Cally Spooner presents the first BMW Tate Live commission of 2014. Entitled And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, the work will be a two-part commission beginning at Tate Britain on 21 January 2014.
Staged on the new staircase of Tate Britain’s rotunda, Spooner presents a live production of And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, a musical for an a-cappella Chorus Line. The production draws on the genre of Broadway to articulate a loss of live delivery of language, in contemporary life.
Teetering between moments of comedy and tragedy, the production is structured as a series of prologues and overtures, calls and responses, expressed by the players of the chorus line, who ruminate on fallen heroes and dashed dreams. Narratives from current affairs, starring prominent figures who have stumbled at a moment of liveness, speech or authenticity appear episodically; Beyoncé’s lip-synching at Obama’s inauguration, or Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, become dramatic public moments of standardisation or mechanisation.
As the production continues, their voices become infected by an emerging corporate and PR language, increasingly concerned by 'high performance' and algorithmic speak, reaching toward sameness, automation, and the self, before the musical reaches its climactic finale.
For her second commission, this performance will be transformed, with new characters, material and online status, performed live to camera, on Thursday 27 February at 20.00 as part of the ongoing series BMW Tate Live: Performance Room.
And You Were Wonderful, On Stage is evolving and itinerant, with musical composition by Peter Joslyn devised with Rhiannon Drake, Helen Hart, Jenny Minton, Piya Malik, Rebecca Thorn and Cloe Turpin; costumes by Malene List Thomsen; choreography by Adam Weinert; and a growing cast of performers.
Cally Spooner lives and works in London. Using theory and philosophers as alibis to help her write, and casts of arguing characters to help her perform, Spooner produces plotless novellas, disjunctive theatre plays, looping monologues and musical arrangements to stage the movement and behaviour of speech. Recent work has explored how high performance economies have affected speaking as a live, undetermined event. Her work includes writing, film, live events, and broadcasting. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include And You Were Wonderful on Stage, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Performa 13, New York; POST (SevenThirty Till Eight), Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; Collapsing In Parts, International Project Space, International Project Space, Birmingham; Seven Thirty Till Nine, Shanaynay, Paris; and Cally Spooner: Footnote 5 (with Dulcie Lewis and Peter Joslyn), ICA, London. She is a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists 2013.
And You Were Wonderful, On Stage performed by
Amina Abbas-Nazari, Nikki Akinjinmi, Lisa Angharad, Clare Birkett, Rebecca Blake, Mela Boev, Rhiannon Drake, Natalie Galpern, Chloe Jane Graham, Helen Hart, Levi Heaton, Heidi Heidelberg, Sue Hope, Jaspreet Kaur, Sarah Kent, Sarah Kershaw, Piya Malik, Rachel Middle, Jenny Minton, Jenny Moore, Rose O'Gallivan, Nicola Singh, Aleksandra Skocz, Rebecca Thorn and Chloé Turpin.
Written and directed by Cally Spooner
Original music composition and arranging by Peter Joslyn
Devised, arranged and performed by Rhiannon Drake, Helen Hart, Jenny Minton, Piya Malik, Rebecca Thorn and Chloé Turpin
Choreography by Adam Weinert
Costumes designed and made by Malene List Thomsen
Produced by Edd Hobbs
Commissioned by and developed in collaboration with: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Performa 13, New York; and Tate Modern, London through an ongoing conversation with Annie Godfrey Larmon. With special thanks to Wysing Art Centre, KW Institute and Arts Council England.
BMW Tate Live is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.