Art meets theatre at Birmingham mac with Jane Packman's The Woods

By Mark Sheerin | 27 January 2011
Photo of a group of actors in a wooded clearing
Expect to find actors, if you go down to The Woods© All rights reserved
Exhibition: The Woods, mac, Birmingham, January 29 until February 27 2010

Part installation, part performance piece, Jane Packman’s latest work taps into one of the most happening currents in contemporary art. Not bad for a theatre director.

As artists and groups like Spartacus Chetwynd, Plastique Fantastique or Pil and Galia Kollectiv currently demonstrate, theatrical live art is hard to match for excitement, or indeed silliness.

And you only have to look down the road at Ikon to find another show featuring set design due to open in Feburary. Robert Orchardson’s installation will be based on a 1955 RSC production of King Lear.

The Woods at Midlands Arts Centre promises to offer some live art of the more serious variety. The leafy set should evoke magic rather than mayhem. Her narrative features bona fide actors and deals with grief.

“It may sound kind of gloomy, but there's beauty as well as sadness in this, and I hope the performance can touch on aspects of both,” Artistic Director Packman has said.

She adds: “Remember the Golden syrup tin with the dead lion and bees ‘out of the strong came forth sweetness’ - you get the picture?” So, perhaps a bit of silliness then, to keep performance art fans happy.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.

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