Geometry of Miracles
At the secc, Glasgow, from 30 March-3 April and at the National Theatre, London, from 14-24 April
It ought to be a good thing, one feels, that the Glasgow 1999 team has made it part of the festival to show how architecture and design have influenced and are affected by other disciplines, writes Johnny Rodger. Hence the 'Winning by Design' exhibition about the sports industry, and now Geometry of Miracles, staged by French- Canadian director Robert Lepage and based on 30 years in the life of Frank Lloyd Wright.
It would be kind to say that what Lepage has done here is to hold an artistic mirror up to the crisis in twentieth-century architecture (ie the tension between programme and type) and let us see it in theatrical form. One might also say, continuing in this courteous vein, that the flashbacks and non-linear narrative techniques employed here on stage could operate as the theatrical equivalent of the interpenetrative spaces found in Wright's Prairie Houses.
Ultimately, however, nothing in the show bears any close scrutiny, and when it comes to tap-dancing to a Bach concerto, some of us draw the line at this interdisciplinary game. But it's not a matter of a generation gap, for here we have a show about Wright which treats us to a five-minute finale of the whole cast dancing - Saturday Night Fever-style - to Last Night a dj Saved My Life. Nor was it a joke!
Those who know nothing about the architectural profession will come away from this show mystified; even those of us who know a little were bewildered. The pity is that it doesn't seem to complement, or give us a better understanding of, the Wright exhibition currently at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery (aj 18.3.99). Perhaps it's just a work-in-progress - who knows? - but for the moment it is badly written, badly directed and badly performed.
Johnny Rodger is a writer in Glasgow