Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Concert Party

Way back when I first started talking about Dilemma, Josip Rainer - contributor to our website, Paris-based dramaturg and regular reader of this blog - sent me a fabulous video about the Concert Party tradition in Ghana. I lent it to Elsie, largely to suggest something of the rough quality I'm looking for in the production, and she in turn showed it to her Mother, who seemed to know just about everybody in it. Now it's blossoming into a really exciting production idea. Elsie has been really struck by the way in which the Concert Parties used to arrive in a village, find the house with the biggest courtyard, and erect a stage there out of planks and blocks. In a way, a very similar approach to makeshift touring! She's suggesting that we do something similar with our stage, so that we have a little raised space in the middle of the room. I like this, since it allows me to divide the space without going anywhere naturalistic.

Talking to Elsie about space is fascinating. She's the architect of the new supreme court, so she's very involved in ideas about liberty and equality, and how they express themselves in terms of spacial relationships. There's a theatricality about all courts which she acknowledges - but she's also very interested in the way in which a new way of looking at it might help overturn received ideas about hierarchy and authority in a judicial process which is meant to be about equality but so rarely is.

Fired up with all this, I drove the family down to Devon to spend the weekend with Brian Woolland. On the way, we passed Stonehenge, silhouetted by the setting sun.

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