Emerging from the Kunst-in-a-kit
It’s been a long while since I’ve personally hid behind anything so predictable as a character, scenario, costume and a minutely chiseled script. Let’s just say: it was about time…
A project had fallen into my lap. Funding was at least partially secured. It could readily slot into a working premise of exploring infectious warmth.
The Kunst-i-kit scheme was inspired. Identical packages available to 30 groups of performers, who would then commit to presenting work in at least one of the five major cities of Norway. In each kit, 11 artifacts from an array of contributors around the country; some were large and tangible, others conceptual. Among the two videos, a sound library, some literary snippets, and a hand-wired electronic instrument, were a jumble of plastic tubing, 120 m of vital reindeer herding equipment, and a diatribe from a newspaper. Something for everyone; some things that were quickly set aside.
I didn’t want to do this one alone. Fishing around for a suitable sharp,
I had a sudden late night inspiration (Perhaps in the depths of an influenza fever.) Marseille actress/
director Sabrina Giampetrone had been fatefully billeted at my place during the previous Bergen Tango Marathon; she had supplied a useful prod when the offer to play HRH Lear had landed in my mailbox. We’d kept contact; although inconveniently located, did she fancy a Norwegian tour in a year’s time?…
Once the last completed kit was delivered from the workshop to occupy my vestibule, it was opened via Skype. As I unpacked the KiK carton and displayed each item, Sabrina’s prejudices echoed mine to an uncanny degree. For our first week of rehearsal, we had agreed that I needn’t haul along the bulkier items. The two pieces that would form the core of our exploration were both hidden in the depths of the kit beneath the more ‘theatrical’ items: one, a revised outline for the rules of research, became our dramaturgical framework and lodestar; the other, documenting the demise of language
in the on-going political debate, became our cause celebre. The other elements hovered around in anticipation; gradually most of them at one time or another were offered at least a supportive role.
We summarized our week in Marseille as having unearthed a solid working premise:
we would experiment with the provision of solace to those wrestling with the pervasive rhetoric of chronic denial within the procedures as laid out in the KiK scientific method. The Kit would provide…
Our core writing period was set at PAF (Jan Ritsma’s artists’ co-operative retreat in the Champagne.) Time was tight, we worked convincingly. Flexibility was fortunately accessible, and we emerged with a solid scenario and a promising script.
The following note was posted to Kik command central….
Several of the KiK elements had their most important role during the rehearsal stages: informing the actor’s homework, interwoven into the improvs, before then becoming submerged as subtext; invisible to all but the community of initiates of the piece as performed:
Element #2 became the backbone of our fiction, element #3 put meat into our scenario, #7 catalyzed a key early improvisation. #9 has discretely been with us the entire journey; the unused treat of #12 further fleshed out our approach. Element #4 is retained as a default setting for our 2nd edition. Element #1 was used to set the tone for our first rehearsal, and then lurked patiently in the background for the longest time, before finally emerging as a parsley sprig/afterthought.
The Institute for Non-toxic Propaganda : “G+”
Our prototype of a self-improvement regime dissects the mechanisms released by our daily contamination by the Language of Denial. Using the scientific instruments provided by the Kunst-i-Kit, our performance-enhancing experiment is designed to distill the essence of this contamination into a condensed metaphor: how the dismissal of language enables The Death of Reality. The subject of this experiment is not the poor KiK actor, but rather the words that have adhered to the process: Are they retrievable?
Due to the trilingual nature of our research laboratory, the performance is played (mostly) in English.
experiment design: Sabrina Giampetrone & Bembo Davies
research leader: Sabrina Giampetrone
guinea pig: Bembo Davies