so, the first-coming of our new ventures is this:
seats are very limited but free, so if you are interested in seeing a work-in-progress devised piece of physical theatre about this entrancing form, please let us know. we shall be supplying caipirinhas, nibbles, and a select after-party somewhere slick. watch for more details…
the first great news is that we already have potential bookings for shows later in the year, but they are likely, intially, to be at private events. we’ll also be filming the piece, so will have snippets up to see before longly long.
the process has been a tumultuous affair (well you try scheduling 11 capoeiristas who are working for free!) but illuminating on many aspects of the form. as director my days have been spent reading, watching, listening to and playing it more than ever before. at times i feel more connected than ever too, at others i feel that the history is weighing down so heavily that the game seems foreign, other. there have been times when i have felt very lost to the form, and it to me. but as we are peering over another little ledge in time the picture shifts back into focus and a path suggests itself. for such is the way of the game.
the group is such a unique mixture of schools and styles – students and teachers from Cordao de Ouro, Kabula, Filhos da Bimba, Senzala and the streets of Rio de Janeiro – that i wonder if such a group has ever made such a thing before. there are people who, aside from capoeira, have never performed before – and others who perform all the time. so when we came to pull together what we’d made during the intial workshops, and when scenes just came bounding out of images, and charcters out of scenes, i could barely contain myself for joy.
what we are giving is a snap-shot of various moments in capoeira’s clangingly dark and dense history, and it looks to me at the moment as if they may well come to life. but then, with the material, the movement, the music and the mastery that we are playing with here, something has to live.
and this is almost my favourite part of it: it feels as though the creation now has very little to do with me. we have been playing together for several weeks – only once a week it has to be said, and we are yet to get the whole group together in the same room (aaaaiiiieeee!) – but the group has such a fine awareness of eachother and of the characters and situations that it needs little promoting from me or my sketch-of-a-script before it whirls into life.
a good example of this was when i had an image written down and said “we want to show this person” (Mestre Bimba as it happens, one of capoeira’s greatest characters and therefore extremely challenging to depict on stage) and one of the actors said “we just play the toque, and look to where he would be standing. but he’s invisible. we can’t show him onstage”. and this is more-or-less exactly what i had written down. i think this is when you know an idea is a good one – when someone else has it independently of you.
so, with only a few hours remaining there is still a long way to go. this sunday our group of women join us for the first time (it was an insane decision to leave it so late for them to join “because that’s how it happened in real life”. da licenca!) and we will work our way, roughly, to the end. on tuesday Mestre Poncianinho will visit to lend his eye to the movement as we polish what exists so far. the following sunday we will add music from our mini-bateria, and then on monday we work with tech.
it somehow seems very far way, though it is only now 12 days. but in the development of the piece, and in the learning that will be done along the way, it’s somehow still quite a considerable amount of time.
i hope that you will join us on the 21st – just shout for a seat to be saved.
warm wishes e um pouco de malandragem,
imogen/ resistencia/ patsy’s bestest friend xXx
Tags: acting, alegria, angola, arte, bateria, berimbau, brasil, brazil, capoeira, chains, character, cordao de ouro, devised theatre, directing, filhos da bimba, film, history, image, jogo, joy, kabula, london, magia, malandragem, malicia, mestre bimba, mestre pastinha, mestre poncianinho, orchestra, performance, physical theatre, quilombo, recife, regional, rio de janeiro, salvador, script, senzala, sketch, slavery, stage, theatre, workshops