Fragments & Monuments , based in London, began as a collaboration (since 1996) between myself and Dutch scenographer Madelon Schwirtz, producing a trilogy of site-based productions in our first four years.
Now, with a new creative team Fragments & Monuments is producing it’s largest scale multi-media, site-based production to date. The team is gathered from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, from New York’s Fringe theatre scene and from long term collaborators of Fragments & Monuments . They are all poised to bring Mary Wollstonecraft back to Newington Green, London U.K.
Mary Wollstonecraft was invited by Fragments & Monuments to Di’s Midsummer Night Party (2000) a millennium extravaganza set in a 19 th century house where she met a host of celebrities and marvelled at the development of the photograph, something she had never seen as an 18 th century woman. Filmed during its live performance, Di’s Midsummer Night Party was projected onto the front of Clissold House, Stoke Newington, London, U.K. one year later.
Returning to my roots as a director (award winner Royal Court Theatre, London, U.K.) specialising in new writing for the theatre, I commissioned Kaethe Fine in September 2004 to write Wollstonecraft Live! for Fragments & Monuments.
Mary Wollstonecraft lived and worked in the same community as I have lived in for over twenty years and she has become an inspiring historical figure for me. Mary’s writing and life style resonate strongly with contemporary concerns for human rights and liberty.
Kaethe brought her experience of performing, film making and script writing to bear on the theatrical concerns that Fragments & Monuments is known for. These are transhistorical character, interactivity and inside and outside, exterior/ interior use of space.
Fragments & Monuments , A short history:
Dogs Are Alone Too and They Live! (1996): Devised from an idea by Madelon Schwirtz
Lovely Stones (1998): By Janet Goddard
Di’s Midsummer Night Party (2000) : Devised from an idea by Anna Birch
By developing a combination of live performance, installation and digital technologies, the company investigates the interface between live and mediated performance, audience and performer, location and history.
The trilogy has three main themes:
The reappearance of Adela, the youngest daughter of Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba, by Federico Garcia Lorca), Miss Julie (Miss Julie, by August Strindberg), Princess Diana and Mary Wollstonecraft. The destiny of these women is deconstructed and rewritten. Now, Mary Wollstonecraft reappears embodied by three very different female performers in Wollstonecraft Live!
The audience interacts as passengers, hotel guests or party guests, becoming part of the action as they sit on the train, take the bus or walk to the midsummer party. In Wollstonecraft Live! the audiencetake on therole as extras in the Hollywood biopic of Wollstonecraft’s life.
Interior and exterior
The interior and exterior of the performance space are explored as a central expression of gender relations. In this trilogy windows are seen from both the inside and the outside and doors are disregarded or used in a surprising way. In the outdoor screening of Di’s Midsummer Night Party, we back-projected the film from the front of Clissold House in an attempt to merge our 21 st-century experience of the house with its history. By working in a site-based location, Fragments & Monuments opens the door of our work to the public.