Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Gossip Dramaturgy: Lenka Vágnerová @ Edfringe 2017

Gossip
 Lenka Vágnerová & Company
4 – 8, 10 – 15 Aug | 20.30 (21.45)
£14 (£12 concs)

An exploration of blather, misinformation and rumour. Combining dance, physical theatre and puppetry, the company shows how slander can be more powerful than the gun. Lenka Vagnerová & Company won the Herald Angel Award and was nominated for a Total Theatre Award in 2014 for La Loba.


What was the inspiration for this performance? 

The impulse was driven by gossip, defamation, disinformation and rumour. I was collecting ideas for this performance for quite a while. I’ve always been fascinated by this topic, because we are all affected by it, all of us have had at least a few direct or indirect experiences with it. 

One could talk about it for days. Gossips are a cross-cultural phenomenon of humanity since the early days. At the same time, it is connected with only a single being on the planet – the human. 

Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas? 

Such topic as gossip and defamation is and always will be part of public discussion. Media, social networks and tabloid thrive on representations of gossip. Equally, it touches lives of ordinary people. And that is an immortal space for discussion. 

People are hungry for sensations or out of ordinary information about the others. Gossip is altered quickly and innocent information can easily turn into a monstrous defamation. It may even become an unstoppable avalanche. 

How did you become interested in making performance? 

Theme of gossip and rumor is based on a word. The power of such uttered word can be more harmful than physical abuse. It can result in amusement but also a tragedy. The way it spreads nowadays (mainly thanks to internet), its speed, guile, power and most importantly effect on a specific person have inspired me while creating scenes for this performance. 

Dance and body have a gift of envisioning almost everything. It tempted me to look for quality of movement in each scene, how to translate word into physical action, the way it looks, how it moves and what are its consequences. 

Is there any particular approach to the making of the show? 

I tried to find underlying pictures and situations that would enable me to narrate this story and topic through dance and other theatrical means. That was the basic milestone for finding qualities of movement. 

Gossip is a dance performance. It merges dynamic choreographies with acting but also puppetry and material work. The performance is staged on a “party” and includes five specific characters and their personalities in a story. This was crucial for me. 

Does the show fit with your usual productions? 

Each performance I create differs by topic and other multitude of factors – mainly who it is created for, who performs it, etc. This applies to Gossip as well. It has its own spirit, but yet does blend into dramaturgy of Lenka Vagnerova & Company. 

You may therefore surely recognize my methods in it, the energy, dynamic and attitude to quality of movement. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience? 

I sincerely hope, that viewer will find interest in this topic. That he will let himself be drawn into situations, choreographies, the story or the personalities of characters and impressed by performers. I trust them to find emotions inside, or perhaps only find it entertaining. 

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience? 

While creating a new performance, I rarely think of a “strategy” to capture the audience. However, I am trying to achieve clarity of what the audience will perceive. I wouldn’t like them to have to put up with a abstract dance hidden behind the topic. 

I am in pursuit of making the performance understandable, but at the same time allow the viewer to freely absorb choreographies and situations in his own way. Each gesture, movement, situation, prop, musical selection or lighting has for me it’s meaning, purpose.

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