Tag Archives: co-creating performance

Diary of a collaboration. Day 2.

Sunhee Kim and Jeungsook Yoo

Sunhee Kim and Jeungsook Yoo

Beijing opera. The theme tune for Father Ted. Adrian Curtin’s haiku. Korean traditional dance. Irish folk music. Bach. Cathleen ni Houlihan….

A second day of contrasts and diversity. The gathered ensemble of Irish, Singaporean Chinese, South Korean and American practitioners unpack and display ideas, sounds, music and influences, informed by certain themes from Genet’s The Maids. Jeungsook Yoo shows a courtesan dance from Korean traditional dance, Jing Okorn-Kuo sings the maiden song from Beijing Opera, Regina Crowley shares a Dolores Keane folk song…. all representations of a kind of ‘Madam’ – the beautiful, privileged one from our different cultures.

Again, I am astonished and thankful for the ease with which we collaborate. But it’s not by chance. The shared vocabulary in the psychophysical approach to actor training which director Phillip Zarrilli has developed, using T’ai Chi and Kalaripayyattu helps. All five performers have trained with Phillip over many years.

Jing, Bernie and Regina improvising

Jing, Bernie and Regina improvising

‘It’s a mode of being, of operation we share,’ Sunhee Kim says.

‘But the bottom line is the work,’ Jing adds. ‘It’s a great group of people who walk in to do the work. Having said that, Phillip’s training gives us tools to stay within that work, to deal with the ups and downs – and there always will be ups and downs.’

‘You’re grounded,’ Sunhee continues. ‘The training gives you a grounding and if you’re grounded, you can be moved by other dynamic. If you don’t have a sense of solid ground, you cannot be adventurous, because you’ll be scared about where you’ll end up. Having a practice makes you freer; you’re not rigid.’

Diary of a collaboration. 8 days. Late August 2013.


Where to begin?

The day before rehearsals start. The cliched still before the storm. Or, rather, a very restless, busy ‘stillness’, filled with reading and cleaning and searching and thinking and just standing, looking idly at nothing and everything….

So how do you prepare for a collaborative research and development week with an international group of artists, some of whom you’ve never even met?

We know our jumping off point – Genet’s The Maids. Our director has asked us to gather stimuli and propose specific entry points to themes we individually find in the script.

Various translations of Genet’s The Maids have been read, five beds have been made, bean stew for eleven prepared, travel instructions and directions to a rural location emailed… Music, images, and poetry with some form of resonance have been located, sleep has been interrupted, on and off line research pursued, a Genet biography read, past reviews sucked over, possible costumes envisaged and still I pace and deliciously fret and worry ‘What else…what else?’

One week is a a short time.

One week is a very short time for any form of collaboration, never mind one crammed with ideas and different entry points and diverse perspectives and a large company of five performers, one sound artist, one cellist, one director, three observers and one dramaturg (me). And five languages.

One week is a very short time to begin work with any real comprehension on new material generated by the group, never mind one coming together for the first time with artists from Wales, US, South Korea, Singapore and Ireland.

One week is a very short time to gather recently made material into any kind of comprehensive structure and dramaturgy – never mind then sharing it with a discerning audience of artists.

Which is what we are about to do.

And I shall endeavour to document it this week, end of August 2013.

Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy (and I hope exhilarating) ride.

THE COLLABORATION is between The Llanarth Group (Wales), Gaitkrash (Rep. of Ireland) and Theatre P’Yut (South Korea).

The project will be performed by a five woman ensemble working multi-linguistically between English, Korean, and Mandarin (with possibly Irish Gaelic, British Sign Language, and German), accompanied by two on-stage musicians.

The artistic team includes:

  • Director: Phillip Zarrilli, LLANARTH GROUP (Wales)
  • Dramaturg/Playwright: Kaite O’Reilly, LLANARTH GROUP (Wales)
  • Soundscape/environment: Mick O’Shea, GAITKRASH, assisted by guest musician/cellist, Adrian Curtin (Ireland/UK)
  • Choreographers: Jing Hong Kuo, LLANARTH GROUP (Singapore), and Jeungsook Yoo (traditional Korean dance, THEATRE P’YUT)
  • Performers: Jing Hong Kuo (LLANARTH GROUP, from Singapore Regina Crowley and Bernie Cronin (GAITKRASH)
  • Jeungsook Yoo and Sunhee Kim (THEATRE P’YUT)