Opera North Blog

Online reaction to Katie Mitchell’s Five Truths in the Howard Assembly Room


Katie Mitchell’s immersive video installation Five Truths is open at the Howard Assembly Room until Saturday, presenting five interpretations of Shakespeare’s Ophelia in the style of five of the most important directors of the 20th century: Stanislavski, Artaud, Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook. Here's a round up of visitor reactions to the installation online:


“At different moments, different Ophelias grab your attention. It’s fascinating: the same actress, following the same script, but creating a vastly different experience.

“The most believable to me was Grotowski’s; a broken, grieving woman huddled under a table, whose words are little more than guttural cries. The Brechtian interpretation, though, was arresting; she stared coolly into the camera, and sang her sorrow in a creepily catchy ditty that I found myself humming whilst doing the washing up later.”

Read more at http://cultureleeds.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/five-truths-at-the-howard-assembly-rooms/

Phil Kirby, via The Culture Vulture:

“Individually the films were an absolute joy to watch (sorry, I’ve seen so many video installations that positively reek of student bed sits. This wasn’t one.) Collectively the cumulative effect was stunning. I was genuinely amazed that the same few props and couple of hundred words could be imagined so differently. Ophelia was incredible, appearing on one screen a wailing, jabbering wreck and on another calm and almost casual, with everything from animated lunacy to catatonia in between. Disconcerting to watch but incredibly compelling.”

Read more of Phil’s blog here: http://theculturevulture.co.uk/blog/reviews/five-truths-at-the-howard-assembly-room/

The City I See:

“The ten-minute clips were played on loop, timed so that they all began and finished in unison. There were two ways of viewing them: you either attempt to watch them all together, or you focus on one pair at a time. I tried the former, but settled for the latter after realising that I couldn’t keep up with all of them simultaneously. The technique I chose, however, had its own problems. Picture this: you’re watching a calm Ophelia silently examine a bunch of wilted flowers, when suddenly a hysterical Ophelia starts screaming from another wall, and then yet another Ophelia bursts into song in a ridiculously matter-of-fact way. How do you stay focused? The short answer is that you can’t – but I don’t think you are indeed supposed to.”

Read more at: http://thecityisee.com/2012/02/15/five-truths-review-leeds/

Five Truths is at the Howard Assembly Room until Saturday 25 February. The installation is free to the public and is open between 2.00pm and 8pm daily.

Let us know what you think below or join the conversation on Twitter. Tweet us at @Howard_Assembly #FiveTruths

Photo credit: Tom Arber Photography

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