Lebanon Daily Star: best of 2012
14th January 2013
Hotel Methuselah is a contemporary ghost story that explores our fears around mortality, sexuality and the terrifying sense of responsibility that comes with having children. In a stunning homage to post-war British cinema and the French new wave, imitating the dog create a unique and disturbingly immersive experience for the audience. Telling the story of night porter Harry’s search to uncover the forgotten truth of his past, Hotel Methuselah is a searing tale of the destructive power of love and the hell of personal disintegration. Fusing spectacular live action and video projection, this is stylish, cutting edge visual performance that places narrative, emotion and wit at its core.
Harry works as a night porter in a hotel in a city somewhere in Europe that’s in the throes of war. Despite the distant sounds of gunfire and shelling, he likes the calm and loneliness of his work. He’s thankful that all he has to do is book the guests in and show them to their rooms. But Harry has a problem and it’s one he’s desperately trying to solve. He can’t remember how he got to the hotel, or what he did before. He’s not even sure Harry’s his real name.
The action is viewed through a six metre letterbox-shaped gap, like cinema wide-screen, which only reveals the performers’ bodies from knee to neck. A film is projected immediately behind the acting space, which the performers mirror with perfect timing. Working alongside Laura Hopkins’ exquisitely designed interiors and costumes, Rodrigo Velasquez’s digital cinematography creates Harry’s amnesiac existence in astonishing detail. The film shows beautifully lit and composed close-ups of the characters’ faces as well as scenes of the hotel’s interior. As the walls and floors begin to move and perspectives shift, when the worlds of the stage and the screen are seen to pull apart, the disorientating psychic and physical experience of Harry’s collapse is memorably brought to life.
Hotel Methuselah has toured extensively around the UK and Europe, is to be published in the UK by Methuen and has so far been translated into six languages. The piece was supported by Arts Council England, Lancaster University, University of the Arts London, The Gallery and Studio Theatre Leeds, Cochrane Theatre and Nuffield Theatre.
“…unlike any other piece of theatre you’re likely to have experienced before…intriguing, a successful narrative experiment and a piece of art in its own right.”
“Hotel Methuselah draws on a wealth of references to post-war British cinema, the French new wave and the pleasures of black and white film, alongside some extremely elegant visual theatre. The result is a beautifully realised meditation on desire and loss, existing in the gap between the lived moment and the captured image.”