Directors: Krista Burane & Andy Field
Reviewer: Lucy Lambert
Sat on a small circle of chairs in Deptford Library, my group leader tells us that a nocturne is a song of the night. He then calmly and slowly makes eye contact with each group member, before delivering what is perhaps best described as a sonic collage; making the cries, clicks and ribbits of the natural world at night. This three-hour journey into Deptford starting at dusk and ending at midnight is an investigation into and celebration of the sounds and activity of urban surroundings that we otherwise may not notice.
Structured around three walks through Deptford which follow the same route, Nocturne invites you to pay attention to the shuffling, rustlings, lights and movement of a city at nightfall. Holding on to a rope attached to our guide’s waist, we walk through a nature reserve and along Deptford Creek, passing through a churchyard and housing estate.
The poise and unwavering sincerity of our guide brings out a cynicism in our group at first, and it takes a while to shake off the glances and giggles. I am often being told in art contexts to ‘turn of your phone, guys! Connect with the world around you, really listen’, the response to which is usually to do my best listening face. However, during Nocturne’s three hours, the experience genuinely elicits a kind of sensory shift. A magical detail unfolds in the world around us and everyday things open up a surreal intricacy; the moon seems implausibly huge, three apples on a windowsill contain a strange magic and droplets of dew appear on grass that were not there before.
Audiences are used to shows that stimulate intellectually or emotionally, but Nocturne is a show that works best in the realm of the senses. The production has the same care and attention to detail as we are invited to take on the walks; a pile of apples on a table in the nature reserve are cleaned and glistening and we are given a hard-bound book of poetry to take away with us.
Nocturne’s careful and meticulous conception and delivery encourages us to enter a world of quiet, wakeful observation that reveals the strange and beautiful in an urban nightfall.
Runs until 29 June 2018 | Image: Contributed