The Show - description, sounds and images

*** This page was made as part of the Glorious Presenters' Pack 2011 ***

Glorious images from preview and premiere
Black & White images - photos by Oliver Dalby from Glorious at Nottdance Festival, Nottingham
Colour images - photos by Pari Naderi from Glorious at SPILL Festival, Barbican, London


Glorious is a musical in three acts. Each act revisits the same material, building to a climax and then slowly fading away. The show is about what it means to live in a place, and what it means to gather in a theatre.

In Act One, the stage is stark and empty except for the central figure of Rajni, who wears a simple column-like dress. She sings six songs, accompanied by piano (played by Suzie Shrubb, usually in the orchestra pit) - and six local residents, who begin seated at the side of the auditorium, come up in turn and speak a short monologue between each song. The Act ends with the performers re-entering to place a bunch of flowers at the front of the stage, and taking a bow.

Curtains half-close for a visible reset during the interval.

Act Two celebrates the coming together of people. Local musicians join all other performers on stage, and sculpted costume elements are added to the central performer to create the image of a body in a landscape. The same songs are sung again, but now to new arrangements created and played by the musicians; and musical underscoring also accompanies the six speakers, who revisit and/or expand on the texts we've already heard them speak. At the end of the act, everyone sings, and the costume is rotated.

Curtains half-close for a visible reset during the interval.

Act Three has a much more elegiac tone. The costume elements remain in place, but have gathered an extra layer - a semi-opaque glistening sheath that spreads out across the stage. Each performer only speaks one line of his/her monologue - a kernel of a story - and then leaves the stage. The songs are played in simple arrangements and in a minor key - and after each song some of the musicians leave the stage. At the end of the act, Rajni leaves the stage - leaving behind flowers, microphones, chairs, and the landscape of the costume.

The show ends with the cycle of songs beginning again, this time played on stage on a Nagra reel-to-reel. Members of the company collect the flowers, and hand them out to the audience, inviting them to exit in their own time via the stage.

(video footage shot and edited by SPILL TV, April 2011)

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