Thursday, November 25, 2010

Video with Grotowski explaining his Poor Theatre

If you've ever wondered about Grotowsky explaining his Poor Theatre, here you have a video of Polish television with an interview where the Polish director talks precisely about that  (use de cc button to see English subtitles):

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eonnagata, directed by Robert Lepage at Sony Center, Toronto.

I've just seen Eonnagata, a truly good performance with the best of theatre and dance worlds, where the star is a team of fantastic artists.

Robert Lepage, surrounded by a team of great collaborators, -Dancers Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant; Lighting designer Michael Hulls; Costume designer Alexander McQueen (yes, the recently dead fashion artist); and Sound designer Jean-Sébastien Côté-, has created a big work of art. 

Even when the Toronto producer's publicity uses Lepage's name as if he were an isolated creator, this work couldn't be done without his amazing team; actually, it was conceived by Lepage, Guillem and Maliphant together. 

Two worlds, Dance and Theatre, are there with the best of their traditions and artists' skills (well, Lepage, though not a good dancer at all, is a very skilled actor), and with technology helping all the time to make things appear better than they are; yes, this is an effective machinery for the performing arts and everything works wonderfully well.

There isn't, in this performance of Eonnagata, a marvelous acting work for my spectator memory, but there are indeed visual-and-sound images, and lots of them. It is the first time I could see on stage a successful  game, explored by Bauhaus artists in the 1920's, of lines mixed with the human body in shadows; but I could also see those bodies recreated by sensational costumes designed by Alexander McQueen, malleable costumes, some spectacular, some fine and exact. I know I will remember that marvelous way of dancing (by Guillem specially), and that amazing way to use props and simple objects.

This is a story about a French transvestite spy (a hermaphrodite thought many) living in 18th-Century Europe (1) and this is also the story of how a terrible and strange life can be shown in a very beautiful way. We never see anything discordant or bizarre, even when half of the performance uses Japanese motifs and decorations (that's why the name of the play, of course, E-Onnagata, the female personification role in Kabuki) with a charcater living in the middle of the Baroque epoch. We are there only contemplating beauty, finesse, aesthetics, and curiosity. Yes, we love the character and his/her life, yes, the life of a transvestite, and with such a spectacular performance, who wouldn't?

I wonder about Lepage's obsession for spectacularity and for transforming tragedies or potentially bizarre stories into a kind of fairy tale and beautifully done stage performances, as if he didn't want to face anything from its horrible counterpart. Maybe here is where his success comes from: you can tell terrible things in a very beautiful way, with the best of forms, and with the best artists.

Trailer of Eonnagata

(1) Sadler's site says about: "Eonnagata tells the story of the Chevalier d'Éon, Charles de Beaumont - diplomat, writer, swordsman and a member of the King's Secret, a network of spies under the control of Louis XV. De Beaumont was perhaps the first spy to use transvestism in the furtherance of his duties and until the day he died his true gender was a source of constant speculation, even provoking public bets in the late 18th century."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Mindflux": Richard Foreman and the American Experimental Theatre of our Times.

I really want to share these short videos around a new film about Richard Foreman's life work, Mindflux (, but also some videos that talk about the experimental theatre in USA, where, saying the truth, there is almost no place for it.

Richard Foreman has been a myth without head in my educational life, kind of confusing information coming from his work in theatre, and little by little I've found clues about his legacy. I've never seen a Foreman's work live, but I've seen some productions at his Ontological-Hysteric Theatre venue in New York. 

These videos and what those people in there tell about Foreman's work and theatre making, help me to understand the sourness of American experimental theatre since 1970.

Video Trailer: Mindflux. A Film about Richard Foreman
mindFLUX Teaser from mindFLUX on Vimeo.

Exclusive bonus video from mindFLUX: "On Experimental Theater" from mindFLUX on Vimeo.
Eric Bogosian reflects upon the challenges of being in theater and the importance of knowing your audience.

Exclusive bonus video from mindFLUX: "Authentic Genius" from mindFLUX on Vimeo.
Academy Award winning actor F. Murray Abraham relays the significance of working with experimental playwright, director and designer Richard Foreman.

Exclusive bonus video from mindFLUX: Dafoe on Foreman from mindFLUX on Vimeo.
Actor Willem Dafoe, interviewed here in November 2009, describes working with Foreman in the 1980's.

Exclusive bonus video from mindFLUX: "What Did He See?" from mindFLUX on Vimeo.
Lili Taylor describes moving to NYC in the 1970's and tells of her first experience acting in a Richard Foreman play.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Det Kongelige Teater (The Royal Danish Theatre)

Det Kongelige Teater in Copenhagen, Denmark (October, 2010)

Sharing some photographs of Det Kongelige Teater, The Royal Danish Theatre, the most important theatre building on Denmark, a venue for all officially recognized Performing Arts in this country.

I came to Denmark for a workshop with the Odin Teatret in Holstebro (I'm translating to English my journal of that workshop), and Copenhagen was a nice stop in my way to the Danish far northwest.

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