Ocean of Storms

Studio Theatre  

Ocean of Storms is an hour long theatre piece, inspired by the rich metaphoric potential of space travel. It uses a loose narrative of two quasi-angels searching for a small girl lost in a city, to explore a range of ideas about home, proximity and intimacy.

Two female figures on a steel mesh set.

A delicate model of the earth is unpacked from a silver flight case, tea making equipment from another.

The two figures act as satellites, relaying half telephone conversations that mesh, initially sounding like dialogues before drifting apart with comic, sometimes poignant, effect.

A further dimension is opened as the piece’s one true dialogue is located; the spare conversations between Al at mission control and Jo, whose damaged craft will almost certainly break up under the strain of reentry. Made, in part, as a reaction against the aggression and brutal structuring of Voodoo City Ocean of Storms was a consciously gentle, elegiac piece. It relies heavily on texts both pre-written and worked up from improvisation. These are delivered via radio microphones to allow us to achieve a consistency of tone and volume, a sense of both intimacy and distance, and a delicate mix with the extra-ordinary soundtrack by Webster-West Ink who were commissioned after a track of theirs was played at a friend’s party. One of the most difficult of Stan’s pieces to make, Ocean of Storms still feels like unfinished business. It was commissioned with a Barclays New Stages award and opened at MAC, Birmingham before progressing to The Royal Court, London and a national tour. Throughout we continued to work hard on the piece presenting revised versions at various stages on the tour. The astronaut strand of Ocean of Storms formed the basis of the radio series So Bring Me Down and the aesthetic of collaged fragments led directly to the next touring show Simple Maths.

Original Programme Notes

When we started, Ocean of Storms named the second lunar landing site.Now it is that region electronic voices pass through to and from theirsatellites; it is the distance a hand must travel to touch a face; it is the fluid in an eye watching from afar.

Everything has grown at once more simple and more complicated since weleft. Being an astronaut is now maybe just about being away and hearingthe voice of home in your ear, and yet now these astronauts are not astronauts,nor are they angels, Gods or spies. This is not quite a play, poem, exorcism orexperiment. We cannot say exactly what anything is anymore, instead we seek to describe a world by orbiting round it.

Devised and Performed by: Sarah Dawson & Amanda Hadingue
With Direction and Texts by: James Yarker
Soundtrack: ‘Webster West Ink’
Lighting and Sound: Paul Arvidson
Set Design and Construction: Stan’s Cafe and Simon Attwood
Properties: Phil Coy and Helen Kelly
Photography: Mark Taylor
Publicity Design: Simon Ford
Administration: Stan’s Cafe and Mick Yates

Ocean of Storms was supported financially by:
Arts Council of England, West Midlands Arts, Birmingham City Council
Barclays Bank through the Barclays New Stages Award

Tour Dates

  • 22nd November 1996:
    Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton

  • 20th November 1996:
    Colchester Institute, Colchester

  • 25th & 26th October 1996:
    New Victoria Theatre, Newcastle U Lyme

  • 18th October 1996:
    Portsmouth Arts Centre, Southsea

  • 15th October 1996:
    Nuffield Theatre, Lancaster

  • 10th October 1996:
    Kidderminster College, Kidderminster

  • 9th October 1996:
    MAC, Birmingham

  • 8th October 1996:
    Axis Theatre, Alsager

  • 4th & 5th October 1996:
    Theatre in the Mill, Bradford

  • 2nd October 1996:
    Folly Theatre Hereford

  • 19th – 22nd June 1996:
    Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court, London

  • 5th – 7th June 1996:
    MAC, Birmingham