the mountain

© 2014, syahirah a. karim

PREMISE

A GROUP OF FOREIGNERS ARRIVE AT A VILLAGE AND ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WILL CLIMB THE LOCAL MOUNTAIN. THE VILLAGERS HAVE NEVER CLIMBED IT AS THEIR FOREFATHERS CLEARLY INSTRUCTED NOT TO. AS THE FOREIGNERS CLIMB, A WHOLE NEW DYNAMIC OF OPPRESSION IS UNLEASHED AMONGST THOSE WHO STAY BEHIND. UNKNOWING OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE CLIMB, THE VILLAGERS IMITATE THE FOREIGNERS, ONLY TO REALIZE, WAY UP IN THEIR ATTEMPT TO CONQUER THE PEAK, THAT THIS IS NOT REGULAR MOUNTAIN, IT IS AN ICEBERG AND IS MELTING. THE END IS NEAR, THE HOPE IS DYING AND ONLY THE STORYTELLERS OF THE VILLAGE CAN OFFER REFUGE.

ABOUT THE STORY

THE MOUNTAIN IS AN ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE BASED ON AN UNPUBLISHED SHORT ESSAY BY AMITAV GHOSH. THE STORY IS A SHORT BUT CRITICAL ALLEGORY TO IMPORTANT THEMES OF THE CONTEMPORARY LANDSCAPE SUCH AS CLIMATE CHANGE, POST-COLONIALISM, FOREIGNERS AND HOSPITALITY. THE PIECE USES STORYTELLING AS ITS MAIN CORE BUT APPROACHES IT THROUGH A THEATRICAL PERSPECTIVE.

OUR DIRECTION

15 SPECTATORS FACE 15 PERFORMERS IN AN EMPTY SPACE. THE PERFORMERS WILL TELL AND PERFORM THE STORY OF THIS MOUNTAIN WHILE THE SPECTATORS, DESPITE EXPERIENCING THE SAME EVENT, WILL HAVE A VERY DIFFERENT INDIVIDUAL TRAJECTORY DURING THE PERFORMANCE. 30 HUMAN BEINGS, ALL OF THEM MOVING IN THE SPACE, WILL TRANSIT FROM REGULAR STORYTELLING TO THEATRICAL ILLUSION AND BACK.

THE EXPERIENCE

THE ARTISTIC PROPOSAL FOR THE STAGING OF THE MOUNTAIN CONSISTS IN A MULTILAYERED EXPERIENCE OF STORYTELLING. THE SPECTATORS WILL ENTER THE SPACE WHERE THEY WILL BE ALLOCATED TO A SPECIFIC SPOT AND FACING ONE PERFORMER. THIS FACE-TO-FACE BEGINNING WILL SWIFTLY EVOLVE INTO A PARA-THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE WHERE THE STORYTELLING WILL ACQUIRE SPATIAL DIMENSIONS, MAKING A POINT TO INVOLVE THE SPECTATORS INTO THE ACT OF PERFORMING. AT SOME POINTS, THE STORYTELLING WILL BREAK INTO MOMENTS OF THEATRICAL REPRESENTATION, ONLY TO COME BACK, ALWAYS, TO THE FACE-TO-FACE EXPERIENCE THAT WEAVES THE PERFORMANCE TOGETHER. AT THE END, THE SPECTATORS ARE LEFT ALONE IN THE SPACE, FREE TO EXIT AT WILL. AT THEIR EXIT, A BOOK OF EMPTY PAGES WILL BE OFFERED FOR THEM TO WRITE ONE OR TWO SENTENCES, THEREBY ENGAGING WITH A COLLECTIVE WRITING. 15 SPECTATORS AT TIME WILL BECOME THE WRITERS OF THE STORY THAT CAN SAVE THE WORLD.

THE PROJECT IS BASED ON TWO MAIN DISCURSIVE POINTS. ON THE ONE HAND, THE TEXT SELECTION SEEKS TO INVESTIGATE HUMAN FREEDOM AS BEING LIMITED BY THE ECOSYSTEM. THIS INVOLVES QUESTIONING ON WHETHER OR NOT WE ARE READY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OUR FREEDOM, THE ONE CONTEMPORARY WORLD HAS EDUCATED US TO EXERCISE MAINLY THROUGH CONSUMPTION, IS A MYTH AND THAT WE ARE INDEED NOT FREE TO WILL. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE STAGING AIMS TO INVESTIGATE A PROPOSITION OF CO-HABITANCE IN WHICH THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IS ACKNOWLEDGED AND ACHIEVED AS A PROJECT OF DIFFERENCE AND NOT OF SIMILARITY. THE ULTIMATE AIM FOR EACH SPECTATOR TO HAVE A RADICALLY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE AIMS TO COMMENT ON WHAT COULD BE ONE POSSIBLE ETHICAL SENSE OF COMMUNITY IN OUR GLOBALIZED WORLD, A SENSE OF BEING-TOGETHER-APART.

REQUIREMENT

TAOS BELIEVES IN CREATING A SUSTAINABLE CREATIVE PRACTICE. AT THE CORE OF THIS PHILOSOPHY ARE COLLABORATION AND CREATIVE EXCHANGES.

FOR INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS, TAOS WITH LOCAL ACTORS OF VARIOUS AGE AND BACKGROUND WILL DEVISE A PRESENTATION OF THE MOUNTAIN THAT IS UNIQUE TO THE AREA OVER A PERIOD OF TWO WEEKS. THERE IS AN OPTION TO HAVE SINGAPOREAN AND LOCAL, SINGAPOREAN ONLY OR LOCAL ONLY PERFORMERS.  

THE NEW LOCAL ACTORS WILL BE SELECTED VIA RECOMMENDATIONS, VIDEO AUDITION AND SKYPE INTERVIEW PRIOR TO THE ARRIVAL OF TAOS. THE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER WILL DECIDE ON THE FINAL SELECTION OF THE LOCAL ACTORS BASED ON THE TEAM’S DYNAMICS AND WHAT IS NECESSARY FOR THE PRODUCTION.

THE TECHNICAL REQUIREMENT FOR THIS PERFORMANCE IS ONLY A BASIC LIGHTING RIG, USED MINIMALLY TO ENHANCE THE MOOD OF THE STORYTELLING. 

COST OF WORK

DIRECTOR FEE

PRODUCER FEE

PERFORMERS X15 (LOCAL/SINGAPORE)

PER DIEM

REHEARSAL SPACE (80 HOURS)

LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT

ACCOMMODATION