Cally Spooner, And You Were Wonderful, On Stage, 2013. Courtesy of the artist, The Stedelijk Museum and MOTINTERNATIONAL.

Cally Spooner And You Were Wonderful, On Stage

National Academy Museum MAP

And You Were Wonderful, On Stage is a new musical production by Cally Spooner, an artist whose early training in philosophy has shaped the forms and concerns of her artwork. Working with a chorus line of 18 female a cappella singers, relocated from the chorus to take a splintered lead role, Spooner draws on the genre of the Broadway musical to articulate a loss of live delivery in contemporary life. Teetering between moments of comedy and tragedy, the performance is structured as a series of prologues and overtures, calls and responses, expressed by the players of the chorus line, who ruminate on fallen idols and dashed dreams. Narratives from current affairs, starring prominent figures who have stumbled at a moment of liveness or authenticity appear episodically; Beyoncé’s lip-synching at Obama’s inauguration, or Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal, become dramatic public moments of standardization or mechanization. As the performance continues, the light, conversational musical phrases become infected by an emerging corporate language, increasingly concerned by “high performance” speak, reaching toward sameness, automation, and the self, before the performance reaches its climactic, spectacular finale.

And You Were Wonderful, On Stage is a Performa Premiere, curated by Charles Aubin and Laura McLean-Ferris.

The project's preliminary structure was commissioned by the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, co-curated by Annie Godfrey Larmon and Hendrik Folkerts. The production will subsequently tour to Tate Modern, London (January 2014). 

And You Were Wonderful, On Stage is evolving and itinerant, with original music composition and arranging by Peter Joslyn. Devised and arranged with Rhiannon Drake, Helen Hart, Jenny Minton. Piya Malik, Rebecca Thorn & Cloe Turpin.

Choreography by Adam Weinert, Costumes designed & made by Malene ListThomsen
Produced by Edd Hobbs and Cian McConn

Performed by: Kendra Jo Brook, Yael Dray-Barel, Rhiannon Drake, Natalie Galpern, Natalia Miranda-Guzmán, Helen Hart, Adriana Jones, Jane Jourdan, Kjersti Kveli, Piya Malik, Jenny Minton, Maria Pietranera, Megan Schubert, Ilaria Tarozzi, Rebecca Thorn, Chloé Turpin and Reya Sehgal.

Supported by MOT International. With thanks to Annie Godfrey Larmon, Wysing Art Centre, and KW Institute Berlin.



Generously supported by MOT International.

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