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OMEGA at Edinburgh Festival – video and reviews

OMEGA began its run at the Edinburgh Festival on August 1st 2013.

“OMEGA Only a Russian company (blackSKYwhite) would offer such apocalyptic cabaret pleasures. Dark, unsettling and stunning.”
The List (Top 5 cabarets to catch at the Festival)

Click on image below to view an early preview video clip. Music: Michael Begg, voice: Little Annie Bandez

judith

Review Round Up

“Beautiful and extraordinary physical performance by Marcella Soltan…

“Omega is driven by the three-way powerhouse of soundtrack, lighting design, and physical action. What looks to be burlesque romp dissolves into something far more dangerous.

Omega is a truly total theatre… thrilling, uncomfortable, scary. You will emerge blinking into the daylight shaken and stirred. Be warned.”

Total Theatre

 

“Omega is a very welcome reminder of just how high [the] bar has been set… it is often impossible to believe that human beings can actually move like this. It is also rare to see a production as technically polished… Far more than a show: this is a true theatrical experience.”

TV BOMB

At their best, the Russian bogey-clowns can corkscrew into your brain with impossible images, needling rhythms and enervating repetitions. Their tonal control is exceptional, their physical skill quite astonishing and their grasp of image and illusion world-class.
THE SCOTSMAN 

“This Pandora’s box of bizarre and sinister images takes place at the rather un-cabaret-friendly hour of 2.35pm, and may leave you wondering what exactly it was you consumed for lunch.

“A circus of horrors series of vignettes that vamp up their disturbing qualities to hysterical proportions… the cast demonstrate mesmerising nuance and skill… Flashes of arresting innovation”

Fest Magazine

 

“There are unforgettable moments – the spiders that weave reality, the manic energy of the two chorus girls and the final image of a lurking, sinister entity… A tableau of the Biblical story of Holofernes and Judith is erotic and disturbing.”

The List

 

“Exhilaratingly gripping… a must see… but be warned, even the most intrepid fan of the gothic may find the characters stay with them a little later into the night than they would like.”

EdFest Magazine

We were intoxicated, mesmerized and in awe
THEATRE TRIPPING

Social Media Reviews
“If I could I would live out the rest of my life inside blackskywhite’s Omega” @harliquinade
“Stir fries the brain in a dark and disturbing circus setting. Well worth catching” @FifeFreePress
“Glad we caught the Omega Hoochie Coochie Carnival for the end of time #intoxicating” @theatretripping
“Sit at the front, forget u r in a theatre and lose yourself for an hour. Superb!” @properjobtheatre
“We saw this production at Glastonbury 2013 – if you are anywhere near Edinburgh this month – you must see this show – one of the best things I’ve seen in my life” Youtube comment
“Such a highlight of Glastonbury Festival!! Jaw droppingly good” Michelle Queen, Facebook fan page

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OMEGA:ost

omegaCover

ORDER NOW – http://omnempathy.com/store/omega-ost-ltd-edition.html

REVIEWS

“An absolute WTF of an album that provided the bowel-loosening soundtrack to a disturbing Russian circus at Glastonbury and Edinburgh festival. This one must have destroyed any young conservative on acid who got to close at Pilton”
WAS IST DAS, albums of the year 2013

 

Sound wizard Michael Begg offers breathtaking sound collages… a dazzling, intriguing whole. Even after 10 spins this reviewer had goosebumps on his arms and a cold shiver running up the spine… indicating Begg as a fucking master of his craft. After listening, your perception of music and the apocalypse may never be the same
DARK ENTRIES

Beautiful and extraordinary physical performance by Marcella Soltan

Driven by the three-way powerhouse of soundtrack, lighting design, and physical action, what looks to be burlesque romp dissolves into something far more dangerous. Omega is a truly total theatre… thrilling, uncomfortable, scary.

