Performance and Storytelling on the London Stage.

Summer Arts Dispatch from London

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Puppet theatre stafe

The dancer’s foot hovers next to a string. The string is unplucked.

The thought occurs to me that physical proximity and tension on stage both imitates and complicates our human anxieties.

The following is the first in a series of diary entries that track the progress of my Artist Development Fellowship, as I work on a series of pieces for theater using puppets, animations and actors. I hope to share with you some of my experiences and sources of inspiration as I put the pieces together, both on the page and through meeting and collaborating with other artists in London.

This week, I have been working on a dialogue titled “My Holy Water” centered upon a couple’s resentment of each other’s religious rituals. As I grappled with making visual the two characters’ push-me-pull-you vocabulary, I was reminded of I a performance by a theater troupe called Curious Directive that I saw at the International Student Drama Festival a few weeks ago. The performance showed three generations of characters, descended in various ways from a cartographer who has travelled to Norway to chart its mountains.

In a bright, bare room, colored strings were wound from a spot in a set wall and used to separate areas of the stage and cause obstructions to the characters; they were crossed in a grid and then manipulated into the contours of a landscape.

The transformation from map to life and script to live performance was visibly, constantly happening––What worked in a story about people separated by time and space, can work in a story about people separated by understanding too.

Georgina Parfitt writes from London, UK, tracing her artistic process as she works on her summer Artist Development Fellowship

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