How would Samuel Pepys respond to seeing the details of his life and diary displayed in public for all to see? Robbie Jacobs from The Reverie Choir has been looking for the answer.
On Saturday 27th February, Reverie Choir in collaboration with composer Freya Waley-Cohen and poet Caleb Klaces, will present their new immersive installation in the Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire and Revolution exhibition at the National Maritime Museum, using the medium of song to represent the thoughts of Samuel Pepys as he views the artifacts of his own life.
Reverie Choir, Freya Waley-Cohen and Caleb Klaces have worked together before, at Kew Gardens in October 2014, when they presented ‘Linea’, a site specific work for the Princess of Wales Glasshouse, as part of the Festival of Intoxication. In this project, twenty singers were spaced all around the glasshouse, and discovered by visitors to the gardens, as they explored the exotic and mind altering plants. Watch Matilda Hay’s documentary about that project here!
On 27th February, ten singers will be found in the exhibition singing new music which responds directly to the fascinating content of the gallery. What did Pepys feel as his city was destroyed by fire? How would the ubiquitously unfaithful Pepys respond to the portrait of his wife Elizabeth? This installation mirrors the exhibition’s separation between Pepys as a public and private figure, and draws on the sardonic humour of the diaries to depict the character of Pepys in a 21st century context.
Reverie’s singers will interact with the audience as they explore the gallery, sometimes taking them by surprise, and revealing some of the unexpected aspects of Pepys’ character from the funny to the crude.
Sharing the process of responding artistically to a historical exhibition, primary school children from the local area will be visiting the exhibition to learn about Samuel Pepys, and through a series of workshops with Reverie’s practitioners, writing their own poems and songs based on the gallery content. These will be performed in the Sammy Ofer Wing at 16:30 on Friday 26th Feb.
To enjoy Reverie's performance, join us on the 27 February to visit Samuel Pepys: Plague, Fire, Revolution