Tonseisha – Pit Lab

I spent 5 days with the saltpeter creative team at the Barbican progressing our ongoing project Tonseisha – The Man Who Abandoned The World.

The Pit Theatre Laboratory Barbican/Guildhall Creative Learning gave us use of the Barbican’s Pit Theatre as part of their ongoing creative learning project. The Pit is offered as a venue to artists, performers and facilitators across all art forms as an incubator for creative work, experimentation and realising of ideas.

Tonseisha, the original play, is by american playwright Erik Patterson. Composer Kim Ashton and I are working with a team from many disciplines to turn it into what I am (a little controversially) currently referring to a a semi-opera.

We’ve been working on the project for more than 18 months now, and are approaching (at an indeterminate speed) a full-scale production. Whether we will progress to a major staging in the future is not as important as working on the project itself.

The idea behind our approach to the week was to allow the designers of sound light and visuals to have the kind of freedom normally allotted only to performers in a rehearsal process i.e. they were allowed to play for the week. Though we wanted to end the week with some concrete ideas (hopefully decisions) about how we will stage a final production, the emphasis was on experimentation. There were games, there was silliness, there was even some rock and roll. We did make use of some text during the week, but this was secondary to everything else, the text (where we used it) was simply a tool to allow us to investigate ideas not associated directly with characters/their thoughts/their feelings. It was a very exciting week…

January 2013 – The Barbican – London

these photographs are by Oda Egjar Starheim

Phil Whelans
Vera Chok
Austin Spangler
Philippa Boyle
Thom Tuck
Phil Whelans
Ilze Ikse
Sean Patterson
Charles Adrian
Satoshi Date
Jonathan Swain
Gary Merry

and here’s a short film featuring images by John Hunter at RULER…