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The Pentamerone (working title), by Tim Ralphs

We've been working with Tim Ralphs to develop a performance of the fabulous material of The Pentamerone...


We wanted to work with Tim Ralphs because of his unique style and approach to composition
Il Pentamerone is an Italian collection of folk-tales first published at Naples, and in a Neapolitan dialect by Giambattista Basile, Conte di Torrone in the 1600s. It was originally entitled Lo Cunti de li Cunto (The Story of Stories, 1634). The frame story is a fairy tale in which multiple other stories are told. The result is a collection of fabulous tales which offer rich imagery and repeating motifs.

Tim started to work on the material alone, undertaking a major project to find a way of working on a source text which comprises some 50 stories to create a single performance. Tim recorded some of his early work in his weblog

Our approach was one of ‘hot-housing’. Following a scartch performance for an invited audience, we teamed Tim up with director and trainer Ben Haggarty for two blocks of intensive training and guidance using Tim’s composition of the material as a starting point. Our focus was on physicality and movement – areas of development which we and Tim agreed he should work on. In actual fact, the need for compositional revisions running in parallel with the development of physical performance soon became apparent

We were interested to see how directional input into a piece after it had been worked up in terms of composition could affect the resultant work. The result has been some fabulous skills development, and also considerable reworking of the entire piece.