Thursday, August 16, 2012

5 star review

We are delighted with this review of the show, published by A Younger Theatre, written by Katherine Wootton. (
The title Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice in all its kooky glory may have you envisioning barmy Mighty Boosh-style spectacles of all things random, off-the-wall and altogether rather trippy. And to be honest, you would be partly right. Aliens waltzing with grannies, the discovery of a teapot on a space exploration and a starring role for the humble rice grain are all part and parcel of this innovative thingamajig of theatre that I am unsure whether to call a play, comedy, moving picture, experiment or something else altogether. Yet, beyond this wacky exterior, Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice is a touching and ingeniously clever portrait of the complexities and collapse of time, memory and space. A triptych of three separate stories that neatly morph together the scientific and the artistic, Dancing Brick show us that in Captain Ko this is the world, life and time – but not as we know it. In the first chapter, Captain Ko and Admiral Al Stark in their powder blue space suits enact what must surely be the dream vision of any 1970s Star Wars zealot kid who even today harbours a secret obsession with aliens and space rockets. The gaudy cinematic future then seamlessly gives way to the nostalgically dusty past as Valentina Ceschi begins the second silent story. In an entrancing twenty minute mime, an elderly woman brews a cup of tea to pass the day in an act that quickly becomes ritual. Acquiring greater weirdness and confusion as the pots and plates stack up in this tea-drinking Endgame, this was a genuinely moving scene that explored the repetition, trappings and dream-like distance of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This lapse of time then melts into the final part of the triptych, where cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (played by Thomas Eccleshare) experiences the surreal nature of what we call our own time and place when he returns from a space expedition to find the Soviet regime has collapsed. Merging the political with the intangibly temporal, this is perhaps the most dramatic and understandable of the three stories, the others of which can sometimes move towards an almost Joyceian level of confusion and misunderstanding. Yet Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice, while understandably alienating to some, is nonetheless a poetic and beautiful work that taps into one of the most sensitive and unpredictable of human faculties – time and memory – in a way that is challenging, unusual and wonderfully inspiring. This is a pioneering work for our age that is a real privilege to witness.

Show discussion with CCACE

Yesterday, we co-hosted an event at the Hunt and Darton Cafe in Edinburgh to talk about Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice. Organised in collaboration with the The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, it was an open event and many members of the scientific community as well as artists and art industry people attended. The discussion was hosted by Professor Sergio della Sala, and Jess Smith from Alzheimer's Society and Jenny Paton from the Wellcome Trust were our guests speakers. There were interesting reflections on the show, the treatment of time within the show, the research involved and imagery we use in the show, as well as heated discussion about art and science and funding artists to research science to create art that will engage the public in science on some level. We'd like to thank Robin Morton for organising the event, Jenny and Jess for contributing, Prof Della Sala for hosting it so expertly and everyone who attended and contributed to the debate. A special thanks goes to the Hunt and Darton Cafe for allowing us to run it in their venue, which we urge you to check out whilst at the Festival.

Friday, August 3, 2012

opening night!

What a great night last night. We opened the show to a full house and had an overwhelming response from our audience. Thank you to all who came last night. You helped us get through a very technically challenging show, and soothed our first night jitters.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2012

We've arrived in Edinburgh and the city is a bustle with excitement for the opening of the Fringe. After a reasonably straightforward get in thanks to team members Joanna Palmer and Alice Carter and the helpful technical staff at our venue, the Underbelly, we are making the final preparations for the first preview of the show tomorrow. To book tickets your options are: Underbelly website or Call 0844 545 8282 (9am - 8pm, 7 days a week) Alternatively you can book on Here are some production photos to whet your appetite!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Captain Ko, spotted in a north london park, at dusk...

Latest news

Over the past two weeks we've been working on each section, really trying to nail what it is that each section carries in relation to the piece as a whole. Our associate dramaturg Lu Kemp joined to help us with this. We attempted our first ever stagger-through for Lu, after which she said "it's a lot less obscure than I thought it would be". Joking aside, we were very happy to hear that. On a closer inspection of each piece a few challenges emerged, namely Captain Ko's emotional and physical journey through Part 1 and the development of her dependency on Stark; the actual need for a mask in Part 2 (something which we'd been increasingly doubting, the more Valentina rehearsed without the mask) and the crux of the matter in Part 3, more specifically what is it that actually happens to Krikalev and why is this important? All these questions are now going to be driving the re-writes and tweaks, but on the whole we are really pleased with where we've got to with the piece. We have had to shed many aspects, moments, images we have grown to love over the past year or so, in the name of clarity and simplicity and giving space for the audience, as always, to make their own connections. Our next big job is to nail down all the designs for July when we revisit the piece in its multi-disciplinary form. We are looking forward to seeing it all come together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

And here is a mock up of a few of these faces, done in a very short time just using bit of scrunched up old newspaper...

May rehearsals / dramaturgy

Our mask maker Vic came up to work with us on Part Two. Vic is the extremely talented young lady behind the beautiful masks of Theatre Ad Infinitum's award-winning Translunar Paradise. But after the last few days we've come to the conclusion that we want something different for our Dawn in Captain Ko. Something in fact along the lines of the beautifully drawn people in Paco Roca's Arrugas, which we've mentioned many times before in our research.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

something quite mesmerising that Susanne found a while ago...

an image by Nicola Price for our Fringe Guide entry

"The brain is wider than the sky,
For put them side by side,
The one the other will include,
With ease, and you, beside.
The brain is deeper than the sea,
For, hold them, blue to blue,
The one the other will absorb,
As sponges, buckets, do."

Emily Dickinson.

Song Dong's Waste Not at Barbican

Walking through these 10,000 household objects yesterday made us think of what might be buried in the rice...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Sergio kindly lent us this beautiful depiction of Alzheimer's and old age. Arrugas, by Paco Roca (now also an animated film since 2011). We think this could be a perfect inspiration for the face of Dawn.

Nicola's sketch for possible image for the show.
We are happy to welcome three new members to our Captain Ko team.
Vic Beaton is going to be working on creating a mask for Part Two: Dawn.
Kate Lane is our costume designer.
And Nicola Price is designing our publicity material and collateral.

Watch this space for regular updates on their work with us.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We are delighted to announce that we received confirmation of our Escalator East to Edinburgh funding from the Arts Council this week. This means all steam ahead for bringing Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice to Edinburgh this summer.

Watch this space for more information about the talks that will run alongside the show during the festival.

Now onto finalising dramaturgy, design, lighting and all technical matters with our excellent team!