Two experiments were my most thrilling theatre events of the year
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois
Nearly two decades ago, when Steve Galluccio was just at the beginning of his illustrious career, he was the star of the Montreal Fringe scene and I coined a term for the kind of theatre he did: Gonzo. I was removing the word from its Hunter S. Thompson journalism context and back to its original meaning of "crazy and eccentric". It was a term whose time had come: it described the wild, funny and highly theatrical works of the various Fringe festivals and can even be used for the works of Charles Busch (Vampire Lesbians of Sodom) or even Charles Ludlam (The Mystery of Irma Vep). The word stuck to my career and Galluccio's and I'm a little proud of it.
It is made up of artists who are Ready, Able and Willing. It is, therefore, RAW theatre and, mark my words, it will be the next wave in theatre and will shape the next decades.
I am about to coin another word for a way of doing theatre that I find absolutely thrilling. It is born of the economy we live in (and in which theatre has always lived) - substituting imagination for wads of cash. It is done on the fly - only rehearsing and performing as much as the budget (including paying artists!) will allow. It is made up of artists who are Ready, Able and Willing. It is, therefore, RAW theatre and, mark my words, it will be the next wave in theatre and will shape the next decades.
You can get some idea of how it works in Jeremy Taylor's and Tanner Harvey's article about their production of Big Plans. But where you will get a more complete idea of how RAW works is in an hour-long interview I did with Taylor and my cohost Estelle Rosen for episode 20 of the podcast, This Is The CPC.
On opening night, Taylor tells us, the play was particularly raw (there's that word).
In a nutshell, director Harvey decided to do Taylor's play Big Plans but to stay within a small budget. This meant they would rehearse and present the play within less than two weeks. On opening night, Taylor tells us, the play was particularly raw (there's that word). Talkbacks with the audiences followed each performance and were sometimes fairly harsh. Rehearsals continued during performance days and at the fifth performance the team was fairly happy with the results and, particularly, with what they had learned from the experience.
I am fairly certain this is not an utterly new way of doing theatre (summer stock has a similar modus operendi) but it is a process whose time has come. I was excited as a kid at the circus just hearing about it and imagining where this train would go.
Meanwhile, over at Montreal Improv, Vinny Francois directed two enormously talented actors - Kirsten Rasmussen and Dan Jeannotte - in an improvised long-form drama, another kind of RAW theatre. My review gives you an idea of my giddiness about the form. I was ambivalent about improv, but this one evening changed everything. You know that feeling you have when you know you're getting hooked on something? It was like the first time I played GTA or WoW.
And now RAW...
I will be back with a new After Dark on January 3. Until then have a safe, festive holiday season. (CharPo-Mtl and CharPo-Cnd will be running lots of content everyday during the holidays - so check in for some great lazy-time reads.)
Post a Comment
Please read our guidelines for posting comments.
Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.