Blog by The Clockwork Moth for ‘We Can Stay All Day’ at Ausform

Written at 10.30am, Sunday morning, Nov 13th, in the Roundhouse Café, just before opening time.



One week to go!


We are literally, yes literally, over the moon (from the point of view of Mars and Venus)


You know, I find it a grand misconception that there is no work for artists – on the contrary I find that the second there is a whiff of having something new to offer, one finds that that something is in instant demand.


And so, our Ausform-written shadow-puppetry short was given a chance to pilot itself in front of an audience one week early.


This was a blessing in more ways than one. For a start, our deadline for having everything ready moved closer, which means we now have the unheard-of advantage of having ample time to concentrate on the finer details that come from getting to spend quality time with your puppets.


So our first showing of We Can Stay All Day happened last night to a small audience at a fundraiser for Soundart Radio, a community radio station based on Dartington estate, Devon.


It was their 5th birthday, and the event had a special resonance as many students from the now deceased Dartington College of Arts showed up to perform. Soundart, besides having a wonderful reputation for experimentation and non-commerciality has the distinction of having been born in the exact same week the announcement was made to close the college.


We thank the organisers of Ausform for encouraging us to get something new together, because frankly, I know that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise – not so soon anyway. We’ve been reminded that as artists, its best not to try always to wait for a good time to make new work, because really, there never is any time in life.


As we perform the shadow-puppets unseen by an audience (we are behind screens) its always difficult to gauge how its being received.


There was a great deal of silence, and I worried that perhaps people were just completely bored, perhaps even angry at having their precious time wasted by such utter drivel (my imagination is a little overactive). But I am pleased to say from speaking to people afterwards that the mood was one of captivation and enchantment.


If you haven’t seen shadow-puppetry live before, I urge you to. Shadows have a magic, ethereal quality to them. I put this down to the illusive quality of them: one never sees a shadow-puppet, only its shadow, floating almost intangibly, a breathing entity composed solely of light and dark.


Traditional wayang kulit shadow-puppetry was more than just a form of entertainment – the shadows were seen as mediums to the spirit world. There is something about a thing which is somewhere between the physical, tactile world, and the untouchable place where shadows dance, that taps into that part of us – the part that will always see the sun go down, even if we know that it is really the earth that is turning away from it.



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