MYTHICAL tales of mermaids and blue fish-men have inspired a mysterious new show by Skimstone, as TAMZIN LEWIS discovers.
YOU can’t help be interested in a performance piece with a title like Fish & The Yesterday Song. Fish don’t need too much explanation, but what about the Yesterday Song?
When film and theatre-maker Claire Webster Saaremets asked a group of elderly people about the yesterday song, one lady answered, “It’s the soul of the sea, it’s the bit we forget about.”
Claire, who is artistic director of Newcastle’s Skimstone, was inspired to make a film based on ideas, memories and stories of people she met at two South Shields care homes. The project then grew fins and gills and has developed into the new performance piece Fish & The Yesterday Song.
It’s a humorous, haunting and magical show which entwines mythical stories of the sea with contemporary environmental disasters like the BP oil spill last April in the Gulf of Mexico.
Claire says: “By listening to the sea we would have learned to work with it, but instead we work against it. We don’t tune in.”
Performance and digital media company Skimstone was commissioned by Helix Arts to work with people aged 70 and over, at a care home and day centre in South Shields from October 2009 to May 2010.
Claire says: “I met the most amazing people who were artists: not just old people who had suffered strokes or dementia.
“One person was a fisherman and the theme of the project came from his stories about fish. I would take fish into the care home and we started exploring themes of the ocean. These people had so much to say about the environment.”
As part of the writing, photography and filmmaking project, Claire arranged for her artists to go to Tynemouth to explore our relationship with the sea.