Thursday, 22 January 2009

Vagabonds and Slumdogs!

Great news from the scholarship committee this morning that Ian has got start up funding to establish an in-house company, Vagabond Flag. Initially the idea is that over Easter Ian creates a director free environment with an ensemble of ten professional actors, to explore A Midsummer Night's Dream working as closely as possible to the original collaborative rehearsal conditions.

Underpinning the work is a reclamation of Shakespeare's language as the source of production decisions - a move against concept driven direction. It's an exciting plan and can lead on to all manner of research into the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage potentially including practice based research into the difference between the Quarto and Folio editions, single sex productions, the use of boy actors, different models of rehearsal, the learning of parts, doubling and original staging.

I also suspect that the relegation of the director, might unmask some interesting truths about the limitations of current production processes. The director as auteur is such a recent concept in the history of the theatre that I often wonder if it's just a phase we're going through. Will actors always need the outside eye coaching, relaying impression, validating or questioning decisions? Or do the best of them have the ability to both inhabit a role and stand aside objectively from it? I'm certain the old Commedia actors just self-regulated and let the audience shape the work through trial and error. They had to get it right or they wouldn't beg enough to eat. Is the director an indulgence? Perhaps needing to sing for your supper produces more impacting performance? Maybe the director is the inevitable consequence of bringing theatre into a building and selling tickets.

Later this evening I threw the marking to one side in favour of Slumdog Millioniare - which is an absolutely fantastic film about karma ... and how to get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet! Kind of feel cinema was invented for movies like this so I hope it wins a shed load of Oscars. Today's been a day for the nice guys!

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