In the first of this two-part interview on Clod Ensemble’s Performing Medicine: The Anatomy season, Suzy Willson explains more about the season, with particular focus on their performance, An Anatomie in Four Quarters.
An Anatomie in Four Quarters. Where does the title of Clod Ensemble’s new work come from?
The piece is inspired by the theme of anatomy and draws much of the choreography from anatomical images through history.
The piece is also in four quite distinctive movements or quarters and the audience change their viewing position in each movement. We have called it An Anatomie, because it is a breaking down of things into their component parts and to some extent an anatomy of the study of anatomy itself
You are drawing a parallel between the theatre (in this case the Donald Gordon Theatre ) and the body. Can you expand on this?
Yes. The piece is concerned with the human body but also with the body of the theatre itself. Throughout the piece we move closer to the bodies of the performers.
Anatomy is about getting closer to things to understand or analyse them – to reveal the structure of the body.
We also reveal the structure of the theatre; the movement of the audience itself cuts through or dissects the space.
The audience will begin to get a glimpse of the theatre mechanism and internal structure - attention is drawn to the lighting rig, the fly bars etc.
An Anatomie in Four Quarters is part of Performing Medicine: The Anatomy Season a series of talks, workshops and performances. What’s the idea behind the Performing Medicine season?
Clod Ensemble has always created outreach and participation projects. Making performance work in theatre spaces is just one of the many things we do.
Over ten years ago I started Performing Medicine, primarily to bring some of the skills I had learnt through theatre training to doctors. It seemed like the arts had many practical skills and ways of thinking about the world (voice skills, body language, interpretation, thinking about identity, representation, communication etc.) that could be very useful to clinical practice.
Now, Performing Medicine runs courses for medical students at Bart’s and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry and other medical colleges but we also curate seasons of work that engage the general public with issues concerning medicine.