Narrative Without Dialogue

Narrative without Dialogue.

We envelop you in a story without words, don’t be afraid of the noise.

Rosie O Regan pic John Allen Images

An experiment in theatrical presentation; telling a story without language, thus allowing the work to travel internationally. With our collaborating composers we will make the soundscape interesting enough for a blind audience, yet not become dependant on sound so the story remains accessible to a deaf audience.

Phase 1 of the project: TDC, 23-27 April. 11am-5pm plus a showing of the work on the Friday 6-7.30pm.

Why the experiment?

1) To make work for an international journey; which is not limited by a
language barrier; where sound is a creative impetus, but not necessary
to carry the story.
2) To find the line that puts this piece firmly in the genre of ‘Theatre,’
even without language.
3) To come to ‘story’ through an organic method of physical theatre.

Narrative without Dialogue is a concept based on the desire to take my work on an international journey, which is not limited by a language barrier; to create a story that can be read by the audience, using all of their senses, where ‘language’ is not used to communicate. We are taking language out of the performance, therefore, the experiment takes ‘language’ as our opening theme, the Irish language was taken out of the Irish, this leads us to a possible secondary theme of ‘history and heritage’. The creation of language, learning to speak, communication and misunderstanding, these are the opening strands of exploration. What develops from this is up to the Phase 1 team. The work will explore audience interaction; this does not require audience participation, but rather an encouragement to engage a more than voyeuristic view. Minimal sound and lighting requirements will encourage more organic means of spectacle; directly produced by the performer.

Composers David Duffy and Peter Power, of Eat My Noise, will collaborate by providing music as a creative impetus, and then adjusting any compositions, chosen by the performance group at the TDC, to fit with the more specific story.

Film and photography will be used to document the work-facilitated by Maurice Supple (Blue Shed Productions) & Moira O’Brien (Friendly Ghost Films) (Moving Image Cork).

The experiment encourages creative skills and collaboration in the development of this new form of theatre, and intends to be of an international benefit, creating links between emerging artists and artistic communities. The work will move towards generating interest amongst theatre professionals in many countries, and be the foundation of further international artistic endeavours for the artists involved.

Phase 2-(Dates dependant on funding or support structures available by June 2012.)

One month of intense work on developing the experiment into an innovative performance structure. This is a brief guiding timeline:

Week 1-Enlisting final collaborators. Finalising the 6 performers, who will contract themselves to the proposed presentations of the work for 2013.

Week 2- Identification of story, to be achieved during performance workshop, and based on the work of Phase One.

Week 3-Performance structure complete and one full performance with invited audience for professional feedback.

Week 4-Rehearsal to standards required for public performance. Funding is currently being sought to allow for payment of the performers, and the essential collaborators, during this time of creation of the work.

So far…

Following a JOLT/Theatre Club workshop facilitated by Grace Dyas and Barry O’Conner we created the first ten minutes of the piece. The new strands of creativity from this workshop were Grace’s suggestion to take a more auto-biographical stance with regard story, and a comment from Barry that removing language felt like a violent act. Lifetime Lab was the venue for my workshop with performers Andrew Monaghan, Rosie O’Regan, Mark Cosgrave, Katrina Foley, Mairead O’Donoghue and Kate Grew. As part of the workshop I offered a short script to inform the group in terms of the psychological and philosophical nature of my autobiographical thought processes. They then built a performance based on the immediate creative impetus of that reading; from a one minute interpretation each to a ten minute form, made up of these 1 minute pieces, or building blocks of performance. On day 2 Mairead, Mark, Andrew and I completed this process by once again looking at the piece in terms of my story. Sharing my personal story in this way means introducing a vulnerability that as a director I would generally feel to be inapropriate to my work, for now it seems to result in a more honest and a closer relationship with the performers, this however is emotionally exhausting. My next challenge is to find a way to include myself in the structure of support and care that I generally try to create, from the outside, for my actors. Andrew presented the work at The Studio Theatre in Galway on Saturday 21st, where work was also presented by the other JOLT/Theatre Club workshop participants; Martin Sharry, Genevieve Taricco, Mary Conroy, Richard Walsh and Felim O’hAoláin. The critique was very positive and so we are off to a very successful start.

Our first day at the TDC was very productive. The performers met the composers, and we had created a new piece of the performance puzzle, with their music, so they got to see how their music informs the work. Today’s performance block came directly from a piece of music composed by David Duffy. The direction to the performers was to allow the music to inform their physicality, to allow the physical body to then inform the mind, and to then build character on that structure. Added to this were the relationships between characters and a prop that had come from the morning’s work. I used one of the excercises from the theatre club workshop within my own methodology. We will now be starting each morning with Alexander Technique facilitated by Andrew. This allows me a time to be facilitated rather than be the facilitator, I believe this is the sense of being within the structure of care and support rather than outside of it, as I described earlier, that I require. My story is informing the work, and our ‘story’ is being created by the building blocks of performance that we come to through an intensive period of warm up through improvisation, work with various creative stimuli, and physical contact work. The performers are encouraged to think creatively, to experiment with communication, and to offer the truths of their life experience. The feeling at the end of the day was that any questions would be answered by the continuation of the work, and that the initial ten minutes and its performance in Galway had proved the process enough for them to engage with confidence in its practicality.

A core team have been engaged, however, we continue to invite participants, collaborators, and performers. Participants for Phase 1 may be new to performance, and need not be at peak physical fitness. They must, however, consider themselves to be physically, imaginatively and emotionally loose, flexible and reasonably uninhibited. The process will allow all participants to develop equally; there is no disadvantage, if you consider yourself to be a less experienced performer. Send your CV, and a headshot if available to Less experienced performers should also include a cover letter, which explains ‘why you would like to take part’. We are also engaging collaborators who work in other art forms.


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