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hibernating pandas

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

We've packed our bags, given back the keys, bid farewell, and scattered once again all over Europe and the World!

Our work still echoing in our bodies and our souls, there was no sadness, but exitement about what was still to achieve, and looking forward to well deserved rest.

Projects are underway to find our next host, Finland, Iceland, Poland, maybe even South East England! Soon we hope to be together again and finish climbing this Everest of theatre! I feel we are near, Camp one has been reached, the weather allowing we should be able to make it up there in no time... a few months perhaps!

In the waiting, films to edit, contacts to make, new projects (shorter, down to earth) to be realised, works is not what is missing.

The pandas are at rest, digesting the phenomenal amount of work achieved, the images, the movement, the newly discovered continent...


shinning pandas

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Tonight the pandas have offered a real treat of theatre, mixing movement, Shakespeare's texts and music in the most organised chaos I have ever seen, and yet making sense of all. 45 minutes of pure pleasure, tears and laughter, meaning and question.

This is the performative structure which we will present to an audience starting tomorrow, and I have all the faith that it will stand the risk of being witnessed. What I have experienced today is the birth of our performance, some will say a long time coming, I would argue just at the right moment, when it is ripe, or ready to grow on its own feet.

The pandas were shinning tonight, with a sense of togetherness and meaningfull relations that would have the best companies out there being envious of their skill, if not of their discoveries. But dont take my work for it; as always, come and make your own mind, this work has to be experienced, not talked about.


PANDAS' MASTERS SPEAK (1)

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Here is a quote from Louis Jouvet, sent to us by Nicky, one of the "2011 trainees". As for the Hamlet speech "Speak the word, I pray thee..." it seems a good way of describing what we are trying (and sometimes even succeeding) to do... It goes like this in English :

"You'll only find meaning in the text by trying to speak it, not by acting it. If you try to act it, you'll puff it up, you'll breathe in a certain way that doesnt correspond to the words. It's through the physical sound of the words, through the repetition necessary to speak those words that you'll find the feeling, and that feeling won't be the one you bring to the text through your own little personal emotions." (Louis Jouvet - big big french theatre figure, actor, director)

We are merely trying to speak the text. The rest is music.


BEING PANDAS

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Perhaps it is time to explain a little bit more what it is that the Pandas are doing, what they are discovering - how does it work?

Over the last 6 weeks, a group of actors and musicians from 9 different nationalities have trained themselves in Musicality, Text and Movement. Linking these elements together, in their bodies and their voices, to produce a flow of actions/emotions. The basic "concept" (leading to a methodology, or training) is to make a distinction within the actor (body, physicality, voice) between what is "feeling" and what is "emotion".

Our work, or discoveries, lead us to what we have called among ourselves Emotion Actions (by opposition or complementing the notions of Physical Actions and Psychological Actions).

Using the formidable texts of Shakespeare, the actors are able to embody the text in a continous flow (or "inspired" engagement) EVERY SINGLE TIME they are working with it, making sense of the words and the structure of the text in their bodies and their voice. This is done even though they themselves as private individuals have no access to the language/culture of the text (none of the actors are English mother tongue).

The result is the appearance on stage of characters who have been written by Shakespeare 400 hundred years ago and who's essence (or archytypes) are alive in the space and can be clearly identified by the audience.

It is worth to note that these are at the moment in the gestative state : the form of our piece is still to be discovered. The work and events described above are happening within the private context of our laboratory and as such cannot substain yet the unsuspecting eyes of the general public. We hope however that in the next weeks we will be able to produce this work within a performative structure that will support it throughout its meetings with the outside world.

For this we think we have the ideal vehicule in the story and structure of the first European Novel, namely Cervantes' Don Quixote. The juxtapostion of the world of Shakepeare and that of Cervantes (language, energy, imagination, historical time frame) offers unsurpassed paralleles which we hope can bring back to life the birth of the Baroque individual : the discovery and celebration of horizontal relationships, the birth of the Person forgotten today in favor of the ever so self obsessed and self centered Individual.

Of course what precedes are only words, ideas, concepts, all of which have little to do with our everyday practice and that somewhat colors our work with too strong tones and shades. So the best perhaps is not to talk about our work, but simply to meet it.

On the 28th of August, maybe, if the Pan god of the forest allows us...


ready panda go!

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Tonight the trainees opened the door of their working space to a few kind visitors, showing their process in the making in what has been our last session together.

It has been three delightful and inquisitive weeks of research and training for all of us. I am very thankful to their energy and open mind to what might have seem at times strange and demanding propositions of work. They followed the flow, of impulses, words and actions with cheerful enthousiasm that made our journey together an absolute pleasure.

Thanks also to the support of the Company, who had to nurture their progress and come to rehearsals the second part of the day, the work is growing in our bodies and in our minds.

We open next week our third and final phase of this Residency, and will meet our audience next on the 28th for a presentation of our work. Don Quixote here we come!


pandas watching the sea

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Sur la route boueuse et noire

Le brouillard ne se leve pas

Un chariot grincant transporte

Ma roulotte delavee, mon theatre.

