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The Myth of the Singular Moment at the Vault Festival

The Myth of the Singular Moment
The Myth of the Singular Moment

There’s probably nothing that quite compares to a live music experience, which is essentially what The Myth of the Singular Moment is. It had, for me, the right combination of music, lyrical content and spoken word, especially for a show in which events are more often than not described rather than dramatized. I have no complaints about a show that tells it like it is – although this one does more than that. By simply mentioning the concept of the ‘multiverse’, the production imposes, albeit in a distinctly non-confrontational manner, infinite possibilities and perspectives on a chain of events involving (as far as I could deduce), a young man, a young woman, a ‘stranger’ that strikes up a lengthy conversation with the young man, and – wait for it – a photon.

You may be able to make better sense of what a photon even is than I could: the show tells the audience what the photon does and how it behaves, but not what it is – “the quantum of the electromagnetic field including electromagnetic radiation”, as one online definition put it, left me none the wiser. There are some major life decisions that both the main human characters face, and their options, a simple binary choice at face value, are thought through very carefully.

There’s nothing in the way of staging (well, okay, there’s lighting and sound equipment), and only the occasional prop. Instead the production relies on a combination of storytelling and music-making. Some of the music, however, has a lullaby-like sound to it (at least to my ears), which wasn’t ideally conducive in terms of paying attention to an already subtly told narrative. Jim Harbourne and Kirsty Eila McIntyre seamlessly change between song and spoken word, playing various instruments as the show progresses. Less is more, at least as far as this production goes, which wouldn’t quite have the same emotional impact and connection if it were to have all the trimmings.

An emphasis on happy endings suggests that all’s well that ends well, but again, much is left open to interpretation. It’s the end of the show, and therefore the end of the story, but is it? What then happens to these people? After all, they are still young enough to have a considerable number of years left to live. That is, partly, what the show itself is about – encouraging the audience to think, as much or as little as it would like, about the situations the characters find themselves in.

While the narrative goes from character to character, and back again, the show is not made unnecessarily complicated as a result, if only because there are so few (main) characters in the first place. There’s a certain level of interest that is maintained by pausing one story at a cliff-hanger and then switching to another one. The ‘singular moment’ of the show’s title is easily identifiable. Both Harbourne and McIntyre have wonderful singing voices, and their considerable musicianship skills are given ample opportunity to shine. Some critical experiences in life are as uncomfortable as they are here, and some of the topics raised are very pertinent to society today, but the production is also very affirmative: hope springs eternal and all that. A highly engaging and thoughtful show.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

With every choice we create a new universe.
I make it, I don’t make it, I make it, I don’t.

Two musician-performers take us on a fantastical journey that links four characters in interconnecting tales across the multiverse, in a story that explores an existential conundrum of belief. Somewhere out there, has another version of you followed a better path?

The Myth of the Singular Moment is all about the choices we make and those we don’t, the brief moments where multiple realities and futures coincide and then separate.

Profound and personal, the piece combines the stomp and beauty of contemporary folk and electronica to create an enthralling live soundtrack, evoking a story that straddles fantasy and reality.

Your future is in an envelope; would you open it?

Created by award-winning writer and musician Jim Harbourne
WINNER OF THE SUMMERHALL AWARD 2019
SHORLIST NOMINEE SCOTTISH ARTS CLUB AWARD 2018

Performers: Jim Harbourne & Kirsty Eila McIntyre
Writer & Composer: Jim Harbourne
Director: Ross MacKay
Puppet Costume Design: Elspeth Chapman
Producers: Tortoise in a Nutshell LTD
https://vaultfestival.com

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