Changing Room: Synopsis of the Project
Changing Room' is a collaborative work initiated by
Bruce McLean and Lawrence Preece. It is an 'Opera’ based
on the sensate, visual, political and metaphysical aspects
inherent in Courbet’s painting 'The Painters
Studio', conflated with Breughel’s 'The Blind Leading
the Blind' and a photograph of a models' changing room
in an English Art School.
the deconstruction and collision of these historical
works we developed a series of drawings that addressed
the perennial artistic dilemma; how to recognise and
represent what is heard and not heard and what is seen
and, significantly, what is invisible. The libretto
is derived from Jacques Derrida’s ‘Memoirs of the Blind’
where the philosopher similarly explores issues of vision,
blindness and self-representation, particularly in relationship
‘saw’ these amassing drawings as graphic scores to be
interpreted by performers in a series of guided improvisations.
Financial support from The Elephant Trust allowed us
to work intensively with experienced musicians in a
makeshift set of projectors and temporary screens. We
were kindly granted access to Merevale House in order
to rehearse and perform the work and gave us an appropriately
grand context in which to develop the work.
and composers Lore Lixenberg, Adam de la Cour, Sam Belinfante
and Neil Luck comprised a group of musicians who Bruce
McLean had worked with independently on numerous occasions
including performances at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2013),
Cooper Gallery, Dundee (2011) and Test Bed, London (2010).
We saw this as an opportunity to bring these incredible
musicians together in a more developed and ambitious
work of theatre. The scenographer David Barnett enabled
us all to work together using a series of video projections
deploying the scores together with an archive of video,
drawings and photography to interact with the performers
and singers and create a performance specific to the
site in Merevale Hall.
are very grateful to Mathew and Paige Dugdale for giving
us this great opportunity to develop this work in such
an appropriate venue.