Sounding Off. 23 May 2011

After a protracted hiatus from the work of Filter Theatre, having seen their debut Faster a whole 8 years ago at BAC, I went to see their new show last week.


It's a co-production with the RSC, ironically titled Silence, at Hampstead Theatre.

It was good to see their continued exploration into the oft neglected, oft tokenistic use of sound taking seriously clever shape on stage.

Sound is not only a physical entity in Silence, but it is a tangible one. It literally touches you.

On the way home from the theatre I would normally immerse myself in IPod Shuffle and block out the outside world, as far as possible.

But fresh from Filter’s artificial audible realities, I chose to listen to London Underground instead, for a bit. God it’s noisy horrible stuff.

Having said that, I’m not a big fan of silence.

I like to have music playing while I work, while I drive and often while I eat; but it’s often not to everyone’s taste, so it comes and goes.

I wish I could listen to music and read at the same time so I would read books more often, but reading has become something of a discipline since I have to turn the music off to do it.

For me, music is not background noise. No, background noise is something of a bugbear at the moment…

Outside, at the front of our office building, the scaffolding went up about a week ago. Re-rendering, or something.

All I know is that there’s been a hideous banging going on all day for several days now. Relentless, pounding and painful, it’s a bit like trying to meditate to dubstep.

Worryingly though, I think I’m getting used to it.

It’s consistent, it’s industrious and it’s making progress – hell, it’s a bit like me!

So as people return from meetings and I prepare to press pause on shuffle (ooh, there’s drilling now too!) I look forward to the weekend, when I will trade this soundtrack for another (birds, lambs, cows, more birds) .

And there, I can wonder what the middle section of this aural Venn diagram would sound like. Anything but silent.

Clair Chamberlain, Director, The Corner Shop PR 

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