At Tour’s End

We are just back from six weeks of touring Near Gone visiting people from Constantine in Cornwall to Eden Court in Inverness. We come back exhilarated by the experience and how the work was received. We have cried and laughed and so have our audiences. We have danced our feet off and we have given 3600 white carnations away (after dancing with them of course)!

For now though, we hang our costumes, with hopes that Alister’s shirt and Kat’s shoes will indeed get replaced. Next up, we will be flinging our flowers in Europe. Watch this space!

Response to Manpower

Our sell-out premier of Manpower, opening ICIA University of Bath’s brand new Weston Studio, was really well-received and we’re excited to be booking its tour for later this year. Natalia Nicholls wrote a really lovely appreciation of the piece:

What does it mean to be a man? Who shapes our ideas about masculinity and femininity? What happens when we pause and think about the origins of our society’s expectations about appropriate behaviour for men and women? And are we really that different from each other? All these questions are addressed in the passionate and thought-provoking piece of theatre that is “Manpower”.

Two Destination Language invoke familiar images of ordinary men: men barbecuing, men camping, men drinking tea in their gardens, men building skyscrapers and making money, men racing, men who weren’t good at PE, men experiencing failure, men ashamed of themselves. But they do more than that: they challenge these images. They ask: where do these images come from? The performance explores how men and women react to the expectations imposed on them by society through the symbolic act of Alister constructing a house on stage – the most “manly” act of creation. Is it a safe haven, or is it a cage? That is left to the interpretation of the audience.

“Manpower” is not only a show about men – it’s about women as well. Katherina emotionally recounts her experience of growing up – how she had to “man up” in order to overcome the difficulties that life threw at her. Ditching skirts in favour of trousers. Crying at night, but being brave in the daytime. Becoming an independent young woman, finally achieving what she had aspired to her whole life. However, she was surprised to find that she was not happy – she was just as lost as she was before.

Movement also plays an important role in this performance. Through it, the actors explore the relationship between men and women. Are we enemies? Are we friends? Or are we just desperately looking for a means of communication – close, but never really able to understand each other? Can we overcome the distance that is between us? And are words a help or a hindrance in this quest?

Two Destination Language’s answer is simple: to achieve true happiness we need to become comfortable in our own bodies. Masculinity and femininity are just arbitrary notions, that don’t serve our interests at all, but are rather society’s way of exercising power over us. In the end, we are all just humans, with insecurities, regrets and fears. We can only overcome these if we open ourselves to others, embrace our differences and accept that not every man is a tough cowboy, and not every woman is a delicate snowflake. And that’s okay.

Near Gone touring: spring 2015

We’re delighted to be visiting nine more venues with the award-winning Near Gone in spring 2015 — look out for us at:

Manpower premiere

We’re delighted that the World Premiere of our new performance, Manpower, will take place in ICIA University of Bath‘s new theatre building on 6th February 2015.

After developing the work in London, Eastleigh, Salisbury and Ipswich in 2014, early 2015 sees our final rehearsals before the opening of our first new work since winning a Total Theatre Award for Innovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form at 2014’s Edinburgh Festival. We’re sure you’ll see hints of men you’ve loved, hated and wanted to be in the new show. More about Manpower…

That’s all folks — until next year!

Our last performance of the year is done, and the leaves, pink balls and potted plants have settled after FLINT2014. What a year it’s been!

It’s fantastic to be on the home stretch of a year in which it feels we’ve accomplished so much — winning the Total Theatre Award was probably the highlight, but audiences have been really vocal about loving Near Gone, and we’re delighted to be taking it on another UK tour next spring.

Previews of Manpower were really useful, helping us to identify the strands to develop before our premiere at ICIA University of Bath on 6th February, and looking back at all the organisations that have come together to support the piece is fantastic.

We made Dusty Feet happen with Salisbury Library, its users and help from teenagers in Bradford-on-Avon. That involved some fascinating conversations with people about their own communications with friends and family –the coded messages they share, and the things they can’t say too.

It’s been a year in which the centrality of our audiences as people with whom we’re having a conversation has been really clear in everything we do.

It’s left us excited, looking forward to sharing existing work and two new projects in a very busy first half of 2015…so we’re busy planning, booking vans and hotels, rehearsal spaces and collaborators, projectors and flags. It’s going to be great!

FLINT 2014 line-up announced

We’re really pleased to announce the line-up for FLINT on 22 November.

