Monday, 13 July 2015

Flighty Dramaturgy: Ezra LeBank @ Edfringe 2015

Flight springs to life through storytelling, physical theatre, and acrobatics to create a whimsical world inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic children’s story The Little Prince.

Our favourite pilot crashes on the Mexican coast while he’s searching for his lost friend, The Little Prince. Memories of twinkling stars transform into sand dunes, crashing waves, and far off islands as he remembers that what is most important can only be seen with the heart.

Curbside, a California-based company, uses physical invention to invite audiences of all ages (4+) to rediscover this classic story in a way they’ve never imagined.

The FringeWhat inspired this production: did you begin with an idea or a script or an object?

Ezra LeBank:Flight began with an idea of transforming The Little Prince into a sequel that would physically take flight on stage through acrobatics, while telling the story we all know and love with a twist.

We developed movement content in tandem with language as I wrote the script, rehearsing in my garage-turned-movement-studio. The unconventional and open nature of the rehearsal space lent itself perfectly to the company’s investigation translating language into physical imagery, drawing on collective knowledge of acrobatics, circus, and other movement modalities.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
The 2015 Edinburgh Fringe will be the largest arts festival in world history. It’s a joy to present Flight at such an extraordinary event alongside some of the most inventive new performances from across the world.

Performing Flight at Fringe carries an extra joy. I will be onstage alongside two performers I trained at California State University Long Beach, with designs and direction from recent alumni from our Theatre Arts Department. Bringing us all together is fitting for a story that remains precious in the hearts of people across the world and across generations.

What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
Flight is a whimsical and encompassing theatre experience created solely with bodies, voices, lights, original music and one simple set element. Our playful, inventive production is an invitation for audiences of all ages to enjoy our fantastical world as a treat for their imaginations.

The Dramaturgy Questions

How would you explain the relevance - or otherwise - of dramaturgy within your work?
Dramaturgy was essential in composing a multi-layered production like Flight. We developed Flight along multiple levels including language (the script), movement, and sound/music - far beyond adding spices to the play, we imagined the show in each of these ways independently, producing a full score of language, movement, and sound (both recorded and live) - that give space to each other while building the world of the show collectively. We examined the nature of the story, and the rhythmic nature of the performance as we added, arranged, and edited the production’s many elements, frequently referring back to the central structure as a spine we could refer to as we maintained the central focus through our creative collaboration.

What particular traditions and influences would you acknowledge on your work - have any particular artists, or

genres inspired you and do you see yourself within their tradition?
We are highly influenced by contemporary circus - Cirque de Soleil, le 7 doigts de la main (who will also perform this august at Assembly!), CIRCA, and others. We are influenced by storytellers - Daniel Kitsen, Spalding Gray, Mike Daisey, and many others. We are influenced by contemporary Dance including Momix, Pilobolus, and Chunky Move. And we are of course deeply inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, as his writing and imagination has brought our production its central vision and purpose.

Do you have a particular process of making that you could describe - where it begins, how you develop it, and whether there is any collaboration in the process?
Our process is highly collaborative. It begins with a concept prior to any written and physical material. This concept is focused until we collectively (performers, writer, designer, director) jin together in the process of dreaming the material into life. From this point we begin wherever we have clear focus and specific emphasis on a certain element. As we refine that element (a movement sequence for example) it allows us to discover details and elements that make the world of the play more specific and more alive. This continues through the entire creative process, receiving influence from every member of the creative team.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work?
We feel that the audience imagines the world of the play along with us, and that it is a collaborative act to invent the play together. We do this literally by bringing the audience into the world through simple and enjoyable audience participation (with sounds or gestures), and through our collective dreaming we invite this little prince to fly.

1 comment :

  1. Wish I was in Edinburgh to see performance but maybe we will see it sometime in Portland, Oregon USA! Thanks for the interview and best of luck to all!