29 aug 2015
We like to think about our work. Reflect on how we do things. Throughout June we led a workshop on devised theatre at the library@esplanade. It was great to meet and get to work with a really diverse group of people. Some of them were already professionals, some others were drama JC students, and yet some others attending a theatre workshop for the first time.
One of our central interests in doing this workshop was to think through the history of devised theatre. Devising is not a new way of making a play. It has been around for some decades now and it is so very much embedded into our theatre culture that the Ministry of Education (Singapore) contemplates it in its syllabus for extracurricular activities in the primary education sector. Some even say that devising has been around as a strategy for making plays since centuries ago. They argue that it is simply the way theatre is done: A group of people expressing an idea...? Well, yes. That IS how theatre has been made since who knows how many years ago. So what exactly can devising bring into the picture today, now, almost two decades into the XXI century?
We think that devising - as a methodology and as a work ethics - did mean something important when it first appeared. It meant empowering the rehearsal space as a place of authorship and not anymore as a mere place of repetition. We would like to rescue this idea and we would like to add another thought: Devising should not be a pretext for stage bluff. When we devise we should aim to articulate an idea, collectively.
Next week we will be co-leading a one-day workshop at NUS on purpose of the visit of Dr Simon Jones from the University of Bristol. The workshop is only open for graduate students at the Theatre Studies Program there, so we very are sorry that we can't invite you! However, we will be sharing our thoughts on that activity too as it will be a research session on...yes you guessed it right... devising! Our entry question is this: How is meaning made in a devised process? Let's see where that takes us. More soon.
The Art of Strangers