Taking place at Salisbury Arts Centre, the event features

  • 70/30 Split with WHICH
  • Chris Dobrowolski with All Roads Lead To Rome
  • Karen Christopher with Small Trees in Leaf
  • Search Party with My Son & Heir
  • Project O with O

Read more about FLINT 2014 here!

Near Gone autumn dates

Following our successful run in Edinburgh, there are chances to see Near Gone in a few more places this autumn:

  • Lakeside Theatre, Colchester on 2 October – BOOK
  • Pavilion Dance as part of Bournemouth Arts By the Sea Festival, 8 October – BOOK
  • Derelict in Preston on 22nd October – BOOK
  • Bram Stoker Festival in Dublin on 27 October – BOOK
  • Radar Festival at the Bush Theatre in London on 20-21 November – BOOK

We’re also speaking to further venues about more potential dates, so keep your eye out for more news!

Manpower Ahead

We’re delighted to announce that Manpower has received funding from Arts Council England to enable us to proceed immediately with full production. We’re rehearsing this month in Salisbury and Ipswich, previewing the work in both places.

After that, we’ll be premiering the completed piece in Bath next February — look out for more details soon.

You can see our previews at:

  • New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich on 25 September – BOOK
  • Salisbury Arts Centre on 3 October – BOOK

Near Gone wins Total Theatre Award

Near Gone has won a 2014 Total Theatre Award, for Innovation, Experimentation and Playing With Form. The award was presented this afternoon, and we’re absolutely delighted to have been selected, especially given the strength of the other work on the shortlist.

We’d like to thank all those who worked with us on the piece, and especially Charlotte Vincent whose keen eye and vast experience were really valuable in our making process. We’d also like to thank those who supported the making of the work — Anthony Roberts and Colchester Arts Centre, Sarah Brigham, The Point Eastleigh, Salisbury Arts Centre, Tanya Steinhauser, Nick Sweeting, Orla Flanagan and programmers and staff at those venues who supported the work by taking a risk and booking it early on.

The making of Near Gone was made possible by the support of all these people and organisations, and by funding from Arts Council England.

We’d also like to thank those closest to us, our families, for their support.

Edinburgh Reviews for Near Gone ★★★★★ and Total Theatre Award nomination

Audiences in Edinburgh have been really supportive of Near Gone, and so have the critics who’ve been in.  Here are some of the quotes and links to the full articles…

Fabulously, the show has been shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award in the Innovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form category!

Jenny Williams gave the show ★★★★★ for BroadwayBaby:

Radeva and Lownie’s harrowing story is told with great beauty, sensitivity and humour, creating art that is truly affecting, memorable and life-affirming.

Total Theatre Magazine‘s Dorothy Max Prior says

Near Gone is a near-perfect show. Wonderful performances by both actors. A beautifully crafted story told expertly through many means and forms – verbal, visual, physical. Spot-on dramaturgy (choreographer Charlotte Vincent name-checked here). A lovely sound design by Tim Blazdell.

In The Scotsman, David Pollock gave the piece ★★★★, saying it goes

beyond the limits of mere language.

With another ★★★★, Edinburgh Evening News‘ Ed Frankl called it

a brilliantly captured performance

TVbomb says:

The precise and subtle performances from both Radeva and Lownie are as fascinating as they are compelling. ★★★

Alecia Mashall in The Skinny says:

Thoughtful and understated – with an unexpectedly hopeful conclusion – this is well worth an hour of your fringe time. ★★★

fest mag‘s Alice Saville calls it

a moving performance with the language-crossing power of a ritual […] this intensely personal performance crafts a bridge of floral delicacy. ★★★

DarkChat gave it 10/10, saying

This isn’t just one of the best shows I’ve seen in 25 years of visiting the Fringe. It’s one of the most powerful and moving pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.

In the Guardian, Lyn Gardner recommended the piece in her Essential Theatre Picks blog in advance, her Hot Tickets article at the start of the Fringe, in tips for the final week with

a winning heartfelt intensity

and in her Fringe roundup at the end of August as

A boon to the flower trade and to audiences too with its passionate, dance-filled look at the gulfs we cannot bridge.

Her review calls it

a brave show that confronts how we can sometimes become locked in grief, and unreachable even to those who love us most, and which uses many different kinds of language to explore the emotional gulfs between us, and the ways we can reach out and connect.

Finally, audience members interviewed by STV gave their views here.

collaborative performance from Katherina Radeva and Alister Lownie