Tuesday, 17 January 2012
Toi Whakaari Vs. Ernst Busch: Super Showing Showdown
Hey Newtown, my one and only,
No one knows me like you do. I miss you heaps of heaps. We are coming home! I'm in San Fransisco. But here's a blog about the last thing we did in Berlin.
So we arrive at Ersnt Busch at around 11.30am and set up for our showing. We'd been given the Heinz Theatre, their largest, on site theatre. So we stripped all the seats and put them on stage in a messy circle, then closed the front curtain to bring it all a bit closer.
After a voice warm up with Runa's personal voice tutor we readied ourselves to show the piece we had explored for a whole month and built in two days.
The doors were closed right up to the time, then we let in around fifty Ernst Busch students and tutors to take a seat on the stage. It was difficult doing it this way. We couldn't make individual connections as strong as we had at the Brotfabrik because the audience was in a kind of stampede formation. The quality of an audience and company working together is much more suited to opening the doors much earlier than people will show up, then the people trickle in and individual or small group conversations can be had.
Anyways! They came in and sat down. The formation of chairs was set up so that we were all in a massive circle.
Harry Fuhrman gives us a fantastic introduction and we go for it! The stakes as actors were higher in this place, being watched by acting and directing students, and acting tutors. I am extremely stoked that we didn't feel the need to push for these stakes though. They helped us get a bit more sharp in places, but on the whole I think the opening we have been crafting, where we ask the audience questions like, "Stand up if you speak english" and "Has anyone been to New Zealand?", helped to change the quality of the relationship to 'co-creators' rather than 'presenter - receptacle'.
The piece itself went well.
Tai in the Medallion Scene with an found Trigorin (as I give whisper prompts).
Two acting students in the Backstage Scene as Konstantin and Nina.
The Success Scene with me as Nina on mic and the company as Trigorin.
Afterwards there was a very rich discussion. It started as a casual talk from mostly our end about how we made the different elements of the show which was ok. But as soon as Jaci asked how they felt about the opening the discussion kicked off! It very quickly became the students arguing with each other about what worked and what didn't. Probably the most effective audience feedback session I have been a part of. The areas covered were:
'Live' performance, what is required for this?
What is the role of community in performance?
...massive. All in all, closing the work with a bang. The reflection the next day showed that, although this company is rounding off, the work is shooting out into many different directions as Holly, Tai, Jaci, Andrew and myself carry the experience back to New Zealand, Ben goes to Australia, Runa, Willem and Thomas remain in Germany. We all have taken different threads, successes and lessons and will be slamming them into our work for years to come.
Thanks for listening, as always, Newtown
Love from Tom.
Ps. four more sleeps.