Sunday, March 15, 2009

"And now we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as the dining room proudly presents - your dinner!"

Word on the festival proposals came through yesterday. Out of the three my name had been attached to, the one I was least involved in regarding development and the drawing up of the proposal was of course the one that went through. That's life, eh? Doesn't matter, as the company at hand I'll be working with include the ever fabulous creative producer, Maria, and my friend and fellow performing cohort, Lisa, both of whom went through Stage 2 with me, and both of whom I thoroughly enjoy working with in a devising process and on a personal level. The piece has the distinction being the only site-specific offering at this point (it was the only one pitched as such, though others may develop into site-specific work if space is an issue, or if they head in that direction), and revolves around the dramatic repercussions of what can happen over dinner. What will those repercussions be? What space will we finally end up in? What will we cook up for this less-than metaphorical dinner? Who knows. All of these questions will be discovered in the devising process, and I'll tell you when and what we find (without giving too much away, mind). Some of the personal goals I'm setting for myself for this project are the following:

  • To have nothing to do with the actual act of cooking the meal (though I am ready and willing to make cocktails)
  • To have an ambient soundtrack, full of jazz standards ranging from the 1930s-1950s in recording
  • To have Maria sing a song in a very lounge acty kind of way (she does this often on her own without prompting, and it would be lovely to tap into such a natural gift)
  • To create a distinct, interesting, slightly absurdist character for the show. Think Gormenghast.

The last one is a big deal to me, as we haven't really looked at character development and it's something I'm interested in returning to for the sake of my own training and my own sense of what I want my work to be about. Since the course is so focused on teaching us how to work in a devising process with other practitioners with different skill sets, some of our own skill sets get put down or brushed aside for the sake of just creating a "whole" piece of theatre. I feel like I've done a lot of things, but if you flat out asked me if I felt I spent a lot of time actually acting (or at least what I define as "acting") then I'd have to answer you, "No." I understand dramaturgy even more than before I came here, and certain working methodologies have been introduced to me, so that's great. But fine tuning my specific craft? No. No that hasn't happened. So I'm going to try to take this opportunity to make something that really calls on my discipline as an actor AND a deviser. It won't be a French candlestick but it'll be something.

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