Sunday, October 28, 2012

A loud gesture

Two weeks.  Bang.  Gone.  Already... And we are one performance down.  Aaaah.  Amazing.  Third year Helikos in full swing.  We have began this year with Pantomime as our first theatrical territory... when I first heard that I had images of men wearing stax of stage make up dressing up as girls and so on... I am pleased to say that the whole thing is kind of over the top but it is not quite what I expected.  It never is.  Luckily.

A very quick background blurb >>>  Pantomime started back in the day when performers were forbidden to publicly criticize or poke fun at the authorities... it started with not allowing actors to speak on stage...  And boink enter the beginnings of pantomime with an off-stage translator... that was quickly abolished... now you may not speak at all!  And ta-daaa enter full-on pantomime.  Never underestimate the artists need to say something.  Pantomime...  Speaking through gesture >>>

So we returned to the silence...  How to turn sound into gesture so that it is in fact not silent at all.  If the margin for misunderstandings when you can speak is big - it is way bigger when you can't.  It's like everything we have learnt till now coming together to as simply and clearly as possible tell a story, with all the theatre ingredients you need... like a crescendo and a dynamic use of theatrical space - to name but two...

Theatrical space.  Yes.  I never spoke about our 'Trateau' project at the end of first year as I ran out of time and when I came back to it, somehow too much time had passed.  So - a trateau is a trestle sized stage that is raised on which five actors performed.  The physical space is squeezed so that theatrical space becomes infinite...  "When you have no space you have all the space in the world."  Ahh.  And that is what theatre should do shouldn't it... create imagined space.  Duh.  Obvious.  But not really.  We did a piece about a girl stolen from her village by a three headed dragon... Suddenly everything is possible.  Creating images.  Chorus work.  Changing perspectives.  Zooming in.  Miniaturisation.   Soundscapes... How theatre takes on cinema.

...So yes.  In these past two weeks we had to choose a popular film and transpose it for theatre using everything we have learnt.  Although we were not a trateau the principals are the same.  We did Pirates of the Caribbean and the others did Ghost Busters.  Hey?  Remember Ghost Busters!?

In our first performance our silence was too silent.  As we have learnt through the journey full masks and so on... the silence can be (and should be) very very loud.  So yes.  Only after being in the silence of gesture did we begin to add voice... which is actually tricky rather than instantly helpful as one might think.  The voice too needs to be transposed.  Of course.  Hectic.  So whilst it was a ton of fun it was confusing for the audience in parts - better play of space and cleaning up the use of voice will take it to the next level.  Hopefully.  We'll see.  Next time.  For now we're moving on.

In celebration of the journey of theatrical territories... and because i'm missing home...  Here are a few recent pics of Nick and I 'in the state' of different movie genres.  Photography by a friend of mine Bronwyn Stewart...  oh how we laugh.  Ha ha.


Romantic comedy


Horror... eeeeeee.

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