Isnin, 19 Mei 2014

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Arts & Fashion

H.R. Geiger: Dark side of the mind

Posted: 18 May 2014 08:27 PM PDT

Surrealist artist and set designer HR Giger's chest-bursting monster in the 1979 film Alien gained him worldwide acclaim.

Several elements were vital to the effectiveness of the 1979 horror film Alien, which was essentially an old-fashioned haunted house story relocated to deep space. (Its own director, Ridley Scott, called it "a C-movie done in an A-way".) Chief among them was the visceral and disquieting design work by the Swiss surrealist artist HR Giger, who died on Monday aged 74 from injuries sustained in a fall.

Giger's "biomechanical" style was born out of his experience of night terrors and the art therapy in which he partook to combat this sleeping disorder. It is fair to say that he has been responsible in his own way for disrupting the sleep of others.

"People are either thrilled or terrified by Giger's art," said the Austrian artist Ernst Fuchs. "No one else knows how to depict the most horrific nightmares so stunningly beautifully." The novelist and film-maker Clive Barker observed: "Giger seems to be painting aliens but the closer you look, the more you realise he's painting twisted versions of us."

Alien centred on an intergalactic cargo vessel which touches down on a desolate planet in response to a distress signal. The crew inadvertently picks up a carnivorous life form. It later bursts from the chest of one crew member in the most memorable entrance of any film character since Orson Welles stepped from the shadows in The Third Man. The infant monster is smooth, eyeless and bulbous, both foetal and absurdly phallic, with a row of silver milk-teeth and a lashing, segmented tail.

"It was Francis Bacon's work that gave me the inspiration," said Giger. "(It) would come tearing out of the man's flesh with its gaping mouth, grasping and with an explosion of teeth ... it's pure Bacon."

The alien flees the scene of its birth and is glimpsed at subsequent stages of its accelerated development as it picks off the crew one by one. Still apparently without eyes, it has now grown as tall as a Harlem Globetrotter. Its entire head takes the form of a gleaming, elongated shell that suggests a futuristic crash helmet. Within its vast jaw are rows of teeth emerging like drawers in a filing cabinet. A tendency to drool lends it a lascivious element. All this grotesqueness never quite undermines its allure.

In the final scene, the monster is blasted into space by the only survivor, Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver. Both she and her nemesis returned in three sequels of contrasting flavours: James Cameron's wham-bam Aliens (1986), David Fincher's clammy, intense Alien 3; (1992) and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's comic-book-style Alien Resurrection (1997). Giger's designs were central to each of those sequels, as well as two crossovers with the Predator franchise – Alien vs Predator (2004) and Alien vs Predator: Requiem (2007).

But his involvement was not always harmonious, or even acknowledged. "With the fourth Alien film, they just took my creations, they used my 'chest-burster' and they didn't even give me any credit. It's offensive." He had a happier experience contributing to Scott's own Alien prequel, Prometheus (2012).

Giger was brought on board Alien at the suggestion of its screenwriter, Dan O'Bannon. Both men had been collaborating in the late 1970s with the cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky on an adaptation of Frank Herbert's science-fiction epic Dune, which was never made (though Giger's designs for the abandoned project can be seen in a 2013 documentary called Jodorowsky's Dune). O'Bannon introduced Giger's 1977 book Necronomicon to Scott, who seized in particular upon the painting Necronom IV, and commissioned him to design a creature based on this.

"I was the first one to go see him in Switzerland and persuade him to get on a plane," said Scott. "He wouldn't get on a plane, because he was afraid of flying. And he finally came to Shepperton. Never went into town, stayed over a pub in Shepperton. Very non-Giger, not exotic. He was in a room over a pub and he was happy there."

The artist built a prototype incorporating Rolls-Royce parts, rib bones and reptile vertebrae. His responsibilities expanded also to include the design of a partially fossilised figure (sometimes referred to as the "space jockey") seen when the crew explore the planet, as well as the planet itself (LV-426). Plainly put, his influence permeates Alien. Giger was deservedly part of the team rewarded when the film won the Visual Effects Oscar in 1980.

He was born Hans Rudolf Giger in Chur, Switzerland, which he called "unbearable", characterised by "high mountains (and) bourgeois attitudes". The family home was a place of early terror. He later wrote in Necronomicon of the cellar as "a monstrous labyrinth where all kinds of dangers lay in wait for me" and of "steep and treacherous wooden stairways without banisters (that) led down into the yawning abyss."

Other boys played with toy cars but Giger could usually be seen dragging a skull on wheels behind him; he constructed ghost trains in the garden. His father, Hans, was a chemist who encouraged Giger to study industrial design, which he did along with architecture at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich. His mother, Melly, to whom he was close, was more encouraging of his provocative style of painting, drawing and sculpture. An early muse was the actor Li Tobler, with whom Giger had a tempestuous relationship. Tobler, who killed herself in 1975, was the inspiration for the wan, wilted females in his paintings.

Giger worked predominantly in inks and oils at first. His use of the airbrush soon became integral to his art, bringing a slick smoothness to images which oscillated between the grisly and the sensuous, often accommodating both. He prized the airbrush's "tremendous directness" and said that it enabled him to "project my visions directly onto the pictorial surface, freezing them immediately". But he abandoned it near the end of his career when it was adopted by artists with whom he did not want to be associated: "I could damage my reputation, since much of what they do is pure kitsch. I keep myself apart from that. I see myself as a surrealist."

