HELIUM was an Arches New Work commission presented at Arches LIVE theatre festival in September 2010.
According to Lee Sobotka (professor of Chemistry and Physics at Washington University) the world’s largest reserve of Helium, in Amarillo, Texas has been depleting so rapidly that supplies are expected to be used up by 2015.
HELIUM was a response to this information. Performers, Laurie Brown and Sarah Bradley shared some of their favourite things about Helium before it was too late. They described sequences from the 1950s French film LE BALLON ROUGE, explored the scientific and political context that led to the Hindenburg disaster and demonstrated what makes balloons float and why Helium changes the vocal quality of your voice.
All of this was presented using a set made up entirely of red balloons, the music from LE BALLON ROUGE, Nena’s 99 LUFTBALONS, and a series of beautiful projected images that attempted to capture the tragedy of something becoming extinct as a result of human activity.
Performed by and devised with: Sarah Bradley and Laurie Brown
Dramaturg and Textual contributor: Kieran Hurley
Creative Assistant: Jo Shaw
Lighting Designer: Briony Berning
with additional dramaturgical support and textual contributions from Catriona Easton and Chris Hall.
‘THOUGHT PROVOKING AND GENUINELY ENGAGING’ (The Herald)
‘THERE’S A POWERFUL ELEGIAC QUALITY ABOUT THIS LAMENT FOR A LOST NATURAL RESOURCE, THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES’ (The Scotsman)
HELIUM was kindly supported by the Arches, Arts Trust Scotland and the University of Glasgow’s Alasdair Cameron Fund.