Saturday, June 23, 2012

Playing with words

A week or so ago I had an interview with Diane de Beer (Independent Newspapers) at a lovely little cafe in Sophiatown... complete with board games and wooden benches and delicious coffee and what felt like history... we chatted about theatre for an hour. Conversations like these make me wonder how it is possible to talk about anything else.  What was great was she asked me what kind of theatre I want to make - and it's interesting to articulated it... one of the answers is that i'm interested in scripted work where the actor still has the freedom to play...  Go further.  React to the audience.  Repeat something.  Come back to something... and so on.  All in complicite with the audience and their own performance... timing, rhythm, reaction and so on.  Of course you do a lot of this with devised / improvised work - but the structure is thinner with clearly defined fixed points to get you from one beat to the next... and so the opportunity and necessity to play is much larger.  But if you take that idea into a fully scripted piece the doors to play are harder to find - but they must be found.  I think.  To find the spontaneity within the structure.  The rigor of script with the delight of play.

This is what James Cuningham and I have been looking at during this re-rehearsal period of Sunday Morning for the Grahamstown Festival... how to find moments of play within the script.  And it's been fun - besides the freezing cold unheated rehearsal room... grr.  When 'play' happens the work comes alive in a way that straight acting or traditional theatre often neglects... Or forgets... Or deliberately steers away from.  But however you look at it, the audience is there.  It is theatre after all.  Even if it is wonderfully scripted and clearly blocked and well rehearsed and brilliantly and professionally executed.  So... it's going to be interesting to see what happens in Grahamstown.  But without play there is no theatre.  Not really.  The occasional dive into the unknown somehow seams essential.

It's fun to talk about this stuff.  Scary to do it.  Of course.  Eee.  You can read the review here... Theatre maker raises curtain on class act - Tonight News |

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