WORKING WITH DOCUMENTARY & INTIMATE MATERIAL IN THEATRE. DYCP.
I am doing some research and development into working with documentary and documenting process. This research has been funded by Arts Council England through the Develop Your Creative Practice fund.
Through this research I will be exploring working with documented and autobiographical material can be integrated into a theatre process. The research will look at these making processes, working closely with performers and collaborators as well as with non-performers, and using their experiences and voices within the creation process. It will be investigating the ways that we document; film, audio and other and I will be developing my skills in capturing and editing material. I will be researching, observing and chatting to theatre and performance practitioners who work straddling the fictional and documentary genres. I will continue to focus on European and international companies and particularly those who work across borders and languages.
I've dropped some of my research below. I have the full ramble and documentation of this research. If interested then please get in touch to discuss more.
I am in the process of creating a micro-site to put all of this stuff. It is in progress.
Extracts from Case Studies in performance makers who work with documentary, non-fiction and intimate material.
IIPM – International Institute of Political Murder
“From the very beginning, theatre has been an incantation of the dead, a ritualized experience of original sins and collective traumas.” (on Empire – Rau IIPM)
“The core of theatre is the same as in literature: to show what is difficult to show. Theatre should not be a safe place” ( Édouard Louis on Family.)
SC - Rau takes a global focus – Europe, colonialism, national identity etc. almost as the character, as the protagonist and then finds intimate routes to explore that; often with a key story as root and often with personal experiences of the actors / performers inspired by the key story – histories within histories within histories. The micro (the personal) to identify with the macro (universal)
SC - I keep returning to how he plays with non-fiction story on top of story and finds a form and concept which elevates the root of the piece. This is connected to my thoughts around the micro and the macro – the personal and the universal. Also something to do with the idea of expansion and distillation – my coin of ‘let’s find the most distilled way of presenting this’. With his work and themes it is putting the personal into the epic, the epic into the personal – universal and intimate at the same time.
« That is performance, performance is waiting for the performance(…) waiting alone, in the anxious atmosphere, for the beginning, for something to begin, for something else than oneself »
Samuel Beckett L’innommable, 1949
“the three things you need in theatre: the author / creator (that’s me for my own shows), the interpretation (the bodies of the dancers) and the audience. Without the audience there is no theatre..."
SC - I am drawn to the way Bel works with non-performers and performers in a way that is about making them relatable and in relation to the audience. He is not necessarily drawing on personal experiences, although with Cour d’honneur he does – but rather by using and tapping into and presenting things that are personally recognisable to an audience (I loved the Titanic bit in TSMGO and his reflections about that in the interview are great – also the turn of the camera angle on stage – love it.) There is that beautiful little nod you get and little smile when we recognise ourselves and our responses on stage and a comfort in seeing things that are accessible. – music, dancing etc.
In a very different way Bel is doing the same as Rau in these personal and recognisable things being a representation of something bigger and more fundamental.
SC - I’ve been a fan of the company since I saw a show of theirs in Berlin. I like how their work is based in, in some way of other, the performers on stage but how it chaotically expands somewhere else. Always with a mix of movement and dance, installation and art, dynamism, poetic text and the ridiculous.
In common with all of my researched artists and companies – Need Company under the direction (I think always) of Jan Lauwers uses personal and intimate stories to explore larger fundamental themes and in response to huge world events, shifts and dangers.
"It revolves around the individual artist. Everything is founded on the artistic project, on authenticity, necessity and meaning. The medium itself is continually questioned, and there is constant examination of the quality of the content to be conveyed in relation to the form it takes. Needcompany believes in quality, cooperation and innovation."
SC - I love that they don’t shy away from being philosophical and poetic. Making big statements about art but also with an absolute pride in the necessity of art and its place. It’s good to be reminded of this.