When it was revealed that the work for A Handful of Leaves would be a devised theatre performance, I was immediately reminded of the Scrum software development method. There are risks involved with both processes: They both depend upon iteration and introspective course correction throughout the process, and they are designed to promote creative, collaborative contribution and involvement of all members of the production team. The performance and script will be devised by the actors and the director, and so shall all of the supporting elements of the production be devised by the students of this class. The supporting media and supporting production materials created by the class will be its own sort of devised work.
As with the Scrum development methodology, the success of the project requires the engagement and honest feedback of the members of the team. In an effort to make sure that the supporting media that we create for this production pays the proper respect to the source material, I will make my best effort to point out things that I think do not quite communicate the tone and message appropriate for the subject. I encourage fellow classmates to please do the same.
Grotowski’s Akropolis resonated with its original audience, in part, because of its effective use of supporting thematic elements. In this example, this was achieved by surrounding the audience in a simulated crematorium and dressing the cast as concentration camp prisoners. The large canvas of the REVE allows us to incorporate any imagery that we can imagine. But, before we put any images on the screen, we should be sure to ask a few questions:
- Are we putting these things in because we “like” them, or because they communicate something? “It’s cool” is probably not a very good reason to include it.
- Does this support the setting?
- Do these elements reenforce the tempo and motion of performance?
- Do the sounds and images support the emotional tone of this part of the story or do they create dissonance?
- Do these images and sounds support the message, themes, and objectives of this piece?
As we learn more about the performance, we will be better able to make decisions about how best to support it. I think we are off to a good start (especially considering how little we know about the final performance at this point).
Let me know what you think in the comments. Any extra questions that you think we should ask ourselves during the process, or disagreement and corrections to any or all of what I have written here, are welcome.