Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Destructive Dramaturgy: IAMI @ Edfringe 2015

CalArts Festival Theatre Presents 
a Multimedia Play about the Marvel of Being Alive

Edinburgh/Los Angeles - IamI is a play that places Heaven in outer space. It is a multimedia dreamscape that illuminates the complexities of death by unifying sacred themes, the animalistic nature of humanity, and the scientific perspectives of academia. IamI features completely original content including an elaborate musical underscore, astral projections, and experimental animations. 

It opens at Venue 13 on Saturday August 8th, 2015 and plays every day except for Mondays until Saturday August 29th at 21:30.

IamI Trailer from Shawn Brown on Vimeo.

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

Shawn Brown: This production was inspired by an image. I
began to contemplate what it would mean if something had a mirror for a face. What would that thing be? What would it say? What world would it live in? As I filled in all of the blanks around it, the story became reflective of my own personal struggles and those that might mean something to anyone who has experienced an existential crisis.

Why bring your work to Edinburgh?
Bringing IamI to Edinburgh is about finding an audience. It's about weighing "IamI" up against a unique environment. It's about making a conception real and documenting how it lives as a temporary fixture in a structured community. It's about seeing how the work done in "IamI" fits in the international scope of artistic exploration.
What can the audience expect to see and feel - or even think - of your production?
The audience can expect to feel challenged, spiritually connected, and introspective. They will see the archetypal representations of thoughts in an ever-changing mind. "IamI" appears to be a narrative, but it is a facade. "IamI" is a linear progression of thought processes disguised as a narrative. Find the mind and you will find "IamI."

The Dramaturgy Questions:

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?The most particular aspect of this process has been the concept of destruction. We start with something that is seemingly concrete (the script) and begin to devise ways of challenging it. The only rule of this process has been to always try something new and challenge the precedents that seem to have established themselves as fixtures in the process. 

The process is strongly collaborative. The actors have say in what
goes into the script. They have devised much of their own blocking. The production elements are guided, but usually end up being a unique take on the initial ideas proposed. The group is encouraged to challenge any interpretation of the script, or the way we work, based on an ever-changing system of values. In the rehearsal space of "IamI", no one in the room is right. There are simply different degrees and ways of being wrong.

What do you feel the role of the audience is, in terms of making the meaning of your work? The role of the audience is to find themselves, to find themselves in each one of the characters, and to identify what parts of them are represented within each unique character. After these parts are identified, the role of the audience is to piece them together and examine what the result is once all of the pieces are assembled. In "IamI", the audience is the source of the world itself.

The narrative is centered upon an immortal being with a mirror for a face, Iam. It follows Iam and an eclectic grouping of people: Aila, a woman who has drowned herself; Deos, a man who has been ritualistically sacrificed; Feriluc Maydie and Wellesley Kelvin, a clairvoyant and an explorer who’ve accidentally died as a result of contracting cholera. They find themselves within the Eversphere after their deaths and must reconcile their identities with apparent immortality.

Iami utilises a range of disciplines to create an ethereal world, which incites wonder in the disillusioned masses by making typically sacred themes accessible via secularisation. 

IamI Teaser from Shawn Brown on Vimeo.
It was written and staged using a new theatrical technique called “The Destruction Method.” The philosophy of Destruction is centered on the purity of Nothingness, and the writing technique is characterized by seemingly unrelated actions sporadically interrupting the natural flow of individual scenes. The Destruction process in staging requires the actors to make bold, seemingly inconsistent physical choices that create friction between the actor, the movement, and the text. IamI was developed with the help of California Institute of the Arts, and it has been work-shopped at REDCAT and the Hollywood Fringe.

Venue 13 was launched in 1996 as an initiative by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama to promote the best new talent from Wales on a world stage. Now run in Collaboration with the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), the 2012 season presents productions of emerging artists from Wales and California.

CalArts Festival Theater has partnered with Venue13 for 10 seasons to expand programming to include the experimental work from California and it's home within California Institute of the Arts, the first art institute in the United States to offer BFAs and MFAs in both the visual and performing arts.

IamI opens Saturday, August 8 at 21:30 and runs through Saturday, August 29 and is just oven an hour long. There are no performances on Mondays: August 10, 17 and 24. 

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