news, updates, and conversations from Volcano Theatre

Monday, 30 December 2013

Infinity Rehearsal Journal: December 17-20, 2013

Clare Preuss is Volcano's associate artistic director. She's keeping tabs on the beginnings of Infinity, a new play by Hannah Moscovitch currently in development... 

We dove into week two and went right to the heart of Hannah’s incredibly evocative piece.  This team is incredible!  Hannah has found a story line that deeply connects theoretical physics, music, human relationship and the legacy we leave our children.  It is an emotional, thoughtful script that requires virtuosic performance and a highly imaginative creative team.  I come away from the first four days of this week’s exploration truly in awe of the company gathered to jam on Infinity.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the creative team, lead by choreographer Kate Alton, created what I secretly call the lonely atom dance.  It is a beautiful and upsetting piece of dance that encapsulates the tormented love of a husband, wife and their eight-year-old daughter.  I find Kate’s choreography to be quite emotional as we follow daughter Sarah Jean’s attempt to find order in the chaotic reality in which she is being raised.  

Why the lonely atom dance?  Well, first of all, at times in the dance, all three actors look like atoms bouncing off each other, trying to connect but unable to do so.  Also, when Elliot and Carmen meet at a party years earlier he mentions to her that he is a theoretical physicist who studies the nature of time.  They get talking about the specifics of what he does and finally, Elliot talks about listening to atoms and hearing their dull ache, their longing.  Carmen replies "They sound lonely?" and after Elliot agrees she concludes "The atoms are lonely."  It is one of the most beautifully funny and also terribly sad moments in the play and one that I feel foreshadows so much of what comes as these two people begin a tragic love affair and parental partnership.

Witnessing Kate and team co-create this piece is satisfying.  I enjoy how the characters’ journeys are so clear and that this dance in the middle of a text based piece is necessary – the only way they can express themselves in that moment is through dance.  It is brilliant visioning by Ross, Kate and Kong Kie to create a dance sequence at this point in the play and delightful collaboration by all artists to come to this poignant piece of movement.

For the last two days, we’ve been semi staging the play – finding the right balance of blocking and classical workshop reading vibe for our invited presentation on Sunday.  It is wonderful to experience Ross and the team’s innate ability to play with various staging possibilities with courage, speed and precision.  It is delightful to see how different a scene plays depending on the physical relationship of the characters.  I know this intellectually but it feels like magic every time creators put theory into action - as we make choices on stage that fundamentally shift the meaning and impact of the words being spoken.  I think the team has come up with a nice balance of staging and music stand reading.  Of course, we haven’t run it all together yet so, we will see how that goes before I get too sure!  Hannah has been busy writing in TV land all week and joins us again tomorrow.  So, we will show her what we’ve got and then, once we have all tasted what we’ve put together, we can assess the stew we’ve cooked up so far.  

If today’s weepy rehearsal hall is any clue, we’ve got a moving play on our hands!  

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