Sunday, February 27, 2005

working in theater

so based on a couple of super-short conversations i've had with some baggies, i've included you guys in a grant i'm writing about an upcoming show. at this point, these are simply ideas - no committment is required. i talk about soft city cause that's the only think i know about. let me know if this is okay. it's going to the tac and the oac - where we get stable funding and to the cananda council where we are trying to get stable funding. let me know if any of this is problematic.

The Encyclopedia of Us – workshop

The Encyclopedia of Us is a new work and a cross-country collaboration between Mammalian Diving Reflex and Vancouver’s Theatre Replacement, a new company formed by former Boca Del Lupo members Maiko Bae Yamamoto and Jaime Long. In January 2005 Darren went to Vancouver to collaborate with Theatre Replacement on their inaugural show, The Empty Orchestra, serving as co-writer and director of the piece. During rehearsals The Encyclopedia of Us was conceived.

The Encyclopedia of Us will combine the interests of both companies, utilizing Mammalian Diving Reflex’s obsession with text-based idea-driven works, and Theatre Replacement’s dedication to a physical vocabulary and developing material in rehearsal. With Mammalian Diving Reflex, we usually have at least a first draft of the script before we enter rehearsal, while Theatre Replacement begins with improvisation, working on their feet to find characters and circumstances, and only later sitting down to hammer out text where required. With The Encyclopedia of Us we will challenge both companies by combining these processes, spending time as a group in rehearsal at our laptops, as well as jamming on our feet.

At this point the details of the piece remain vague but the parameters strict. Traveling through the alphabet we will share with the audience small details of our lives that explore the theme of friendship, the mechanics of friendship, what it means to be friends, the lifeline of friendships and the challenges to friendships. Building on the more recent relational approach in Mammalian Diving Reflex’s work, we will use ourselves and our lives as material, creating a gently interactive piece that attempts to bring the possibility of friendship into the theatre.

The Encyclopedia of Us will begin its creation process with a two-week workshop at Toronto's Theatre Centre as part of Mammalian Diving Reflex's annual residency. Theatre Replacement, (Maiko , Jaime, Vancouver director and broadcaster Adrienne Wong, and actor Hazel Venzon) will come here to work with Darren, Naomi and videographer Jon Sasaki to amass the base material for the show.

Discussions have begun with Toronto craft collective Benevolent Arts Guild (BAG) to possibly use their work as a set, in particular their current project Soft City, a replica of a city made from felt and other soft materials. BAG members include Darren, Yvonne Ng, Jason Van Horne (from the City Beautification Ensemble) Rose Bianchinni and Catherine Stinson.

In preparation for our workshop a year from now, Mammalian Diving Reflex and Theatre Replacement have set up a Yahoo Discussion Group and have begun to toss ideas back and forth across the country. A workshop in the fall of 2006 will be hosted by Theatre Replacement in Vancouver, with the goal of premieres in both Toronto and Vancouver in the spring of 2007.

Comments:
this sounds good to me. i really like the part where you talk about how the 'actors' speak about friendship, the mechanics of friendship etc. i was just thinking the other day how there needs to be more categories for friends. it was sparked from this conversation with yvonne and jason about the 'best' friend. when your in elementary school and/or high school usually you have a best friend that you spend the majority of your time with. yet as we get older and amass more and more people the categories become less simple.

for instance a friend of five years or more, who knows your inner demons, should get a different term and consideration than a friend who is more of an aquaintance and you would never call on the phone. yet we call both of these people 'friends'. its so odd.

just something i was thinking about. sounds like a fascinating project in general.

good luck with that.
 
possibly making a soft city set sounds super exciting. uuuuuupbag!
 
This sounds very interesting to me too. I know what you mean about categories Rose--categories become apparent/seem inadequate when they suddenly shift on you. In the past couple of years, all of my relationships have altered themselves drastically. Friends that I have had since grade school that I assumed I would have in my life 'forever' no longer speak, after years of growing more distant and having less in common. Relatively new friends have become a great source of support and inspiration. It seems strange to feel that people I have known for a few months seem to understand me better than people I have known for years. It is interesting to ask questions of these relationships--and the cycles they go
in. Its so common for romantic relationships to be stripped down to their girdirs in an attempt to understand them (anyone seen closer?)
 
by the way spelling of last name b-i-a-n-c-h-i-n-i
 
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