5 performances

ImMortal - the third Stepping Stone

The third final phase of the “Stepping Stones” trilogy took place in August 2002 and was the first Nofit State show to be performed in the new silver tent which was pitched in the grounds of Cardiff Castle. The theme was the future and we chose to explore the many ways in which people seek immortality: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work…I want to achieve it through not dying.” Woody Allen

The challenge now was to adapt the immersive, multi-sensory, promenade style of work developed through the two warehouse shows into the very differently proportioned circus big top and continue to refine and develop our new language of circus theatre. We were particularly interested to explore the role of text and voice, as part of the ensemble, as well as for individual performers; to raise the level of circus skill; and to bring elements of the environment and art installation design into the narrative of the show.

The creative development process, now refined over 5 years, and involving a network of existing and new community performance groups working alongside a core professional, took place over 3 months. Together, we explored many different ideas: immortality of the soul, the body, the brain, name/reputation as well as immortality through propagation of the species or through acts or deeds. The smaller space of the tent forced us to consider the design of the physical environment, set and structures in a more economic and integrated way and the multi-layered performance language, weaving together drama, circus, dance, video and music, needed to be condensed and refined to create a coherent theatrical experience for the audience.

ImMortal became the story of a young clown’s quest for immortality. Seduced by the idea of living forever, he journeys through different possibilities in search of his impossible goal. His quest narrated by a Greek style chorus, culminated in a spectacular projection onto water spray: the illusion of immortality beckoned and the clown followed.

The Stepping Stones journey was complete. Enabled by lottery funding for the arts in Wales, Stepping Stones enabled us to explore and develop a new form for our work, an immersive, multi-sensory promenade experience for audiences, to tour in our beautiful new tent. Through this process, we met and collaborated with a mind-blowing range of individuals and groups and took inspiration from diverse skills, cultural forms and technologies. Many of the people we met continue to work with us today; a new era of Nofit State began.

http://www.theatre-wales.co.uk/plays/review_archive.asp?playname=ImMorta... Reviews on Theatre Wales .

Cooper's Field Cardiff


It’s lucky that No Fit State at last have their own venue – the spectacular silver and pink flying-saucer tent – as it means they can start and end shows as when they please without incurring hefty fines! Immortal begins with an epic, largely uneventful pre-show, allowing the audience to wander freely around the space (defined by a series of raised rakes just inside the marquee perimeter) and explore clandestine installations. Occasional, delicious moments punctuate the period, such as being offered some knocked off immortality from the coat lining of a dodgy geezer-gal, or being passed by a pair of pseudo-gurus in white robes, dinging counter-bells balanced upon their heads.

The show itself explores the notion of immortality through a young lad’s experiences in a strange world, of the experiments of a bonkers-mad scientist, first attempting to give a lab-rat (the only animal in sight) eternal life; a neurotic group of slightly 1950s looking keep-fitters, led by a woman on an obsessive quest to retain a youthful image who eventually clones herself; another neurotic woman, this time a wannabe starlet desperate for her image to live on in pop and more abstract characters representing life and death.

Ian Devereux made a fantastic entrance as always with his regal elegance and powerful stage presence, in a fantastic silvery cloak, skirts and bodice, clutching a closed fan, opening it in one movement to deposit glitter into the ether. The accompanying music at this point was mellow, moving and uplifting, with the occasional moment of delicious feedback.

The band comprised an accordionist, flautist amongst more common instruments, but they occasionally obscured the vocals of performers when singing solo, except for the quite amazing dead singer playing Death. Her voice was affected by sensitive use of delay and echo, not that she needed enhancement, but it added a touch of otherness.

The non-linear narrative style of ‘Immortal’ lends itself well to the inclusion of various community groups, playing out their interpretation of the theme through hip-hop dancing and rap for example. Although some of these scenes seemed a little disparate from the main body of the show at times, it is good that the audience of ‘Immortal’ is challenged to think and make its own connections between the many images they see, as circus is traditionally such an obvious medium. Dance troupe Neutrino’s contribution involved interaction between performer and costume, some pulling and stretching the elastic strings wrapped around and attached to the punk-ballerina-leotard-suits of others, making brilliant would-be publicity shots for the future!

One of the sexiest things about ‘Immortal’, or almost any circus show, is the Aerial performance element – blokes on ropes is always a hit, and the topless technicians covered in glitter deserve a mention for sure. The fire-swinging scene was pretty spectacular, as the audience was completely surrounded by a myriad of performers each moving with their own individualistic style and speed. There was also some brilliant video work slickly projected on oval screens with quality equipment, depicting binary code flickering against brain and baby imagery, the cloning scene and a hilarious, pre-recorded nudey streak-chase through the park following the climactic and dynamic ‘Suicide Game’ (lots of tumbles and bungee dives); it was just such a disappointment when the cast re-turned to stage wearing their pants.

(The least sexy part of the show was the over-repetitive clockwork choreography danced by the chorus towards the end, as every performer there has the potential to do more unfulfilled by the over-use of this particular routine).

Ultimately we were showed the suffering of the characters on a mission to become immortal, and the final succumbing of life to death was portrayed with a lot more beauty, and a lot less pain than we imagine or expect for ourselves and our dearly departed."

reviewer: Zoe Hewett


Orit Azaz (16 mins)
Sarah Smith(10 mins)
Barnz Munn Part 1 (16 mins)
Barnz Munn
Barnz Munn

Describes the long journey from Space Boy days, his first x with Shaena, and all the shows leading to Pirates of the Carabina

Rhian Halford (10 mins)
Rhian Halford

Talks about the trainee scheme on ImMortal in 2004 and being 'Maggie' her character in the show.

Rhi Matthews Part 1 (20.28 mins)
Rhi Matthews
Rhi Matthews

From Royal Welsh college of music and drama to wardrobe wonder woman.