October-November 2008

Stavanger, Norway

Yann, Tryst

" How strong is a boat, how strong is a craft, compared to the rotten wreck of our lives?."

Tryst was an idea that had been active in the company since 2003. We had wanted to make a piece about and by the water, the way water can affect human behaviour, seeing watery sites as particularly strong locations for illicit liasons. It was originally the piece we wanted to create for Cork 2005, but when the site of the old Waterworks fell through we went for another idea and kept Tryst on the backburner.

Pincher Martin, William Golding

" “My chest is like the ribs of a derelict boat and every breath is an effort.”"

We were then invited by Mary Miller of Stavanger 2008 to come up with a new show and when we were shown Engoyholmen Boatyard the idea crystalised again. Boats, which had been in the background of the previous conception, moved into the foreground and we developed an intimate story of two couples dealing with the death of a child by drowning and haunted by other drownings and tragedies.

The audience were ferried to Engoyholmen island by Hundvag 1, a small 1940s passenger ferry; once on the island the scenes were played out in and around the beautiful structures of newly-created boats and other artefacts of the sea. Whilst the roots of the text were in the work of William Golding, Pierre Loti, Oscar Wilde and Alexander Trocchi, the piece marked a development away from a devised process towards a more fully written play by Ben Harrison.

When searching for a name to call our company nearly fourteen years ago, Tryst was one of the early suggestions. We liked the idea it contained of the encounter between actor and audience as having the power, the erotic charge even, of the illicit encounter between lovers, one of the meanings of the word ‘tryst’. It also, more generally, means ‘meeting place’, and so in our production the piece was centred around various types of meeting: adulterous liaisons yes but also the meeting between human and sea, between male friends, between female friends, between child and adult.

Lyra, Tryst

" A glorious lie. I’m at the edge of myself. Giddy. Who was it who said that people who don’t lie are unattractive, ugly even. No-one wants the truth, though we all pretend we do. Humankind, floating on a sea of lies. Humanity, a rotten hull, leaking through every orifice. When did it begin? More delicious than first love, because forbidden. Especially here. This pent-up, sea-girt world. ‘With my body I thee worship.’ But that ended, that worship, when she. When Meriel. . .When does betrayal begin? The first look, the first kiss on the cheek, the first peck on the lips, the first lingering kiss on the lips, the first holding close, the first full kiss, the first fuck? The sea watches everything, witnesses everything. . .takes note. Enjoys the spectacle. Seeks out the weakness. Do you believe the tides change human moods? I do. I feel different by the sea. I feel a sea rising within me."

The creative team was Becky Minto on design, Paul Claydon on light and Conrad Ivitsky Molleson on composition and live music. The production featured the Norwegian actress Kjersti Botn Sandal, winner of a Hedda award, and three actors from the UK.