Lu Kemp

Have your circumstances changed?

Archway, London
02 June 2015 - 28 June 2015

Developed through the experiences of a cookery school for men over 65, this triptych of street-level performances confronts the audience with the routines of an older man's daily life.

Ageing is an exercise in adaptation. Over-85s is the fastest growing age demographic in the UK. As we grow older, we must adjust to new challenges of daily life. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande has spoken of 'pit crews' in healthcare, arguing that what we need in later life is not medical intervention at the point of crisis but a coordinated team of specialists, like a race car pit crew, ensuring our daily wellbeing. With services which provided this support being progressively cut, perhaps the adaptation most required is not personal, but social?

Presented in collaboration with men over the age of 65 from the London borough of Islington, Lu Kemp assembled a triptych of street-level duets that showed the routine of an older man’s daily life. The intimate performances gestured towards the overwhelming work of parents, partners, children, communities, and the state in keeping us alive as we reach later life, and were accompanied by a soundscape experienced through headphones.

Also collaborating on the project were Elena Peña, Cis O'Boyle, Ben Lewis and Jamie Vartan.


Performance: Bathroom

This video documents Bathroom, part Lu Kemp's triptych performance piece Have your circumstances changed? Staged across a kitchen, living room and bathroom, these choreographed performances can be viewed as individual pieces, or in combination. Each space embodies a necessary component of wellbeing throughout our lives. The performances took place in an empty shop front in Archway, London, in June 2015.

Bathroom depicts the decline and degradation age wreaks on the old: struggling with everyday acts like shaving, the breakdown of the body and inability to perform basic tasks for oneself. This is juxtaposed by the young boy, mimicking the older man, learning these same acts for the first time, and in doing so learning to care to the old. 


Actors in Bathroom: Dudley Sutton and Mitchell Jelley.


This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.


Cover Image: Dudley Sutton and Mitchell Jelley performing in Bathroom, part of Have your circumstances changed? (2015). Photograph: Manuel Vason

Performance: Living Room

15 minutes 28 seconds
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Performance: Living Room

Living Room is designed to show the importance of interaction and play for the older generation. The older man becomes animated and his ability to move about and remember information appears to be increased by the presence of the boy, which then diminish when he leaves the room. 


Actors in Living Room: Roddy Maude-Roxby and Kareem Onyiukah.


This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.


Image: Roddy Maude-Roxby and Kareem Onyiukah in Living Room, part of Have your circumstances changed? (2015). Photograph: Manuel Vason

Performance: Kitchen

14 minutes 53 seconds
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Performance: Kitchen

Kitchen focusses on the need to learn essential life skills for survival; cooking being something that a whole generation of older men never needed to attempt until their wives passed away. Kitchen explores our changing experiences of nutrition, as we grow older, and asks what we prioritise at different points in our lives. 


Actors in Kitchen: Paul Humpoletz and Luca Toomey.


This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.


Image: A chicken pecks at the floor during Kitchen, part of Have your circumstances changed? (2015). Photograph: Manuel Vason

The Venue

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Image: Former FADS shop in a shopping mall, Archway, London: The venue for Have your circumstances changed? Photograph: Manuel Vason, 8 June 2015

Documentary

13 minutes 58 seconds
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Documentary 

Have Your Circumstances Changed? was developed with men who were part of the cookery school in Islington. Here, we meet three of them.


This video is also available to watch on Vimeo and YouTube.


Directed by Matan Rochlitz

About Lu Kemp

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Lu Kemp

Lu Kemp is an award-winning theatre director and dramaturg working across new writing, devised theatre and dance. Her recent work includes Bondagers for the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and was described by The Sunday Herald as “… as brilliantly hellish an evocation of modern slave labour as I have ever witnessed in a theatre”. Another piece of work, Titus, won the Victor Award at IPAY 2015 in the USA and continues to tour internationally. Writing in The Scotsman, Titus was hailed with “clarity and force” and “a completely compelling piece of theatre”.

Kemp is associate artist for Inspector Sands, for whom she directed Mass Observation and If That’s All There Is. She will direct The Lounge, a new piece about our attitudes to aging, for the company in 2016. She trained on the LEM at Lecoq, Paris, and with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, New York.


Images: Lu Kemp and Dudley Sutton during rehearsals for Have your circumstances changed? (2015). Photograph: Manuel Vason

Production Credits

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Production Credits

Director Lu Kemp worked on Have your circumstances changed? in collaboration with older men from Islington and Elena Peña, Cis O’Boyle, Ben Lewis and Jamie Vartan. 

The performances emerged from a specially developed cookery school run by chef and actor, Paul Cawley. Project partners Age UK Islington, St Luke’s Community Centre and Vital Arts invited older men from their networks to attend basic cookery classes at St Luke’s Cookery School and in the Occupational Therapy unit at Mile End Hospital.

Full production credits including actors, creative team and partner biographies.


Image: Dudley Sutton and Mitchell Jelley during dress rehearsal performances for the bathroom part of the Have your circumstances changed? triptych (2015). Photograph: Manuel Vason

Credits

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Who made this possible?

Credits

Have your circumstances changed? was commissioned and produced by Artangel in partnership with Age UK Islington, St. Luke's Community Centre, Central Street Cookery School and Vital Arts. Supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Co-produced by Islington Council for the Word Festival

Artangel is generously supported by Arts Council England and the private patronage of the Artangel International Circle, Special Angels and The Company of Angels.


 

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