Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Locus Dramaturgy: Atresbandes @ Edfringe 2017

ATRESBANDES theatre company

Locus Amoenus

Three strangers meet on a train. In one hour, the train will crash and they will all die.

Award winning Spanish company ATRESBANDES bring their critically acclaimed piece Locus Amoenus to Summerhall for Edinburgh Fringe 2017, exploring the idea of paradise through the meeting of three strangers on a train that’s about to crash.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

The first inspiration was the place where we started to create the show and the title "Locus Amoenus" meaning pleasant place comes from there). It was in a beautiful arts centre in Birmingham, based in the middle of a gorgeous park, with a lake and trees. There was snow everywhere. So, that touched us and inspired us. It was a real artistic “locus amoenus” for us (we had all our time and space to do something) and for sure, that suggested us to think about the idea of "Paradise".
Also, there's a book called "Tunel" by F. Durrenmat that give us the idea of the theatrical game we propose in the show. And also, the film "Europa" by Lars Von Trier.

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

It has to be, for sure. After a very good show, not only beauty or enjoyment or even anger appears, also a waterfall of thoughts and emotions.
I think that's because a good performance is the point that is below a question mark symbol, but a question mark at the end on stage. That's what we try to do in our shows. After that, after see a "final" question mark, we hope or we would to like to open others questions in the audience.

How did you become interested in making performance?

In our case, was an organic and natural thing. We met each other at theatre school in Barcelona and we started working to try to make the theatre that we would like to see on stage.
As I said before, theatre helps us, not to answer the daily life, but at least, to do something with all these questions that we have.

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

No. Maybe the particular approach is that we don't have one, and in each of our different performances we start in a different way. We're very a chaotic and not methodical company, we don't know what we can do until do it, so we need lot of time to create.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

We work as a devising theatre Company, without a previous text. We start only with an idea. So, each show we made is relative to our "personal and artistic moment". When we premiered this show, we thought it was something very different to the previous one "Solfatara" but now, after a while, I realise that is an organic and very logical step, and even if the form is different, yes, I think it fits. 

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

That's difficult because I think you can't control that. For "Locus Amoenus" maybe we would like to investigate or taste the concept of time. What happens if the audience has more information than the performers on stage, and how that changes the perception of the action and of time.
And also, in this show, we wanted to "relax" the theatrical conventions. For example, there's no black out, we start on stage as performers waiting for the start and looking to the audience without hiding our nervousness and the excitement we have. We perform with all the technical things like very exposed, without hiding microphones or the cables. The lighting is always the same.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
I think, I answer that before!

LOCUS AMOENUS video promo from ATRESBANDES on Vimeo.

Locus Amoenus takes its title from a Latin term meaning “pleasant place”, characterised in literature and visual arts throughout history as a sunlit glade or meadow. Through a series of conversations and situations, efforts to understand and be understood, the show asks what paradise means to each person and, as the train speeds towards to its fatal conclusion, asks whether we pay enough attention on life’s journey.

Locus Amoenus is performed mostly in English with additional projected text that acts as a narrator and guide to the inner thoughts of the characters. Not knowing that they are about to die, the characters go about their lives, connecting to each other and isolating themselves, understanding and misunderstanding, getting hung up on trivialities and not saying what they most want to say. What new meaning does the hour have if it’s to be their last?

Company member Albert Pérez Hidalgo said, “The inspiration for our work comes from a number of sources, including everyday life and situations, sitting on a fine line between biography and fiction. In Locus Amoenus, the three characters partly represent ourselves and through the course of their final hour, we see their dreams, fears and hidden desires. We drew on a variety of source material including Freidrich Dürrenmatt's novel The Tunnel and films such as Lars von Trier's Europe. Some of the imagery was inspired by our travels around the UK on tour as well as the beautiful parkland at mac in Birmingham where we first began work on the piece.”

15th – 27th August, 2.50pm, Summerhall, Venue 26 

Tickets: 0131 560 1581 | 0131 226 0000

@ATRESBANDES | #locusamoenus | |

Running Time: 60 minutes | Suitable for ages 14+

ATRESBANDES are a company from Barcelona who have rapidly established a reputation as creators of sharp, perceptive work for international audiences. They have won numerous awards including First Prize and Audience Prize at BE Festival 2012 in Birmingham for Solfatara and Best Direction at Skena Up 2014 in Kosovo for Locus Amoenus. The company was formed in 2008 with the aim of creating devised work through a truly collaborative process.

Company and creatives:
Devised and performed by: Mònica Almirall Batet, Miquel Segovia Garrell, Albert Pérez Hidalgo
Voice recordings: Iara Solano Arana, Sammy Metcalfe
Lighting design: Alberto Rodríguez
Sound design: Joan Solé
Producers: Sarah-Jane Watkinson (UK), Nùria Segovia Garrell (Spain)

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