We are very sad to announce the death of Cyrus Pundole, who died of lymphatic cancer on January 29. He had been ill for two years.
Cyrus had been involved in in situ:’s work for more than fifteen years and had been a member of our Board of Trustees for more than ten.
He contributed so much in so many ways. It’s hard to know where to start.
He was a meticulous and hard-working organiser, doing all our press liaison and print. We were very fortunate to have his professional journalist skills at our disposal. He did this splendidly over many years and we are very grateful to him.
However, it is his creative work that everyone will remember.
He was extremely knowledgeable about music, especially contemporary independent music, and created many soundscapes for our productions, most notably for Oresteia (2014), which was a hypnotic fusion of archive newsreel, popular music, recorded voice and paranormal recording. It was spellbinding.
It’s hard to put into words his unique presence as a performer.
I think most of us would use the word : ENERGY.
He had an intense, wiry, electric physicality which was compellingly watchable; a wonderful mobile face that was by turns funny, terrifying and sad, and a huge voice which emerged surprisingly from his slight frame.
Many of in situ:’s performances take place outdoors and cover large areas of space. Cyrus was very fit and a very good runner and he brought a breathtaking athleticism to much of his work. In King Lear (2009), for example, he would think nothing of running up and down a hill a few dozen times and talking non-stop. A very exciting, talented performer.
Cyrus spent more time doing the work than talking about what it felt like, but, from several conversations, I got the impression that performing was for him a transcendental practice. He loved the focus and discipline of performing and felt that, when performing, he was in a special place. I think he felt happy, grounded and fulfilled when he was performing. I think it was a spiritual exercise for him.
So, there was his dedicated organisation and his amazing creative work.
But it wasn’t really even his work.
It was him.
He was kind, funny, wise, and, more recently, extremely courageous during a dreadful illness. He was absolutely bursting with life, and Death had its work cut out eventually getting the better of him.
All of us that worked with him and loved him are reeling at the loss of our friend, devastated by the suffering he endured and joyous with our memories of him.
Our thoughts go out to Rifat, Zareena, Farah, Neville and the rest of Cyrus’ family and his many other friends.
Richard Spaul. February 2022.
Cyrus was in the very first insitu play I came to, fifteen years ago. His acting took my breath away, moved me, inspired me, and drew me into involvement with insitu – I will always be so grateful to him for that.
Over the years since that first meeting, we have talked together, laughed together, enjoyed train journeys to and from London together… above all we have acted together, in pouring rain at Wandlebury, in candlelight in the Leper Chapel.
Always and everywhere, Cyrus’s gentleness, kindness, insight, wisdom – and huge acting talent – have added to my life. I shall miss him greatly but will never forget him.
I am still incredulous about the sad news of Cyrus.
Such was his joy of live, determination to overcome illness, love for his daughters, passion for his job that one cannot believe Cyrus is not any more with us.
Still I have a vivid memory of our last encounter in person in Wandlebury last summer! Such a nice man and inspiring actor.
He loved that magical place and I’ll never forget our performances of King Lear together.
We will miss him deeply but I am pretty sure that from somewhere he will be smiling at us, ready to tell a joke or a story with no tears involved.
Oresteia Soundcape 2014:
Created by Cyrus Pundole
(with additional material by Steve Adams)
What you are about to hear is Cyrus’ soundscape for in situ:’sproduction of Aeschylus’ Oresteia.
Oresteia is a monumental work, consisting of three plays, Agamemnon, Choephoroi and Eumenides, exploring the aftermath of the Trojan War. It was also a huge undertaking for in situ: , stretching over four years.
The production focussed on the consequences of what we would now call ‘Total War’ and we were very keen to create a sort of echo chamber between 400BC when the original texts were written and first performed and the 21st Century, our situation now and everything that has happened in between. In particular we wished to presence the significant traumatic events of the last hundred years – the wars, the political violence, the situation of women, the fragility of democracy and so on. Of course we used text and choreography to explore this, but recorded sound was the vital medium, because of its unique ability to create layers of sound with different significances and from different time periods.
Cyrus included archive footage of Nuremberg Trials, the assassination of Robert Kennedy, ‘ghost’ recordings from the 1950s, ‘soundings’ from the actors (it was Steve’s remarkable contribution to record all this and play it backwards), quotations from the original Greek, ‘funeral Blues’, avantgarde music, screaming cougars and much much more.
The soundscape was the glue that held a very complex piece of work together over 5 hours and 3 separate performances. Great work, Cyrus.