Wednesday 14 December 2011

Promo: Nierka

The New Year has many exciting prospects for us to look forward to and they are far too many to name. Here, however, I shall name one. 'Nierka' is a highly extraordinary piece that transcends most of the common theatrical boundaries, bringing a myriad of different arts together to create a more substantial, a more impressive, a more emotional whole. Created to tell the story of a man who realises that he is not immortal, that he was born at least in part to die it touches on something that we must all face at some time or another.

The man behind this concept and who is driving it firmly forward towards the 14th January (where it has a three night run at the Peacock Theatre in Holborn) is Tupac Martir. Martir is a visual designer by trade, a creative director with a portfolio that boasts an impressive back-catalogue of achievements. Listing a few would see a whistlestop tour through Paris and London fashion weeks, production design for Elton John, Sting, Beyonce and Jon Bon Jovi. Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood have his design in common as well, among many others. Now he is bringing all his experience to bear on his personal passion combining writing, technology, dance, music, image and so many other artistic disciplines that to go into details would be to make it dull. If there's one thing this project certainly is not, it is dull.

Ahead of opening the show to the London audiences, Martir was kind enough to offer some of his rather oversubscribed time to answer a few questions for us at Tipsy Hippo. It is these answers that are contained below. They're rather good, you know. We think you should take a look. Go on, it's right there anyway...

For those who don't know you, how would you introduce yourself?
I am a visual designer, my work consists in creating environments in which performers can best present their story, performance, songs and talents. I always feel that my main objective while doing a show is to enhance the performance, to create other stimuli that help the performance become clearer.

What is the idea behind Nierka and where did it come from?
The idea behind Nierka is the moment when a human being understands that he is not immortal, that the nature of life is that he will eventually die, how he handles that reality which human beings tend to ignore or repress, hiding away from their demons and their fears. After this realisation comes the understanding of his place in life and in this world, the beauty of being part of the universe.

The idea came from a personal experience; after going through a similar process I felt the need to express it. It started as drawings, then etchings, then paintings and I couldn't get across my feelings the way I wanted. So for the first time I started writing and putting my emotions in writing. This felt really good but I knew that it wasn't the right medium. So I converted all that writing in combination with my drawings and the music in my head into a show. The more that I developed the idea, concept, music and everything else, that's when I realised I was creating this emotion and arriving at the correct outlet for my artistic vision.

What makes Nierka different from everything else on at the moment?
I think it is the way the piece is conceived, the fact it is the addition of all the elements at the same time that create the image, that no element was an afterthought but rather that they were developed at the same time, hence they are always helping the piece. They are all highlighted at various points but it is always about how the combination of the elements play with each other and interact with each other that makes the show different. Each light is as important in generating the emotion or feeling as a musical note or a movement by a dancer. The fact that all the elements are treated as characters, not just as an element to enhance a "principal character," gives an importance to the colour, movement, etc. 

It is also one of the first times that I am working with so much talent, artists that are usually the centre of attention in their own disciplines and that are taking a bit of a back seat, understanding that it is the sum of all their talent that will create the beautiful piece we are trying to create.

Why have you chosen London to host this event?
The first three shows will act as a showcase, hence we wanted to show it in a place were it will be easier for people from all over the world. It is also a Mecca for theatre, dance, arts, film, etc so it felt like the right place to perform a show like this.

How much work has gone into creating this project?
It has been hard work, not only as I am the director, main designer, writer, creator, etc. I am also the producer and mainly the man financing the show. So it has taken a lot of dedication and love to try to get the show up and running. After finishing the script we started looking for the choreographer, talking with the musicians, developing the characters, costumes, set, toys and all the technology that is coming into the show. I would say that it has been 2 to 3 years of a constant movement towards this goal on the 14th January.

What's been your favourite part of developing the show so far?
There are a lot of moments and things that I can think about but seeing everyday how things develop, how there is something new that gets us closer to my vision of the show is amazing. It is by far the biggest thing that I have ever created and to be surrounded by so many talented people is a delight. 

What do you hope to achieve with Nierka?
I am hoping to create a new way of seeing shows, looking back at old technology and finding new ways of using it and combining them with new technology. I want to make sure that I can create emotions in the audience, that in a certain way they can see themselves in the different elements and internalise the pain and happiness that our characters go through. 

What's next afterwards?
I am already developing the next two shows and working on new creative ideas. I hope to have a script finished by the end of April so I can start the process all over again. All that combined with my work in London and Paris Fashion weeks, a show in the Middle East and hopefully a tour of Nierka and other exciting new projects.

For people still 50/50 about whether to go or not, what would you say to convince them it's a good idea?
I would say don't be scared; give new people a chance. I am a visual artist crossing over to create something different. I don't know if you'll love it or hate it but I am sure Nierka will get an emotion out of you. That is the reason why we love art; because it makes us feel.

Nierka will run from the 14th to the 16th January at the Peacock Theatre on Kingsway in the heart of central London, only a short walk from Holborn tube station. This, to me, feels like the work of someone who cares about what's being said, someone who has a genuine desire to express something that lies deeply within themselves and is not doing it for any ulterior motive. He is open and honest, ambitious and determined and I, for one, am very excited about seeing this fantastic new show.

John Ord (14/12/2011)

1 comment:

  1. I saw Nierka on Sunday and I agree, this is a show that is brilliant to combine a video and lighting design with a powerfull dance element to narrate a story that is explosive in itself. We need this kind of stories.
    During the later part of the first act shadows moved screens around showing the images in a very dynamic manner. I had never seen this on stage and I've seen quite a lot on stage. This is a stepping stone in set/lighting design.
    The second part was simply a beautiful poem, finalised by a beautiful image of the singer, who portrays the mother who watches and is there for him, elevated in the most impressive dress that goes "live".
    The work f the dancers is exceptional and demonstrates how much dance can contribute to tell stories. Their movements were beautiful, their expression was electrifying and as a reult one felt involved in what was being told on the stage.
    Beautiful performance worth seeing again to better understand the real depth behind. Thank you for taking me in such a travel.