Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cecelias Herz

About a year ago I had the great opportunity to direct my own short piece, within my college course. This directed piece was part of my curriculum but I nonetheless had incredible freedom. in my creative choices.

In just six weeks time it was my task to rehearse and devise a piece, that could be either be based on a script or any form of theatre.  The only rules I had to obey, was that it shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes and that it shouldn’t be too inappropriate. But other than that we had a free hand and a free choice.

I decided to write my own script and to use it for my devising work. For a while I’ve been playing with the idea to write a script that deals with mental illness and its current status in society. I was particular drawn to Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychology and mental illness and how his personal life influenced his work.

I decided to write a script for classical theatre. But after being on the course I changed my mind and incorporated aspects of surreal theatre, Artaudian theatre and dance theatre. I changed my script but stayed true to the core ideas of my play. I wanted to show how people with mental illness are wrongfully judged by society and I think in the end I succeeded.

In just 6 weeks I managed to create my piece and I’m so proud of the people who worked with me and that realised the whole thing with me. I still can’t believe that I was allowed so much freedom, that I could actually use a pig’s heart (in jar I have to say) and strip my actresses down to their underwear.

The video shows the performance but unfortunately didn’t succeed in catching everything. There was a lot of audience interaction going on that couldn’t have been filmed. But the video is still a good fragment, a good record of my piece. A piece that I would like to stage again one day.

In honour of Cecelias Herz.

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A very late reflection

 

It’s been two months now since I participated at the Pilotlight project; my first non college related performance here in Wales. Since then I haven’t performed publicly. Not because I don’t want to, I just live in the middle of nowhere and have therefore a logistic problems when it comes to public performances. Nothing I can change in that department, I’m afraid.

 

Originally, it was my intention to post up a reflection right after my performance but ended up not doing so for several reasons. The now following analysis would probably look differently if I would have kept to my original plan. I can’t remember some details of the event any longer and also want to say something about my future in performance (and how the the Response Time project Pilotlight has influenced that).

 

As I said it before, it was absolutely fantastic to be a part of the Response Time project and to participate in its first ‘outlet’ performance Pilotlight. I would even go so far and say that it was an honour for me to be a part of the first ever version of this project ( a second performance within this project has since taken place). It isn’t easy to follow the rules of the Response Time project 9they hardly were any) and to create a performance in just 48 hours, no matter how long it is. But I still enjoyed and savoured every minute of it.

 

There was only one rule I had to follow (besides the 48 hour rule); that my work had to somehow relate to the gallery or artwork displayed in the gallery. Other than that I had complete freedom when it came to the response I created. Well of course I wasn’t allowed to destroy any of the artworks. Having absolute freedom in my creative process was the aspect that I most enjoyed and loved about the project. In college I only had a similar kind of freedom in one module but never as much as in this project. Some people can be stressed because of this huge amount of freedom. I think I wasn’t because of it. Because I was able to do what suited my strengths and still challenged me a bit. I never devised or developed a movement sequence before but always loved to dance in my free time. My kind of dance is best categorised as expressionist dance (Ausdruckstanz in German). It might have been the first time that I took my hobby onto a stage but still did something that I knew and was completely within my comfort zone.

 

The fact that I worked alone and not within a group was another aspect I loved. Don’t take me wrong, I love developing theatre within a group, but didn’t have an opportunity to develop performance work on my own for a long time now. This time I didn’t have to share my ideas or discuss them with someone beforehand to get approval on them. I alone could decide what I do and how I do it. What would go into my piece, how often I rehearse and use the time I had. Although I worked on my own I still was surrounded by a great group of fellow performers, who I could always ask for help or watch in fascination. So even though I created a solo piece, I wasn’t isolated.

 

There are only two little things that I have to criticise. I hope that everyone involved in the Response Time project can forgive me for mentioning it. I personally felt that the use of light, or how the performances were lid wasn’t optional. The first and the last run through of all performances were lid perfectly. But some solo pieces within the second run through weren’t lid in the best way. This includes my own piece, which I felt was too dark, since there were no lights used for the space it took place in. The lack of light within the second run through was a bit of a flaw in my personal opinion. Another such flaw was the way how we guided the audience from piece to piece. Instead of talking we had to guide them silently and could only use body gestures to show them how they should position themselves. I personally think that we could have chosen a more creative way to guide the audience, but again this is just my opinion and I might be a bit too critical here.

 

The participation; my involvement with the Response Time project helped me a great deal. Not only was it my first real professional experience here in Wales, but also a proof to me that I am capable to develop work on my own. My creativity was fuelled because of the project and new ideas were developed by me because of it. I now have a faint plan of how I want to create work in the future. I know now that I want to abolish the fourth wall between audience and actor completely, that I want to use unusual stages and that I want to experiment more. Last but not least do I want to challenge myself more with my next project and get out of my comfort zone.