Workshop C: DAY 3: Resetting
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
During the worksop's third day the team focused on the interaction of the bodies on stage with the scenography and light, using the chosen material of Two Women/Dio Kopelies as a case study for their research. Bas Wiegers, the platform's conductor, brought to the workshop a mini-composition he wrote, musicalising the chosen text.
How does light interfere with the practicalities of addressing each other on stage?
How does scenography become a partner on stage for the performative bodies?
How can a composed piece of music be integrated in a rehearsal that uses controlled improvisation as a practice?
At the end of the day, the team was asked to write short reflection texts about the current state of the artistic research. Workshop C was the hardest for the platform's artists to work on, raising questions about the platform's very goals.
Creating a space for 10 artists to share practices, experiences and tools, that is my goal and although we haven’t ended up with a complete scene on stage (yet), I believe we are getting that way. The issue is to have everyone get equally something back from everyone else. I am trying to hear everything and watch everything that happens. The musicians, including myself are less likely to give material on stage. I believe this is because we have set a condition which we are not very familiar with, so we’re afraid to react to something, or when we react we end up “freely improvising” which I feel we all do not want anymore. Another issue here is that we are not improvisers like George, who if was together with a group of good improvisers could build a whole solid scene. The need that Iro mentioned many times is a key, of course. But in order to build something without bringing in materials that come from another detached need (like composing something at my home) someone needs time, and for sure he/she needs to have a good observation of what is happening (so maybe not by being on stage) and shape things on the spot, things that people register and repeat. On this, important to remember what Iro said: we remember what we do in a run and we repeat it - we don’t only remember what the movements where and when they happened, but also the need behind each of them, which we re-explore.
It´s hard to write "5 brief lines" about the workshop, because I am quite negative, unfortunately.
Two things that I find particularly annoying:
1. Lack of leadership: Letting such a group of talented people get into some kind of low-energy-improvisation-feeling day after day after day is a waste of time and talent. This eventually leads to lack of initiative and blocking of ideas.
2. Lack of music: Investigating “music theatre” without some proper note material is really uninspiring. Unfortunately all the music - we had Pepe´s numbers (could be used in many different ways), we had Bach, we had George´s Duet, we had Yudo´s Labirinth, but all this got sort of discarded. And why didn’t you also propose some music?? Are you completely uninterested in also being a composer a little bit?
Instead of having clear questions to investigate, we (again) dived into endless amorphous improvisations this week. In your email of 22 May you state that
The focus while working on the two scenes is how we move within the following spectrum:
MEANING OF WORDS (SPEECH) <----> SOUND OF THE WORDS/ABSTRACTION (MUSIC)
So text > the sound of text > getting further away with sound, and the reverse trip.
But we have not done one proper exercise to investigate this or made any formal propositions on how to put this into practice.
I am sorry I can´t be more positive…
I will work on the second half of my proposal, so that at least with Els´ version and my version of the Cantata we have two concrete things to work on.
Intense and confronting. We are at the middle point of our process, which i personally find the hardest in any kind of long term process. Things that worked, don’t work, low energy and the need of finding solutions and not getting stuck in the same routine. Yesterday it was good we talked about our feelings and different ways of approaching this work. Immediately we came with some plans or ideas based on the necessity to go somewhere. I am looking forward to today’s work and the way a new and fresh energy (Richard) could affect our way of working. I personally like having someone joining at the end of the process (well, in some cases. this one is one of them :) ) because it can help us getting out of our routine by bringing fresh input.
It is more of a paradox to say that we meet together in order to research about musical theatre, without having a certain objective, a goal. Meaning an audience in mind, so something presentable. This is a misunderstanding concerning the organisation + niarchos. I think that this is why we started this time uncertain about what are we supposed to do....
I find crucial the idea of being all together on stage, trying to make something work... It is maybe complicated for each one of us to be on stage open to and with the others and at the same time to be able to use his instrument/skills. (Because i find it important to find a way to use them...) But that is the bet, and it s a nice one. Being both, not one, nor the other... i can not understand why musicians of the group do not play their instruments, bas does not conduct....etc. It s like if we want to explore/learn something new and other... when what we have to do is learn with the others and with our skills...
a positive think of these days: it’s good that we limited our material to only one! Very useful. It s good that we started want to built something.
I feel that we have to let go of the need to make something good, or knowing what is it that we make, and just do and do...going on with the one or the two things that we have. That means structure and discipline and freedom into that.
What was the challenge of this platform, it seems a personal quest for each person with all different ideas and wishes?
Was the idea of a collective, working outside of our individual work experience an illusion?
Can a collective way of working only function when makers guide it with a goal? And performers jump into this?
What was it that we had so much interesting material we could work with in the first week? There it felt as a collective... what was that?
What could music theatre be as a collective making it... but what is a collective...
So... all questions...
Interesting... but confusing...
I loved to hear what Iro told about how they work in theatre... and I miss Tzeni! :-)
Limiting our material to just one piece I think was really important at making things work faster in these first days. It actually made us start to go deeper on the material and not try to manage all the content we had before. It was really interesting also yesterday out need to function more according to our personal field regarding the stage action.
I expect to find people seeking a connection between speech and music using rhythmicised text within various vocal hierarchies.
My expectation is that this connection has been found through repetition and experimentation.
It is expected that the two texts are being realised in a way that consciously raises speech to a musical level as opposed to the practised rhythmic and melodic landscape of everyday speech, but halting before the expressive mode trips into that of song.
I will find considerations of setting, lighting and costume in relation to the spatial disposition of the people, suggested performance mood, as well as the intended mode of vocal and bodily delivery.
Found by all will however be a new method of musically informed storytelling that questions the possible spaces between prose, script and song.
A video of the team's discussion on the research approach and goals:
A video of one of the day's tryouts: