In the months October and November 2014 I helped shape and end-direct the performance “Amorf” of the student cohort BA- Theatre Design course at the HKU. In October I helped them devise material by giving assignments and through side-coaching their overall stage-presence. As end-director, I made a montage of the material that the students had been making in the months before. There were some tough decisions involved, particularly because the material needed a clearer focus and direction. The student cohort and the individual members of the collective had different interests and goals that did not yet make up a coherent audience-experience. I worked hard on the selection of the material and eventually also on the different possibilities of placing the different scenes.
All photographs are made by Jos Kuklewski.
The starting point for the group was “greed” and more specifically the idea that everybody is greedy once in a while. The collective started making diverse material from that inspiration. On the other hand, the group also asked for a coherent (and even dramatic) narrative, which is always a difficulty when working on performance created from techniques of assemblage and assembling. Eventually, I managed to create two small lines in the work. One that revolved around two characters,” eaten” by greed, which is represented as an amorphous creature made of living bodies. Another around the other stage personages, who were presented as contestants in a show about “wanting more” and who were also the living bodies of greed.
Working with the students from Theatre Design asks for a performance that has a visual dramaturgy. Funnily enough, it seemed that members of the group still had to be persuaded that a visual dramaturgy can have a strong logic and effect on its own. A strong decision that they made, in the beginning, was the use of another stage curtain, that closed off the performance arena from what was outside – but still visible behind – it. Trough this curtain we were able to create dream images that became stronger through an interplay of more warm and cool scenes taking place in the arena. We also worked with abundance and lack and created physical effects through the use of light and sound.
The light design was in the hands of one student (Irene Lehtonen), who worked together with the technicians of the theatre and myself. She did a great job, both conceptually and practically. The sound design was also made by the students themselves (Bente de Leeuw & Pluck Venema), with the help of an experienced sound-designer in Utrecht (Mark Bergwerff)
“Amorf” was made by: Floris Barnhoorn, Michelle Broecks, Anne Foekema, Marcel Kranendonk, Bente de Leeuw, Irene Lehtonen, Anrea Lewis, Yami de Moel, Annelies Shakison, Pluck Venema, Roxanne Wilm, Sanne van Winkelhof
end-direction: Charlotte Poos
coach students: Wilfred Hermkens, Trudi Maan
All photographs by: Jos Kuklewski