A question of style

7 Dec

So, we are rocketing through our rehearsal hours for Trojan Barbie’s staged reading with Cutting Ball. Jayne Wenger has stepped in as director as–in a rather dramatic beginning–my nominated director Mei-Ann Teo was stricken with a nasty virus and had to stay in bed instead. But everyone’s rallied really well. This play is a collision between Euripides and contemporary warfare, so we have ancient Greek choruses smashing into a kidnapped English tourist. I’m aiming not so much for anachronism and the dramaturgy of the fragment (a la Charles Mee) as a smashing together of worlds while each keeps its own integrity. One of the seed images from contemporary life that inspired this play was the siege of the Church of the Nativity by modern Israeli soldiers–the ancient and the modern colliding along the faultline of war.

In terms of the play, a lot of its meaning comes from the formal experiment of colliding styles, and what I’m really interested in as we work is the way that the heightened, presentational style of the Greek chorus (with its poetic language and declamatory tone) sits alongside a more vernacular, modern language. So we’re doing lots of experimenting with Choral tone, and the humor and shock that comes from the collision. It’s a strange process, translating a play written in images into the kind of reading where the image world will come across. It’s almost like one of those Babelfish processes where you translate into Spanish from English via German—to create a thing that exists only in the form of the reading. It’s not only the oft-noted tendency of readings to train playwrights to write for chairs, but the theatricality in and of itself, of the reading as a hybrid performance form. It’s an advanced form of moon-pointing (as in the Zen parable).


One Response to “A question of style”

  1. trying October 5, 2015 at 12:08 am #

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