Gecko's Institute on BBC Four

Published: 10 July 2020
Reporter: Vera Liber

Francois Testory in Institute Credit: John Ferguson
Ryen Perkins Gangnes in Institute Credit: John Ferguson
Amit Lahav in Institute Credit: John Ferguson

Gecko, BBC Arts, The Space and Illuminations have collaborated on an adaptation of theatre show Institute for BBC Four, based on Gecko’s theatre production, broadcast as part of BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine.

Set in a shadowy institution where residents attempt to create order from internal emotional chaos, carers become patients, memories fracture and relationships collide. Institute asks how do we care more for each other in the target-driven machinery of modern life? Who will be there to catch us if we fall?

This is director Amit Lahav’s second work for screen after Gecko’s live TV performance of Time of Your Life (part of Live from Television Centre, 2015). although he has continued to explore work in film through collaborations with directors Teresa Griffiths on Egon Schiele: Dangerous Desires (BBC2, 2018) and Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall on visuals for the Chemical Brothers’ live shows.

Lahav said, “this was an exhilarating experience from start to finish. There were many elements of the process relating to visual and aural storytelling which felt natural and instinctive to me, like the blocking and choreography of scenes for the camera and the screenplay narrative, which required a different approach and different storytelling techniques to the stage production.

"Some theatrical sequences, which felt essential for the stage, required an altogether different visual language; the scale and necessity of explosive physicality on stage could be found through a more internal, emotional expressiveness using close-up shots, reimagined choreography specific for screen and some clever editing.

"The camera movement and direction required a period of learning which I’ve been enveloped in over the last five years through various film projects and mentors. Understanding the emotionality of camera angles and movement and the camera’s expressive power has taken time to begin to understand. That said it has provided me with some thrilling added storytelling dynamism."

He added, "film opens up new avenues in my life and in my heart that I don’t think can ever be closed again.”

Institute will be broadcast on BBC Four on Sunday 19 July at 11:10PM and will be available on BBC iPlayer for a further 30 days.