Welling up while wearing VR goggles is an unfamiliar experience.
But then, there’s a lot of things about KAGAMI that will be new to you. Like the fact that the stage for this piano concert has no piano. The venue’s 800-capacity space has been reduced to about 80. And the show’s solo performer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, passed away last year.
This ground-breaking show at the Roundhouse is a collaboration between the late musician and ‘full dimensional film’ producers Tin Drum, who have used cutting edge tech to transform footage captured in 2020 into a poignant mixed-reality concert.
“This virtual me will not age, and will continue to play the piano for years, decades, centuries.
Will there be humans then?
Will the squids that will conquer the earth after humanity listen to me?
What will pianos be to them?”
Sakamoto’s musings greet you as you enter the space through suspended arches of muslin sheets – a nod to the torii gates at Shinto shrines which divide the human world from the divine. That might sound grandiose, but KAGAMI genuinely feels like a strange, liminal space between heaven and earth.
That’s emphasised by the effect of the glasses you’ll be wearing, which map virtual elements onto the real performance space around you. The late composer sits at his grand piano in the centre of the space, in crystal clear definition, while your fellow audience members magically fade into translucent grey figures, taking on an ethereal quality as they roam the space.
Oh, and the name KAGAMI? It translates as ‘mirror’.
And you’ll definitely leave feeling reflective.
NOTE: KAGAMI runs at the Roundhouse until 21st January. You can book tickets (£15 – £42.50) HERE.
KAGAMI | Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8EH
Like unusual experiences? Take a look at what else is on in your January Agenda