Neil Hannon collaboration In May set for 2014 Behaviour theatre festival

Poignant meditation on coping with cancer with Frank Alva Buecheler, Matt Fenton, Ligeti Quartet and Imitating The Dog

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Neil Hannon collaboration In May set for 2014 Behaviour theatre festival

The Arches' Behaviour festival has become one of Scotland's most important celebrations of diverse and challenging performance. Driven by a commitment to multimedia collaborations, it is the natural place for the Scottish premiere of a work that connects three artists who are already well-known for their work in music and experimental theatre.

Neil Hannon is not an easy artist to pigeonhole – or second guess. From his pithy, cinematic pop with the Divine Comedy, to working with Ute Lemper and Jane Birkin, he has straddled many genres. Now he has embarked on possibly his most ambitious collaboration yet: In May, a meditation on coping with cancer, in the form of letters from a son to a dying father. Teaming up with German theatre maker / actor Frank Alva Buecheler and Manchester-based director Matt Fenton, and featuring the Ligeti Quartet and visually ravishing projections by Imitating The Dog, it promises to be a moving and often humorous piece, blurring concert and theatrical performance.

Inspired by Beucheler’s friendship with a terminally ill friend, his original text, translated for the stage by Tim Clarke, explores our relationship with the disease. Having decided that an operatic form would be the most appropriate means of expressing the intensity of his text, Beucheler initiated the process of collaboration through his translator Clarke.

With cancer the cause of one in four deaths in the UK, In May should prove a timely and poignant addition to the Behaviour programme, connecting both its presentation of original theatre and active engagement with contemporary issues.

Tramway, Glasgow, Sun 16 Mar.

In May

Presented as a series of letters from a son to a father, each set to music composed by Neil Hannon and performed by a live string ensemble, In May charts the final months of a man in the advance stages of cancer who has isolated himself from his loved ones.

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