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Like a Musical - Spilt Coffee
Reuben Henry & Karin Kihlberg

The artists worked together with a composer, choreographer, a choir and a group of actors to formulate a musical, which responded to specific locations in the city of Birmingham in England. Part one, Spilt Coffee, is responding to Brindley Place a new area in the city with offices, clubs, cafes, restaurants and galleries. The area is neighboring Ladywood, which has been listed as on of England’s poorest area with the highest unemployment rate in the country. Part 2, The Girl who doesn’t Fit is situated in a newly build high-end shopping mall in Birmingham which is neighboring Digbeth an industrial area in decline. Using the musical as a format the artists wanted to investigate the imagined space of the new developments with the reality of people who lived next to them.

The musical genre often creates a fantasy world into which disenfranchised characters enter a fantasy world or express the inequalities from which they suffer, like the characters in Oliver Twist or Hair. Like A Musical uses this same premise to site individuals from poor inner city neighborhoods in the context of new high-status developments, which mark a new local area in which they don’t belong according to the intended use of the developments.

The characters which were created for the musical move through out the city performing in a passionate and exaggerated way as they take over the space with dancing and singing. But the spectacle is lacking without the effects of the cinematic frame and orchestra. The video functions as a document to the performance combining footage from the rehearsals with hidden camera footage from the performance, which was only performed once without any announcement to the public.

Like a Musical was commissioned by Fierce International Performance Festival and presented with Ikon Gallery.

Keywords Music, Dance , Performance
Aspect ratio 1.33:1 (4:3)
Prod. format Generic SD-video
Duration 00:04:23
Language English
Color Color
Year 2005
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About the artists