3rd and 4th Sept 2010, Newbury Town Centre
2500 people came to watch Periplum’s first outdoor show Arquiem, a powerful night time promenade performance and a timeless and moving elegy to the agonies of youth.
Inspired by Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, and Browning’s poem, Porpyhria’s Lover, Arquiem was a first-person confessional musing on murder - a story of first love, a murder ballad and a cautionary tale.
The show drew on the story of the eternal marriage between Eros and Thanatos, telling the story of an avenging crowd hunting out a fugitive – a young man who has killed his lover to preserve her protection.
A promenade piece, Arquiem roved through the streets of Newbury, using pulsating live music, stilts, pyrotechnics, and beautifully hand crafted mobile structures.
Hand-held light sources were used as an essential element in the piece, with sudden intense search lights, hand held flares, and full use of night time shadow play. There was medieval imagery, with a large wheeled cart bearing a prisoner, and music with a medieval feel.
At the end of the show, the audience uncomfortably found themselves part of the action, invited to call for the young man to be hung, then bearing witness to his public execution.
This was Periplum’s first outdoor show after a successful track record making indoor theatre, and they’ve gone on from here to become a major name in UK outdoor arts.