Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Nothing Dramaturgy: Faux Theatre @ Manipulate 2018


Faux Theatre/Scotland

Fight/lose, breathe/suffocate, try/fail. A purposefully low-tech physical exploration of the force and grip of intense depression, that place where nothing matters.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

I am often intrigued to make work starting from the materials  up. In my last piece Torn – that was paper. In this instance, for NOTHING I wanted to use polythene sheeting. I am interested in materials which are malleable. There is a huge range of potential interactions possible between a performer and large thin polythene sheeting. Polythene can be quite ethereal when caught in the air, and as large as a wall or tough, small and bunched.

How do you feel your work fits within the remit of the manipulate festival?

Given that Manipulate supports innovative and experimental visual theatre work, I feel that my work fits within that remit and I’m fortunate to live in a city with one of the worlds few strictly visual theatre festivals.

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

That depends I think. Performance is certainly an important art form for raising issues, whether it’s a good space for public discussion depends on journalism, reviews, open discussion with the artists and platforms being made available where dialogue can be opened.

This piece explores themes of overwhelm and
being submerged by negative feeling states. I hope it will open discussion around depression and the debilitating effects of low mood. That this is something which could happen to anybody, that it can be part of the human experience and how powerful it is to be taken down by one’s own negative emotions and thoughts. I hope it will give a sense of the surprising grip of depression. 

That those who know will feel a resonance, that those who don’t know will understand more clearly. It is called ’Nothing’ re the point where it feels like ‘Nothing matters’.

How did you become interested in making performance?

I have made theatre shows since the earliest I can remember. Like many kids, performing for their family. The difference is, I suppose, I never stopped.

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

Yes, it is devised in the truest sense of that word. I started in with the chosen material, polythene sheeting, in this instance and used a technique called ‘Listening to The Materials’ created by Rene Baker in which you ‘play’ very thoroughly and sensitively with the material, through improvisation. There was no remit, no brief and no narrative at that point. The emotions, situations and certain snapshot images become clear as you work. 

From those a story gradually evolves.
As a practising psychotherapist I am always interested in themes exploring the personal and intimate experience of the human condition.

Does the show fit with your usual productions?

Yes, I am drawn to text free strongly visual narratives. Working with the materials and individual snapshot images first, rather than starting with any particular ideas or a story or character/s.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

I hope they will feel an association with the performer in dealing with the everyday monotony of life. That they will relate to the overwhelm she experiences, that they will be moved, that they will be interested in what unfolds on stage. Literally, the polythene unfolds as the story and characterisation does. However this is just a short show-of-work-in-progress. God Willing, (God being Creative Scotland), I will be lucky enough to be awarded funding to develop this to a full-length production.

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