Upon walking into Kneehigh Theatre’s Asylum space, set up for this summer on Carlyon Bay in St. Austell, I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Nature of Why. In keeping with the enigmatic title of the performance, I had not been able to glean much beforehand.
Conductor Charles Hazlewood’s opening words gave audience members limited insight into what we were about to witness, but invited us to get curious about the show in which we were suddenly immersed.
‘Have you ever wondered what a bass clarinet smells like as it’s being played?’
At the heart of this immersive experience lies an understated sense of spectacle. I found myself utterly fascinated by the ability to experience the performance in close proximity, and yet there was so much happening at the same time. I wanted to examine it from every angle at once, but the limitations of time and space wouldn’t allow me.
It seems that The Nature of Why is a metaphor for life – appreciate as much as you can, and don’t worry about the things that pass you by. I have attended a number of musical performances, although admittedly few classical concerts, and I was absolutely blown away by the union between musicians and instruments.
Members of The British Paraorchestra all have some form of disability or impairment, and The Nature of Why is certainly one of their most ambitious projects to date. Witnessing the performance was a privilege, which opened my eyes anew to the creative possibilities all around us.
The Nature of Why is in itself a celebration of the most important question we ask as human beings. Often, it’s the first question we ask…and the show just goes to demonstrate that as long as we never stop asking why, life never gets boring.