The Echo Chamber: rehearsal week one. Friday. Texts and physical structures.

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Ian Morgan and Phillip Zarrilli. Rehearsal photo. The Echo Chamber.           Photo KOR

Our process has been peripatetic and predominately movement-led so far. In our early days of collaboration, back in the Spring, material came from exercises led by Ian in which he and Phillip responded to each other in the space. ‘One moves, one responds’ has proven to be particularly fertile, but this is perhaps to be expected from two practitioners who can count training in Kerala in Kathakali dance theatre and Kalarippayyttu, in Paris with Monika Pagneux, and in Italy with Grotowski at his Workcenter between them.

Some weeks ago I began to write seriously in preparation for these rehearsals, trying to create possible text (usually in solo form – very little dialogue), which might become ‘moments’, or be added to physical sequences or structures. Much of the inspiration for that material was informed by some of the physical scores or motifs appearing in physical improvisations: a hand repeatedly stroking a beard; a seated, cross-armed stance combined with a tilted upwards look; the impulse to fall upwards or outwards; a hand, reaching; stillness.

I was not necessarily conscious of the potency of these physical actions when they occurred (in Berlin in April, in Wales in the spring. in London in November) – but was aware of their potential enough to note them, and for Ian, Peader and Phillip to keep returning to them. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the video also helped (although we had to get by solely on Ian and Phillip’s body memory and Peader and my notes from the work in Berlin, which was without video documentation).

What’s clear in our collaboration is this is co-created. This is not a ‘playwritten’ process, where I create a script and we then work from it; nor is this devising, where I formalise recorded character-based improvisations into text. This will be collaged work – physical structure and motifs combined with texts either spoken, sung, or used as inner scores or internal monologues which may never be spoken. At this point in our process, text may also be a bridging device from one state into the creation of another – to something very different, where that initial text may not be present.

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