Thanks to those who have added things, so far, to the comments in the last entry. It’s really interesting- I’ll be following it up shortly (although feel free to add to it long into the future). For now, variously –
1. Richard Gregory from Quarantine replied to my thoughts about documentary theatre with some beautiful words which certainly help with my confusion about the word ‘authentic’. It looks like I’ll at last get to see their work – ‘Make Believe‘ at the Arnolfini on Dec 3rd / 4th.
I’ve never really thought of our work with Quarantine as belonging to any kind of documentary theatre genre or tradition, as much as it most definitely doesn’t belong with the verbatim theatre trend here in Britain. From limited experience of Rimini Protokoll’s work (Sabenation/CallCutta/Cargo Sofia/the Marx piece) I see some connections but also some significant differences. Yes – we choose to work with what our performers tell us are or remember as factual records of real events but we don’t set out to present this material as any kind of factual record or report of their lives. Rather we use this found stuff as source material and, with them as (usually) performers of their own stories, fabricate (and I choose the word carefully) something that moves back and forth along a line of veracity during the performance. This what interests me I think – exploring and exploding the notion that we can ever be certain of a performer’s or our own recounting of experience. As I’ve said many times before, what each member of the audience experiences is their own take on what that night’s performance offers of what we frame of what we edit of what a performer chooses to tell us about what they remember about something that might have happened. I’m thrilled by the fact that that utterly inauthentic, sometimes downright dishonest thing can be riddled with truth.
2. I spent half an hour or so the other night rapt, listening / watching Susan Sontag talking to a couple of girls from Barcelona: generous, enquiring, even fragile somehow in the way she’s thinking aloud and questioning herself.
3. Ten years ago I was in Napoli with friends, for the new year 2000. I love the city, and i’m excited to be working there next year making an Italian GuruGuru for Napoli Teatro Festival 2010. I couldn’t resist dropping myself into one of the streets in the amazing Centro Historico. Found myself here – (hit the full screen button, top right) – incredible how everywhere you look, just on that one spot, there’s something happening. The man’s face lit up by the TV, the guy warning the motorcyclist (a child?), the woman peering out from the doorway, the sheets stretched across the alley. Looking again, I realise now that I was sat with a coffee in the little outdoors bit to the right just beyond those sheets a few months ago in July; I’d come from a gig in Puglia and had a couple of hours before flying to Berlin (one of the strangest transitions i’d ever experienced). Next to me there was a group of brick-chinned men, one of them with a volcanic, pock-marked face and huge sunglasses. He had just bought a new Ducatti and the others were trying it out, one by one, accelerating helmetless with terrifying roars into these tiny streets, only to reappear grinning 5 minutes later back at the cafe.