You will emerge blinking into the daylight shaken and stirred. Be warned.
TOTAL THEATRE

“Omega is a very welcome reminder of just how high [the] bar has been set… it is often impossible to believe that human beings can actually move like this. It is also rare to see a production as technically polished… Far more than a show: this is a true theatrical experience.”
TV BOMB

This Pandora’s box of bizarre and sinister images takes place at the rather un-cabaret-friendly hour of 2.35pm, and may leave you wondering what exactly it was you consumed for lunch.

a circus of horrors series of vignettes that vamp up their disturbing qualities to hysterical proportions… the cast demonstrate mesmerising nuance and skill… Flashes of arresting innovation.
FEST MAGAZINE

There are unforgettable moments – the spiders that weave reality, the manic energy of the two chorus girls and
the final image of a lurking, sinister entity… A tableau of the Biblical story of Holofernes and Judith is erotic and disturbing.
THE LIST

Exhilaratingly gripping… a must see… but be warned, even the most intrepid fan of the gothic may find the characters stay with them a little later into the night than they would like.
EDFEST MAGAZINE

A black, bleak mash-up of turns set to a full-on score by electronic composer Michael Begg. There’s smoke and contortions, a two-headed crooner, a dancing skeleton, and a frenetic nutcase with a feather on his head. Think Tod Browning’s Freaks crossed with David Lynch’s Eraserhead. I bet Madonna will put some of these tricks into her next tour.
JANET STREET-PORTER, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

OMEGA Only a Russian company (blackSKYwhite) would offer such apocalyptic cabaret pleasures. Dark, unsettling and stunning.
THE LIST (TOP 5 CABARETS OF THE FESTIVAL)

At their best, the Russian bogey-clowns can corkscrew into your brain with impossible images, needling rhythms and enervating repetitions. Their tonal control is exceptional, their physical skill quite astonishing and their grasp of image and illusion world-class.
THE SCOTSMAN

We were intoxicated, mesmerized and in awe
THEATRE TRIPPING

I have never seen a show with a more palpable hostility towards its audience… agonizingly loud (half the audience left; the other half cowered with fingers in their ears), grim and grotesque, intentionally obscure to the point of contempt… The production conveys nothing but sheer hatred for its audience.
LITRO

An introduction to the recording by Michael Begg:

OMEGA:ost by Michael Begg | Human Greed is the result of an extraordinary collaboration I have had the pleasure of cultivating with Moscow’s blackSKYwhite Theatre Company. The company first came to my attention in 2000 when they visited Edinburgh with a show called Bertrand’s Toys. It was the darkest, loudest, most terrifying, magical, breathtaking piece of physical theatre I had ever experienced. They quietly picked up Fringe First and Total Theatre awards, and quietly disappeared.

I made an oath to myself there and then that I would work with them.

There then followed 8 years, or so, of elaborate courtship as I tried to ingratiate myself into their orbit. Finally, despite the complications of language and flawed technology I was eventually asked to provide the voices of angels for their performance, E.S.M.

Their Artistic Director, Dimitri Aryupin instructed me: “Begg, I need you to record a whisper. But think of this. You are holding an apple close to your mouth. You are about to bite it. Whisper to the apple. The apple is the Earth. Now to record this please”

And so it went.

In October 2012, Dimitri called up and asked if I would like to be involved in something new. A hoochie coochie freakshow for the end of time. A dusty, road worn carny of hucksters, monsters, apocryphal curiosities and sideshow horrors.

Identifying, uncovering and working up the clay into some semblance of life for this show has become an obsession. The soundtrack evolved with the “probes” of Dimitri and Marchella (Soltan – the peerless performer at the heart of blackSKYwhite) We didn’t know what we were looking for, but could feel it when it was getting close. We tried burlesque, jazz, the electronic erosions for which I am more commonly known – whatever worked, with whatever instruments in whatever condition

OMEGA:ost is the result of this collaboration. Some of the pieces on the recording feature in the current production of OMEGA. Others exist with the show in other times, other dimensions, other realms. This particular compilation contains a set of pieces that work as a whole – though I appreciate that there are shocks in store for those who are already familiar with my output to date. Especially those who acquire the bonus disk, чёрный стриптиз (Black Striptease) which is loosely attributed to Michael Begg’s Black Glass Ensemble. That, I think, will come as a surprise to many!

