Catharsis: emotional, cleansing and utterly superb

Tyrehl Byk

Until the LEA Full Sim Art series, I confess (and to my lasting shame) I’d never heard of Tyrehl Byk. Now I can’t get his work out of my head.

Catharsis is one of two pieces that have taken over at LEA6  from Rebeca Bashly’s stunning and evocative Inferno (the other being Quadrapop Lane’s Retrospective Highlights of 4 Years in SL).

In many respects, trying to review this piece is counter-productive because no amount of words is ever going to achieve the wonder of actually going along and experiencing a performance. Indeed, saying too much may actually serve to spoil things – so I make no apology if the rest of this review is light on details – although the images should hopefully speak volumes and serve to whet appetites.

Catharsis commences in a wonderfully scripted theatre that is very mindful of a planetarium. It’s best to go as lightly scripted as possible in order to reduce the server-side load: there is an awful lot going on throughout the show. Once seated – and in case you don’t get the notecard – set your draw distance to 250 metres, set particle count to maximum, sun to midnight, close all on-screen floaters and then tap ESC a couple of times to free-up your camera controls.
This last item is important, as it allows Tyrehl to take control of your camera and move you through various settings in order to witness the piece. I’d also add that if you can, watch the presentation in a darkened room; the effects are magnificent.

“Catharsis” itself is a term used in dramatic art to describe an emotional cleansing. In essence, it refers to an extreme change in emotion brought about through the experience of strong feelings and / or responses – fear, pity and sorrow being the most common forms, although it can equally come through laughter as a result of comedy.

As an immersive experience, Catharsis uses an eclectic mix of music and images to create an amazing visual and aural ride carefully and cleverly balanced – not that you are aware of it at the time – designed to guide you to a certain emotional point. Through the first half we are treated to images that inspire awe and which, with their irreverent pokes, also incite the audience to have a little laugh or two.

However it is in the latter half of the show that one is completely blown away. It is here that the clever deception  – if I can use that term – comes to light. There is no warning of the coming change in emotional focus and context; as a result, the impact and the response it generates are both that much deeper. Here is the reason for the title of the piece, and I will only say that it is a perfect mix of images coupled with an inspired choice of Hans Zimmer’s most evocative soundtrack. They are brought together in a manner that left me – and others in the audience – in tears.

As the performance finished, so it also left many of us feeling intensely aware, alive, renewed.

Catharsis –  emotional, cleansing and utterly superb. See it.

Links and Information

  • Start location for Catharsis – enter through the door and follow the arrows
  • Calendar for Tyrehl’s performances (updated regularly)
  • Upcoming performances of Catharisall times SLT:
    • Saturday November 5th: 20:00
    • Sunday November 6th: 04:00; 16:00; 20:00
    • Tuesday November 8th: 04:00; 16:00; 19:00
    • Thursday November 10th: 04:00; 16:00; 19:00

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