About blue, glimmer
Friday 19th June 2009
Some performances are an exquisite surprise. Last night, I went to an event at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in south London, which is hosting an exhibition called The Polish Connection. As well as showing portraits — lent by the Royal Castle in Warsaw — of Stanislaw August Poniatowski, the last king of Poland, the gallery has given space for a living artist, Antoni Malinowski, to create his abstract wall paintings, which speak in intriguing ways to the older, stuffier art. Malinowski gave a fascinating talk about his working methods and use of colour, and this was followed by a performance of blue, glimmer, a prose poem performed by its author, Martin Crimp, and the star actress Rula Lenska. Quite unexpectedly, the voices of the these two people (who come from such different theatrical traditions) blended perfectly. On this warm summer night, while guests played croquet on the gallery lawns, and Pirate Dog peed on the flowerbeds, this short performance of a modernist text to a tiny audience was a jewel of an occasion. As ever, the words changed what the eye could see. And, of course, the atmosphere of the gallery changed the resonance of the words.