbling masonry and crashing airplanes and hand-illustrated pictures of people falling or screaming or simply gazing up in horror at the devastation. You could be quite easily fooled into thinking a film called Earthquake is about an earthquake, but it isn’t really, or at least I don’t think so.
I think Disaster Movies are simply a way of looking at something familiar in a different way. More specifically they are a way of looking at something that feels definite and absolute and making it seem fragile, malleable and ephemeral. The artist Robert Morris once said that his favourite places in cities are building sites because they’re the only places where you’re allowed to witness the process of a city’s manufacture. Building sites are a crack in the wall where light spills in, and so I think are disaster movies. They remind us that people made this; that all these cities and tower blocks and airplanes are small and temporary and that it is people that will persist.
In those terms I think these movies that might seem full of doom and horror are actually more radical and hopeful than even their makers quite realise.
Zilla! isn’t really about disaster either. It isn’t even about disaster movies, though there are plenty of disaster movies in it. Zilla! is mainly about cities. It is about looking at the same city from different angles.
Zilla! is in three parts. Each part invites you to look at the disaster (and by implication, the city in which it is happening) from a different perspective. You start very high up, then you are looking down amongst the streets, looking through somebody else’s eyes, and then finally you imagine the disaster as you might see and experience it on the streets of your own neighbourhood. In each case the events are the same but they look and feel different.
Hopefully this fracturing makes the city feel less like an object and more like a process. Hopefully it makes it feel like it is made up not of buildings, but of different people, and different ways of looking.
I am not from the city. I grew up in a village outside of Cambridge called Oakington. Oakington has a primary school and a post office and a church and a single pub. We lived next door to a man everyone knew as John the Builder. We lived opposite allotments. There was one gang in the village and it was called The Gang and it was made up of 10 year olds. Somewhere in the near distance was the rumble of the A14 but everything else was quiet.
Cambridge felt like a city when I was growing up and London was like another country. We used to go down on the train at Christmas and wander round Covent Garden watching the buskers and the opera singers and hoping to see famous people.
I’m a bit younger than Michael Pinchbeck and though the Junction wasn’t a theatre when I was here it was a club that used to scare me as much as it excited me. I was small and nervous and looked all of 12 until about the age of 17. I used to stand outside clutching some fake ID hoping that the bouncers wouldn’t notice me, otherwise it was always a long walk home to the other side of town. Even if it had been an arts centre I’m not sure how much time I would have spent here. I didn’t really go to the theatre. I was more into films.
Andy Field presents Zilla! a three-part disaster movie for the stage at Sampled.
Zilla! (Part One) a installation and performance featuring Ira Brand and Chris Bailey will take place Sat 05 May. Installation 12.30 - 7pm and Performance 8pm.
Zilla! (Part Two) a storytelling piece will take place Sun 06 May (7pm).
Zilla! (Part Three) a card game for the streets of your own neighbourhood will be given out free to anyone who attends both parts 1 and 2).
For more information visit the Sampled website.