Cyrus Pundole in unnamed (2016)

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.

Cyrus Pundole in unnamed (2016)

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 Pundole in Ratman: A Case of Obsessional Neurosis (2008)

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.

Susan Quilliam

Tales From The Green Wood
Boris Mayger, Silvano Squizzato and Cyrus Pundole in Tales From The Green Wood (2015)

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.

Unimaginable…

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.

Silvano Squizzato

Cyrus Pundole in the ghost in me (2018)

Oresteia

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.

Enjoy!

Cyrus Pundole’s chilling soundtrack for in situ:’s Oresteia Trilogy

Categories: News

3 Comments

Maxine · 04/02/2022 at 12:37

Since hearing the news about Cyrus last weekend, I have been looking back at papers, notes and programmes I have kept from in situ: performances.

I read Cyrus’ article in in situ:’s 2008 programme. He talks about doing Learn to Act courses and participating in Oedipus Rex. He speaks of his growing confidence; how much he has learnt from the group and of getting a real buzz from performing – “a kind of automatic pilot infused with high energy levels”. I first came across these high energy levels in 2007 when we started worked on the Oedipus Rex project. We worked in the Leper Chapel, and I remember struggling to keep up as Cyrus led the group in physical movement across the stone floor. “Please don’t start crawling, Cyrus!”. Of course, he did.

Then there was the Freud Project, “A Case of Obsessional Neurosis”, performed in Richard and Bella’s house, which we started working on in 2007. Memories of this project and Cyrus – fun and laughter in devising; hearing everyone’s dreams; Cyrus misreading (whale sparrow?); Cyrus mishearing Mingus’ Black Saint and the Sinner Lady as Black Satanist Dinner Ladies; Cyrus, crouched in the downstairs bog, Joy Division playing.

Other projects, other memories. King Lear at Wandlebury– Cyrus crouched under a bush – that voice (and he was good at crouching!). Cyrus running up and down both sides of the ring ditch – never losing energy, never losing focus. Cyrus running across the field.

So many other projects – The Calendar Project, Unnamed (Cyrus banging his head against a brick wall). All memories with a sense of Cyrus’ presence, his tremendous energy and vitality. So difficult to understand that we won’t see or feel that again.
Maxine

    marta meszaros · 14/02/2022 at 00:32

    those incredible vocal abilities.. Cyrus.. you are missed.. so much..

Rachel Mead · 21/02/2022 at 14:00

I feel very lucky that I was able to witness and participate in the extraordinary intensity of Cyrus’ work.

For me, one of the most memorable examples of this was in Unnamed, for which Cyrus had devised a whirling movement piece, involving black rain macs and a pair of pellet drums. I can recall him teaching me the piece and wondering whether it might scare the audience – it scared me a bit!

…But it reminded me of why it was so much fun to work with him: He was always playful with his ideas and yet the end result could be powerful and memorable, as is perfectly captured by the photographs.

My thoughts echo those of others, when it comes to King Lear, where Cyrus did what he also did well, in supporting me as a complete newbie. Just a few kind words from him was enough to give me the confidence to think that I might actually pull it off. Thank you, Cyrus.

I’ll always remember Cyrus as the joyful, kind and incredibly energetic person that he was.

Rachel Mead (Thilwind)

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