ALEXANDRE BLOK

 

When I was six, we went to Greece and lived on the beach, the mediterranean rhythm relantlessly shaping our nights and dancing our dreams. I spent a whole day building a sand castle, protecting it from the sea. That night the sea took it back, the soft waves eating away my work and leaving soon a flat surface of sand where no trace of my glory could be found. I cried. The next morning I looked at the sea and left the sand to her, letting my imagination recall and re-buit the castle, but my hands only feeling the wind.

We are now entering our final phase of work at the Grotowski Institute. Finding and shaping material, repeating actions, clarifying a structure.

Nothing remains of our work, a few images on film that do not start to show what it is like to be in our space or feel our actor's work. With our training we are re-shaping the nature of our relationship to each other and to what surrounds us. Our journeys are internal, within ourselves. 

A structure is starting to emerge, that will make appearant to an audience the journey taken, the shores encountered, the dead-ends and the true discoveries. Few words now can describe what can only be experienced; it is a good sign.

On the 28th of August we will show something of this journey, open the doors of our imagination to an audience. Do come if you are around!


to be panda

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

After 4 days of training with our new recruits, and 2 days of rehearsals, the pandas are making way, exploring, but maybe this time even finding!

The end of a long road, the beginning of a another, our vocabulary seem to have crystalised in the actors, their bodies, their voices.

Our ship is ready, the sea is calm, we can sail, at last, towards a new continent.

What a joy!


becoming pandas

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

At the end of our first sessions on training and finding our way into our performance project, many thoughts, many aches, many hopes.

When we first thought of doing a theatre version of Cervantes Don Quixote, it was mainly a gift to our friend and colleague Rafal, offering him a possibility to show the extend of his talent by becoming the famous knight.

The project was always going to be challenging, the first European novel is notorious for being resistant to any adaptation into another form than its own. How to translate the images, the complexity, the extravagance into the theatre space? How not to simply illustrate and therefore not to reduce the scope of the novel?

How to make the windmills on stage?

Quite by coincidence, a first revelation came when we added the text of Shakespeare to one of the scene, simply because Rafal only knew the porter from Macbeth that day, and had a go during a scene at the Inn. The idea of bringing the text of Shakespeare to the work made sense, both writers are from the same era, eligibly died on the same day. More importantly they seem to share the same world, almost the same imagination.

It seems that the more we explore Shakespeare, the way the text creates the characters, the movement but also the thoughts and the emotions, the more we find that all these characters could be - or rather become part of the great world of Don Quixote. As if the story of the Knight of the sorry face contained all the characters from Shakespeare. In the story of Don Quixote King Lear speaks with Macbeth, Hamlet woes Juliet, Iago plays with the Three Witches.

Next week we start our training session with 10 trainees from all over Europe, we'll be singing, moving, and playing with text together for the next three weeks, sharing our work and learing from their discoveries.

The wings of the Windmills grind the grain of our theatre.

 


working pandas

Posted by: Matteo in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Now on the last straight line before our 10 trainees hit us with their questions, and inspire us with their work. Before we get there (monday 25th), we still have a few (10) scenes to have a look at, challenge, and be beaten by until... the revelation of their meaning takes us.

Our Pandas are always searching, struggling, and more often than not against their own will, discovering what lies beneath the surface, of movement, of thought, of feeling.

Their way into the text is starting to pay off, and I am happy to report that what seemed the impossible is becoming more and more an open door, a way into a rich world of poetry and meaning, an ever surprising and daring presence in the very fabric of the actor.

It is difficult at this stage not to use metaphores or imagery to describe the various phenomeni I am observing in the performers these days, but so is the fruit of the unknown; a new taste, a new shape, a new emotion thankfully not yet described by words.

More to come in the next few days I am sure, to be described in detail or left to our (your) imagination, but certainly as exiting.

 


pandas in the making

Posted by: tanya in Don Quixote Blog

Tagged in: Don Quixote

Well here we are in our second week of the Pandas Laboratory.

I call it that (laboratory) because the work we are undertaking is a work of transformation of the actor by herself or himself.

Here the actors take responsability for their process, or their engagement with it, while the director helps by sharing what he sees, observes, knows of his own.

Ours is a theatre where the actors do not simply show a technique or a form they have rehearsed, but rather share with the audience the discoveries, often very personal, on how to be together and relate to each other in a different way than their daily life. The hope is that this is something that the audience come to see and experience for themselves with the actor as the channel(s) for their own transformation.

And so with such a high ambition for our work, and where we take our practice very seriously, we are also humble and not take ourselves too seriously, like the Panda in the film, we are aware of our inadequacies, our failings, our doubts. And like the Panda we understand that there are no secrets (or like Brook!), only practice.

To the writers : we should be able to give you 4-5 scenes to edit by next week-end. We have added quite a bit of text from the original propositions, and are now well on the way to a clear methodology for the meeting between Shakespeare and Don Quixote. A few more days still to be able to share with you.