As well as the increasingly valued friendship and input of Dimitri there are one or two other folks who have helped in this work. Little Annie Bandez provided the voice of Frieda, Laura Sheeran provided some musical saw to introduce the arrival of the all consuming void, and my wife’s mother reads the part of Granny Void. In the bonus disk I became very much indebted to Sukie Smith (Madam) who provides a deeply and darkly sexy vocal to the song, Black Glass Striptease.

Buy Now – http://omnempathy.com/store/omega-ost-ltd-edition.html

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OMEGA:OST announced

omegaCover

The next Omnempathy release will be OMEGA:OST by Michael Begg | Human Greed.

The album contains original material featured in the blackSKYwhite production, OMEGA, directed by the formidable Dimitri Aryupin – and other material handed down through generations of performers associated with this mysterious circus. Formal release will be 31st July (the day that the show begins a 4 week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival) – but subscribers to the Omnempathy mail list and Human Greed Facebook page may receive the disk as soon as June 28th to coincide with the premiere at Glastonbury 2013.

There will be a Ltd edition featuring a second disk of material of which we actually know very little at this point. All we have to hand is that it features songs and jazz rags attributed to “Michael Begg’s Black Glass Ensemble”

 

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blackSKYwhite – OMEGA

2013-omega-big

More news regarding the new show from Moscow’s brilliant blackSKYwhite theatre company.

OMEGA, which features original sound, music and text from Michael Begg, premieres at Glastonbury Festival from June 28th and will run for 4 weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from the end of July. The Edinburgh Shows are hosted by the central – and newly refurbished – festival venue – Assembly Rooms

Tickets are now on sale for the Edinburgh performances. Early booking is highly recommended as blackSKYwhite – Fringe First and Total Theatre Award winners will quickly acquire a lot of attention.

Links…

Book tickets for Edinburgh Fringe shows at Assembly Rooms – http://arfringe.com/Performance/Category/11/1045/Omega

blackSKYwhite.com

blackSKYwhite new english language Twitter feed@bSw_theatre

Blurb:

OMEGA. A hoochie-coochie carnival for the end of time. Out from the sideshow shadows creep an astounding array of mythical freaks,ageless hucksters, and mind-twisting curiosities. Raised from apocryphal texts, warped by black mirrors and prisms. Masters of the macabre spectacle, technical wizards, and true innovators of theatrical sleight-of-hand, Moscow’s blackSKYwhite – Fringe First and Total Theatre winners – return with their boldest, most audacious production to date, realised in the scale that this company deserves. Loud, exhilarating and utterly compelling.

‘The overall effect is poignant, terrifying, exhilarating – leaving audiences gasping, and leaping to their feet to cheer’ Guardian.

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Butoh

Many years ago, when I was still trying to pick up and appropriate formal theatrical disciplines I took part in a Butoh workshop. The experience left me physically and mentally exhausted, but I don’t recall any profound emotional impact. Beyond the confines of the immediate physical activity of participating in the slow, slow, shockingly precise activity I have no impression of being galvanised – which is always what you are aiming for in any such activity.

Yet years after the experience I find myself continually, increasingly, haunted by my introduction to Butoh. The formal discipline is highly attractive, as is the glacial progression of the movement and the very clear psychological journey undertaken by the performers.

This clip of Ikeda Carlotta reminds me as much of the physical payment excised by the engagement with the protocol as it does the ineffable mystery underpinning the discipline.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opaS-W7b6GI

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BlackSkyWhite

I am so seldom excited by what is happening in theatre today. However, I am still kept warm to the thought of what is possible through my memories of Moscow’s BlackSkyWhite performing Bertrand’s Toys in Edinburgh in, I think, ’95 or ’96. (Edit. Thanks Dougie for correcting me – it was in fact 2000)

This was a real eye opener for how very little light, a lot of noise, energy and physical commitment could result in something truly transformative, even in a relatively humble performance space. All this time down the line and I have still seen nothing to compare!

This Youtube clip gives little away of the intensity this small troupe can arouse, but is suggestive