A co-production between GRID IRON and DUNDEE REP ENSEMBLE
Devised by Ben Harrison and the Company
19th April – 3rd May 2008
A site-specific, promenade performance in The Verdant Works, Dundee
“I am not interested in tailoring, but in the push and pull of the garment against the human body.” Vivienne Westwood
A deserted warehouse, a former weaving room. The ghosts of weavers and spinners past hang in the air. Hands in the darkness, spinning thread out of yarn.
Yarn: (n) a spun thread as used for knitting, weaving and rope making; a narrative of adventures, esp a tall tale.
Yarn: a tapestry woven from a wide array of texts and imagery, including Ovid, Thomas Carlyle, and Angela Carter.
Yarn: a twisting, turning and sensuous journey through a labyrinth of installation, narrative, song and dance.
Bringing together Dundee Rep’s internationally renowned acting company with Grid Iron’s reputation for creating award winning site specific productions, within the hidden spaces of Verdant Works, a former Jute Mill in the heart of Dundee’s industrial quarter, Yarn was a unique event exploring aspects of Dundee’s past through the present and its future through the past.
“In an age of control-freak management culture enlivened by the odd half-hour of internet porn, there’s something heroic about Ben Harrison’s Grid Iron company, and their sustained attempt – via site-specific shows – to explore the world of true sensual delight and passion.”
The Scotsman (Preview)
“Grid Iron has always been a company of vision and consistency. At a time when site-specific and responsive work is gaining in popularity, this should be worth seeking out to see how it should be done.”
The Guardian Guide (Preview)
“There is a sense of anticipation for the audience as each new yarn is told and a child-like delight in hearing and seeing them through a range of theatrical devices.”
The Courier and Advertiser
“Working together for the first time, the two companies effectively entwine in an emotional and political tapestry connecting clothing and people in a narrative of adventure spun by director Ben Harrison…Each superb soliloquy casts light on a memory – or experience – involving a garment, releasing feelings of anger, envy, regret, lust and in the case of Victorian wear, a humorous bedroom scene… The diverse politics of clothes, from the wedding dress to the burka, to child weavers in third world countries, is a major thread throughout incorporating the use of clever puppetry. This is an outstanding production, delivered by a brilliant cast…. The audience is led seamlessly through with little dilution in emotional intensity, an ongoing fascination holding the pieces together generating a truly unforgettable theatrical experience Dundee audiences should grab with both hands.”
Evening Telegraph and Post
“a wholly charming series of reflections on the role of clothes and fabrics in human history, sexuality and identity….The mood is playful, with a hint of mediaeval pastiche and gothic horror… What’s attractive about Yarn is its imaginative attempt to engage with Dundee as a textile town, and to use the words and voices of Dundee Ensemble to evoke a deeper understanding of its past. It also features a bracing sense of internationalism…And it has a gloriously eclectic finale, co-staged in an old roofless mill-shed by Janet Smith of Scottish Dance Theatre, that races like a thing possessed through an eccentric world history of cloth and its abuses, leaving the audiences with a 90 minute experience that’s not deep, but glamorous, allusive and sometimes even thought-provoking”
“It’s been interesting watching Grid Iron add an explicitly political dimension to their output over the past couple of years, much of it gleaned from extensive work in the Middle East. Here are war correspondents in disguise and photo-ops of how to get from burqua to blindfold in five easy steps. What we’re left with in this co-production with Dundee Rep is classic Grid Iron with an edge, ripping through layers of human artifice to get to the heart of the matter. They wear it well, on their sleeves and everywhere else.”
“Grid Iron delivers an impressive array of narrative threads with which to weave together its stories.”
“Rich in ideas, vivid in execution, this Yarn forms a delightful fabric that takes time to unravel.”
“Yarn often looks wonderful, and is blessed with fine sound and music (by Philip Pinsky) and some fine acting.”
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