He gained widespread exposure after being featured on the cover of the 1973 Emerson, Lake and Palmer album Brain Salad Surgery. In the early 1970s, he made several short documentaries about his work. His fame increased following the release of Alien, and he took on occasional and usually unfulfilling work on other films, among them Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), the Alien-influenced Species (1995) and the 1996 German horror-comedy Killer Condom (tagline: "The rubber that rubs you out!"). He also collaborated on several Giger bars, including two in Switzerland, which reproduced his aesthetic in a social setting.

His first marriage ended in divorce in 1982. He is survived by his second wife, Carmen, director of the HR Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland, whom he married in 2006. – Guardian News & Media

Fawlty dinner theatre

Posted: 18 May 2014 09:00 AM PDT

There is a bellyful of laughs to be had as you experience dining at the iconic Fawlty Towers.

IF Fawlty Towers was a real establishment, you'd be barking mad to voluntarily stay or dine there – unless, of course, you actually enjoy being served (and I use the term very loosely) by a misanthropic hotel owner, his shrill wife and their eager but highly incompetent waiter. For any fan of the 1970s BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers, however, the chance to not only revisit the show, but also be in the thick of the action with Basil, Sybil and Manuel, is too good to pass up.

Faulty Towers The Dining Experience by Interactive Theatre International offers just that – the opportunity to become a part of the shenanigans by dining in the "Fawlty Towers" restaurant, where you are served a three-course meal by the trio in typical Fawlty style, with a healthy helping of mayhem! And while John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs may not be on hand to play the roles they made iconic, the cast of this show are so spot-on with their impersonations that it immediately feels like you are in the characters' presence.

Brought in by PJ Live Arts as part of the PJ Laugh Fest, Faulty Towers is a site-specific, fully-immersive and interactive theatre experience, started in Australia in 1997 by Alison Pollard-Mansergh. It has since become an international success that tours the world over, while maintaining a residency in London's West End.

"I love Fawlty Towers, I have a passion for site-specific, interactive comedy, and I know a lot about the hospitality business from owning a restaurant. So the concept of a Fawlty Towers homage jumped out at me," says Pollard-Mansergh, the production's artistic director (she also plays Sybil in some productions).

Unlike a traditional theatre production, however, Faulty Towers comes with its own unique challenges, as the actors are literally performing amidst patrons in a restaurant, and even serving food.

"We perform in the round, so actors must be aware of all the physical angles, as well as sound and sight lines," explains Pollard-Mansergh. "They also need enough physical space to perform the scripted pieces, and the right 'stage wings' to get in and out of the kitchen to serve food. And while doing all this, there's the challenge of convincing the audiences that they're in the original TV series!"

Geoffrey Reczek as Manuel in

Table manners: Geoffrey Reczek as Manuel in Faulty Towers The Dining Experience by Interactive Theatre
International, presented in Malaysia by PJ Live Arts.

Additionally, only one third of the show is actually scripted, as the rest depends on the venue and the audience.

"The actors rehearse intensively with each other for the scripted parts, and we work hard to ensure they know the original TV show backwards! They impersonate the original characters, as played by Cleese, Scales and Sachs, so very well that they can react to any situation as if they were the original characters themselves. Then, for every venue, they work out how the show can be formatted in the space they've been given, and also give a quick training session to the venue staff.

"For the two-thirds of the show that is improvised, the actors draw on their deep knowledge of the sitcom to inform their performances. They must always be ready; audiences delight in becoming guests in the hotel, and love to spring surprises. This means that the entire performance develops naturally, and usually ends up feeling just as anarchic as the original!" says Pollard-Mansergh.

The Fawlty Towers experience begins even before you're seated. Staged here at the Frontera Sol Of Mexico restaurant in Jaya One, guests are greeted by an officious Basil (played by Jordan Edmeades) armed with a guestlist, looking down his nose at those whom he thinks are not up to his standards. After much confusion – thanks to Basil misreading the list and Manuel misunderstanding instructions – we are seated in the restaurant and made party to the most mishap-filled meal of our lives. From Manuel crawling under tables to Basil goose-stepping across the restaurant yelling "Heil, mein Fuhrer!" to Sybil whacking Basil on the head with a tray, it is one riotous joke after another.

Where the show lacks a little is in its plot. While the original TV episodes each naturally had a central plot, Faulty Towers The Dining Experience is more a series of gags, albeit side-slittingly funny ones. With no central narrative holding the show together, it sometimes feels insubstantial. The cast, however, almost makes up for this with its brilliant performance.

Jordan Edmeades stars as Basil in the whacky comedy 'Faulty Towers The Dining Experience.'

Jordan Edmeades stars as Basil, the man to handle the guestlist and maintain standards .

Edmeades, with his imposing height and put-upon expressions, is a dead ringer for a young Cleese, and his exchanges with Manuel (Geoffrey Reczek) are a pure delight. Karen Hamilton, meanwhile, gets Sybil's simpering smile and bossy manner down pat, including that classic, high-pitched "Baaasil!" that stops him in his tracks. And as the hapless Manuel, Reczek brings the perfect combination of physical comedy and hilarious word-play. Particularly impressive are their improvisational skills, with each of them making conversation or reacting to the audience perfectly in character.

Thanks to them, Fawlty Towers fans are able to bask in the nostalgic pleasure of dining with these delightful – though not always likeable – characters. Just don't mention the war!

> Faulty Towers The Dining Experience will be playing at PJ Live Arts (PJLA), Jaya One, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, till June 1. Dinner performances begin at 8pm daily (no shows on Tuesdays) while matinee performances (only Saturdays and Sundays) begin at 1pm. Tickets are priced at RM165 and RM185, with discounts available for groups of six. For tickets, call 03-7960 0439 or 017-228 9849, email, or go to For more information, go to


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved