Kneehigh Theatre. Frantic Assembly. Punchdrunk (the ensemble that brought you Sleep No More). What do these three theatre companies have in common? Not only are they creating some of the most groundbreaking work in the UK, they also all use devised theatre techniques.
Devising is a method of theatre-creation where a group of actors, often led by a facilitator (director), work together to create an original production from scratch. What might a typical day look like on a devised production? When you come into rehearsal, you might be put into a small group and given a pictogram from Yang Liu’s book Man Meets Woman, which explores modern gender roles. Maybe you have a discussion with your group about what the pictogram means, if you feel it’s accurate, and how the idea is (or is not) reflected in your life and your experience of the world.
Your next challenge? Bring this pictogram to the stage! Using a variety of theatre-making techniques (still image, thought-tracking, cross-cutting, hot-seating, marking the moment, etc.), you’ll bring this idea to life, complete with your commentary. Your small group will have 15-20 minutes to come up with a short piece of theatre. Afterwards, all of the groups will share and then reflect on what’s working and what could be added in future versions.
Maybe you refine the work that you’ve already created; maybe you come up with something completely new. Or maybe you team up with another group and blend your ideas together. Who knows? Anything’s possible in devised theatre! Regardless, after you’ve all been working for a while, the facilitator will sit down, help the ensemble pick out its most cohesive material, and then string it together into a story or sequence. Then it’s back to the drawing board, as you work on the next part of the performance!
This season’s devised production will be inspired by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo’s Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a collection of new fairy tales about the real lives of women. “We know children’s books are still packed with gender stereotypes,” they reflected in a recent interview. “We know first-hand how hard it is to succeed, to be considered, to be given a chance.” If, like us, you follow Rejected Princesses and wonder why Disney isn’t telling more of THOSE offbeat stories about warriors, tricksters, anarchists, criminals, and princesses that revolutionize nations (instead of just falling asleep), then this season’s production is the one for you.
(Both women and men are invited to audition for this production!)
If you’re interested in new methods of theatre-making; if you enjoy playwriting and/or directing just as much as acting; if you want to create your own material instead of performing someone else’s; or if you’re just not into musical theatre, consider auditioning for Rebel Girls [Devised] this summer!
Posted on Feb 15, 2018 in About NTSABack to Posts