"I want to open the gate through which people can pass and leave behind their rational minds..." Phillippe Genty (2007)
Imagine actors onstage appearing to run through landscapes or having thrilling mid-air aircraft battles. Imagine further, the scene a theatre set depicts capable of changing instantaneously or able to morph and translate in space, or transpose into or superimpose over another scene. For example, as a character reminisces or falls into a surreal dream, a room could rotate then ‘fly’ off into a distant horizon revealing another bigger world. The visual narrative techniques that are now common place in the world of cinema could be utilised onstage, whilst maintaining the intimacy of real performers in front of you. What would the characters not be able to do.
"We start with the impossible and then we make it happen."
One of our original ideas was to create magic onstage. We didn't quite know what magic was but both of us thought we would recognise it when we saw it. Shows from such as Cirque de Soleil, James Thierree and Phillip Genty, as well as cinema generally inspired us; while the highly bounded scope of post modern dance set within minimal sets gave us a spring board from which to dive into our journey of discovery.
"I remember seeing The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001. When during the final battle scene the camera is flown on a wire as Aragorn rushes to the aid of Boromir something clicked, I felt suddenly there, running with my fellow characters of the film. I was literally being moved in their space. I thought 'If only we could do that onstage, if only we could make the audience feel like they were moving'." Brian Curson 2007
The current form of cinema and the way it has evolved has greaty inspired us. Television and film are now so ubiquitous that contemporary audiences take their understanding of sophisticated cinematic language for granted. They see a film with its montage of clips from different photographic takes and immediately patch them together into a seamless continuum of an imaginary world the characters inhabit (an effect known as diegesis). Modern cinematic language has taken many decades to evolve and is still evolving. The cinematic diegesis isn't created by the application of a single rule, or use of a singular technology. Instead it is the artistic combination of a whole gamut of techniques and technologies that create the final effect. In this sense, cinema is emergent, a whole greater than the sum of its component parts. In some ways we see ourselves as creating what could be a kind of new emergent cinema, but the emergent medium is onstage, with real people inhabiting Real-time Animated Virtual Environments (RAVEs).
For us live performance holds a very special place. Seeing actual people on stage anchors us in the real. In framing them against an immersive and fantastic backdrop, which imparts a sense of fictitious space we immediately create a powerful theatrical juxtaposition. The fast narratives of celluloid become possible onstage.
"In entering a dream state we open our minds to create a more lucid truth. It's something that the viewer assembles for themselves rather than a literal (truth) that is presented by us."
From the start our work has always had a strong surreal feel about it. Dali, Geiger, Escher and others all have inspired us. In some ways modern dance theatre is already a theatre of the surreal. After all if you took modern dance movement language and put it out of context, in the street perhaps, people would generally think you are crazy. If there were several 'performers' or 'crazy people' then passers-by might start to construct the context as one of 'performance'.
Related Pages: A Vision | Aims and Objectives | RAVEs | Workshops Offered | Brian Curson | Robyn Stuart
Living Room (2006)