Simple Maths started life as a theatre game designed for the Birmingham Federation of Youth Theatres; it became an hour long show in which five people change the order in which they sit on six chairs facing the audience.
The piece has no conscious narrative, no text and no mime. Stripped of so many possibilities for dramatic expression Simple Maths forces theatre toreveal its fractal quality. There remains drama in Simple Maths but it liesat a detailed level, in a range of personal ticks, smiles, glances and yawnscarefully placed through the show.
With no obvious models to follow audiences are left to develop their own viewing strategies, most developing a series of fragmentary narrativesfrom the juxtaposition of details they are presented with. This process isreminiscent of the text device in Ocean of Storms, but here the fragments are not designed to contribute to any master narrative.
The delight and risk of Simple Maths is that it contains no mechanism for self defence. If audiences make a connection with the show they find it highly rewarding, packed with incident, personal resonance and intellectual stimulation.For those who fail to make the connection, perhaps watching the same performance,there is little conventional ‘entertainment’ to carry them to the end.
Possibly the most successful performance of Simple Maths was at Preset, in Nottingham, as part of the “Body, Space, Image” season where the dance setting appeared to contextualise the performance to good effect.
Devised and Performed by
Directed by: James Yarker
Composer and sound operation: Jon Ward
Design: Miguel Angel Bravo
Lighting design and operation: Simon Gowan
Publicity photos: Mark Taylor
Production photos: James Yarker
Graphic Design: Simon Ford
Simple Maths received financial support from:
Arts Council of England, West Midlands Arts & Birmingham City Council
5th – 7th November 1997
Belgrade Studio Theatre, Coventry
8th November 1997
Music Hall, Shrewsbury
12th November 1997
University of Essex, Colchester
14th & 15th November 1997
New Victoria Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme
18th November 1997
The Green Room, Manchester
19th November 1997
20th & 21st November 1997
22nd November 1997
Prema Arts Centre, Dursley
26th November 1997
Portsmouth Arts Centre
28th November 1997
Fairfield Arts Centre, Basingstoke
29th November 1997
? March 1998
Melton Mowbray College
? March 1998