quinta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2008

When we do “Physical Theatre”

"Dama Pé de Cabra", 2002
Physical theatre is a growing art form worldwide. In Europe, especially, physical theatre is a known and recognized form, seen most prominently at festivals such as the London International Mime Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and the Odin Festival. Companies such as Theatre du Soleil, Peter Brook's Company, OdinTeatret, and La Fura del Baus have been creating exciting and innovative productions of physical theatre for decades.

Over the past few years, Portugal has seen a growth spurt of artists and companies creating physical theatre.

Physical theatre have some specific features and narrative codes:

Goes beyond verbal narrative, incorporating physical and visual elements on a level at least equal to verbal elements
Is more than simply abstract movement – it includes some element of character, narrative, relationships, and interaction between the performers, not necessarily linear or obvious
Includes a wide variety of styles, approaches, aesthetics – can include dance-theatre, movement theatre, clown, puppetry, mime, mask, vaudeville, martial arts, ethnic dances, acrobatics and circus

Some helpful quotes:

"Audiences today want a real experience in their live performance, because they can get great script based entertainment at home, through various new media sources. Traditional theatre, which appeals on a mental, and hopefully also emotional level, has not been enough to compete with other media, and audiences have been declining. Physical theatre, by contrast, appeals to the audience on a physical and emotional level, providing a much more immediate experience than traditional theatre, and audiences here have been growing. Today physical theatre is a broad term which covers the range of circus theatre forms, clown, mime, mask, commedia, visual theatre, and dance theatre." - from http://www.artmedia.com.au/

"It is not that the body says what the voice is saying. I start with what it is not because I find that most people (even folks in the biz) think it IS that you can say with your body what the voice is saying and I think that is redundant. Physical theatre allows the voice to explain the details and the body to control the atmosphere and changes in the metaphysical temperature of the space. In so doing the body (and body is not simply the actor's body but all the physical bodies that the theatre creator controls the shape of: ie her/his own, the stage space, the sound scap, etc.) creates the perpendicular. This perpendicular creates the intersection of the anecdote and the event. The anecdote coming usually from the text and the event coming from all that surrounds the anecdote (all those bodies)." - from Daniel Stein of Dell'Arte, via network member Kali Quinn

"Theatre is a physical and visual medium, but the play's not always the thing. There is a strand of theatre - the physical and the visual - that speaks a completely different language from the traditional well made play and spans theatre, puppetry, dance and visual arts. This work uses the language of gesture, an area of theatre that in the past was dubbed mime and thought of as entirely silent. Nowadays such pieces frequently include spoken text, but the body speaks as eloquently as the voice, and one of the great strengths of this form is that it can often mine the emotions that fall into the silences between words. Much of this work is devised not scripted, and although many of the UK companies working in this area have been influenced by European traditions, increasing numbers of young companies are developing their own distinct and excitingly high voltage styles." - Lyn Gardner, the Guardian (UK)

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