2018 House Programs Re-Member Me - Page 5

Dickie Beau has been making lip sync performances for the last decade. Far from a merely superficial form of mimicry, Beau has found it taps some of the oldest energies in art-making. “Over the years I’ve developed quite an involved artistic rationale and a philosophical orientation that links lip syncing to the Greek theatre, and actually traces a lineage right back to the origins of all human image- making.” “As a form, it innately creates the presence of an absence and so it is most apt for use in the theatre, which is an inherently haunted space.” Beau’s performances aren’t impressions or impersonations. “I only try to imagine the sound of the voice in question travelling through the organism that is my body, and let my body make whatever shapes feel appropriate to that image. I don’t really work on any visual mimicry from the outside-in. The idea is ‘re-memberment’—putting a voice back together through my body.” Beau didn’t always covet theatre’s most vaunted role: “I can’t say I was really interested in playing Hamlet until I got to the point where I realised no one had asked me, and I was probably too old. Then, I got interested.” A fellow performer suggested Beau develop an epic lip sync channelling all of the great Hamlets since sound recording came into being—Gielgud, Olivier, Burton. Several residencies at the National Theatre New Works Department followed, in which Beau delved into the archive, digging up old stage management reports, reading notes, sifting through rehearsal photographs. “Auditioning” a large number of recorded Hamlet performances, Beau’s favourite remains John Gielgud, which gave the impression the late performer “was a gorgeous human being.” Then, as the research went on, Beau