Shop of Souls Instillation and Exhibition

Congratulations to Freefall for 2 months of hard work culminating in a wonderful exhibition on Sunday 28th October.  Here is the group celebrating with sweets from the exhibition after a 2 hour performance of high focus and mischievousness.

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The exhibition was made up of Freefall’s Artwork with the theme of creating myths and legends for the streets of Exeter.  Each painting had a story and an object, bringing each legend to life.  From the small boy who sold his soul to the devil for a measly £1 in order to buy a sherbet fountain, to The Topsham Bride who drowned in the River Exe, to The Goddess Isis guarding a secret tunnel concealed within the Roman Wall, Freefall told tall tales that re-imagined Exeter’s dark history and brought the streets to life with new eyes.  The ceiling was decorated with prints of Exeter’s historic landmarks and scenery, made into beautiful lampshades.  Freefall’s reimagied map of historic Exeter brought further creatures lurking onto our streets in this stop-motion animation:

The exhibition was brought to life in an instillation by the Freefall members, dressed white t-shirts with white faces and black moustaches.  These were the shopkeeper, artists, storytellers of the Shop of Souls, and they guarded their artwork.

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A lone shop bell was displayed in the shop with the shop tag “Ring For Service” around it’s handle.  When a courageous member of the public rang the bell the shopkeepers moved slowly and precisely into action.  The Guardian of the Key, played by Flora and Alice, was first to appear from the Back-room of Doom, closely followed by the Glove Bearer, played by Joe from Burn The Curtain Theatre Company, and me, Lizzy.  They moved solemnly through the shop, and music would begin to play, they stopped in front of a small glass cabinet, filled with boxes.  Each of these boxes contained a story and an object.  The Guardian of the Key would carefully open the cabinet and the Glove Bearer would choose a box, removing it with the heat proof gloves -for protection.

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The chosen storyteller would then step forward and be presented with their box, and they would all process to the Projection of Illusions to tell the visitors their story.

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When it was over, the shop would return to normal and the shopkeepers would await the next ring of the bell.  In two hours the bell was rung 11 times.  Luckily it didn’t reach 13, you wouldn’t wanted to have been in the Shop of Souls if that happened.

The shop window was also alive with activity and caused quite an audience outside the shop.  Two Freefall Members stood or sat in the window, motionless.  A hand drawn sign on the window, a button which said “press to animate”.  The pair may sit for minutes with people staring, too shy to push the button or simply passing by not noticing them.

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Then someone would dare to press it and the duo would spring into life.  Silly dancing, mime, symbolism, characters, whole stories would play out in a matter of moments, then like a non-Duracell bunny they would loose power and become motionless again.

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We caused quite a stir and many people out to shop stumbled across our Shop of Souls with interest.  One customer penned us a post-it note saying:

“In the words of Andy Warhol, everyone is famous for 15 minutes, Freefall have managed to extend this time to 2 hours for one day.  On a crisp autumn day we have listened to several stories complimented by pictures and objects, performed by people with white faces.  An excellent idea, staged in an unlikely setting.  Thank you!”

Thank you Joe, for visiting the shop of Souls!

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