Notes on Making Theatre

A seed is all it takes for the beginnings of a creation. Little by little it evolves. Sometimes it is scary to think what it might become or more so what it might not become. But sometimes it is wonderful to see your creation grow and if you’re lucky enough, you might just be able to share it with others.

la pest umbrellas

 I am currently in the midst of producing, directing and designing my second show ‘La Peste’. It is a devised piece where we started with an idea, five performers and a great essay written by Antonin Artaud,  ‘The Theatre and the Plague’. I like to start the development process with the ensemble by walking into the space with just an aim, for us it was ‘To make the audience question their morals’. Then, as Jacques Lecoq said, ‘The only thing to do is to remain silent and something will happen’. When I was studying at Lecoq in Paris, we had an assignment to create a mysterious bouffon. I was playing with form and the human body and created a monster from objects I found from my wardrobe, and discovered that coat hangers and stockings can create the most fabulous shapes. From here I started to create an image of a terrifying parasite, I was joined by a peer of mine in this creation and we started to experiment with excerpts of ‘The Theatre and the Plague’, and created an image of society giving birth to the plague. Two years later and after a lot of thought I decided to continue with my idea and develop it into a show. After holding workshop auditions to find collaborators that could move expressively, who were open to sharing ideas and open to developing on the floor, I found some excellent and diverse performers to work on this project. We started rehearsals with an empty space a bunch of umbrellas, torches and some funny looking prototype monster costumes. I might have lost two cast members that day (not sure if it had anything to do with the monster costumes) but hey, found a new collaborator, the rest have stuck with it and we are enjoying rehearsals… maybe a little too much at times!

plague monster
Exploring in the Grande Salle at Jacques Lecoq

One of the hardest things in running an independent theatre company is finding collaborators who are committed, disciplined, and passionate in creating new theatre. During this production six people from different departments have come and gone. The only way to deal with this is to think pragmatically, keep going, be organised and find the people who want to create with you! After all the show must go on! We are now five weeks into the development, with only three weeks to go until we open! It is amazing to see what we can produce in such a short amount of time. I’m enjoying learning from the experience of putting on another show and designing for the first time also! By Nadine Dimitrievitch

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