Friday, March 01, 2013

Lepage's Cards - intercultural devising and technology

Well into the second week of our tour of Consumed, and I'm sitting in the Rich Mix, during the fit-up for tonight's show.  So far it's been a fabulous journey, with terrific reviews and an ecstatic response from the audience.  On Tuesday night we were in Leeds, with an audience largely composed of Chinese speakers.  It was fascinating to sense the show changing because of the languages spoken in the auditorium.

Last night was a night off, so I went to see Tony Guilfoyle, who was so central to the devising of Consumed, in the Robert Lepage production Cards at the Roundhouse.  Tony was fascinating as ever, playing a former gambler, whose life is collapsing around him.  It's probably the strongest storyline in a mesh of different plots characteristic of Lepage.  Tony's presence in the play, plus it's multilingualism, its use of technology (less so than in some recent Lepage shows) inevitably invites comparison with our own work - though in many ways it couldn't be more different.

It seems to me that Robert is increasingly interested in form, rather than necessarily working from content.  His interview in the programme is almost entirely about the challenges of working in the round, and what impresses about the production is its staging.  Tony showed me the rabbit warren under the stage afterwards - the technicians race around on little trolleys, and move the revolve lying on their backs.  The actors pop up from under the stage - emphasising the verticality of the circular space.

For us too, form was very much a start point: Consumed is in many ways a response to new technologies, and I wanted to express that through a multimedia form that enabled us to dialogue with the technology.  Multilingualism was also a formal start point (necessitated by the casting), which also came to be part of the meaning.  I tend to feel that's the key in this kind of work - form and content operating in close dialogue with one another.  Our theatrical decisions coming to reveal meaning.

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