A workshop in partnership with La Compagnie Certes.
JANUARY 2019- PARIS, FRANCE
Our second workshop for The Medusa Project is complete!
We gathered for this workshop at Espace Jemmapes, a multidisciplinary community and arts space in Paris. We focused our training time at this workshop on The Viewpoints under the instruction of Anna Donnell.
Our ensemble consisted of Paris based artists including Margaux Devy, Marion Gallet, Victor Boisseau De Larminat, Yussef Larbaoui, Lounis Ould Khaled, Didier Durgueil, and Guilhaine Chambon.
Over the course of our workshop time, we generated poetic and narrative text and movement sequences focusing on Medusa’s story through the lens of Monsters. We spent time on our first day exploring the canals and train stations around Espace Jemappes, searching for images of monsters in the architecture, landscape, and street art. The conversations and writings that came from that work brought us from Medusa’s experience being sentenced to a life of solitude as a monster, to the monsters in our own lives. What does it take to encounter a monster? What does it feel like to be seen as a monster, and dread every encounter with an outsider? When do we discover and come face-to-face with monsters of our own creation?
We also continued our experimentation with integrating Access Design into our devising process. We learned a lot from our work in London, and that allowed us to take more time and care on the elements of Access Design that needed a little more thought and cultural framework at the start of the week, as well as work ahead on the venue-specific needs of the rehearsal and performance. We continue to see that a shared analysis by the artists is integral to the process.
In this workshop we took great care with the concept of gender inclusive language, and how to integrate self-identification and make space for non-binary pronoun usage within the nuances of non-English languages. We had fascinating and encouraging conversations with our collaborators, as well as with those who saw our work at the end of the week.
We also worked with integrated live Audio Description, allowing for Audio Description not only of scripted portions of performance, but Audio Description for improvised group movement pieces that were different each time a piece was performed. Our ensemble was also intergenerational, which offered us the opportunity to continue modifying our work in The Viewpoints to fit our anti-exclusionary mission, allowing for the safety, comfort, and continued growth of performers of different physical abilities.
Over the course of our collaboration with our Access Coordinator Anna Donnell, we were able to share a performance that was equipped with Open Captioning (portions in which Audio Description was improvised along with performance were not Live Captioned. Our goal with more resources and funding would be to offer this service for all performances), integrated audio description, and a visual story and accessibility guide provided to all guests before the day of the performance.
The Paris ensemble was stunningly talented, adventurous, generous, and honest. Our work together was powerfully supported by a spirit of ensemble and genuine trust in one another. At the core of this experience was our local host, GHL partner Iman Kerroua. Not only was Iman pouring her mind, body, and soul into the work as a performer, she also served as our primary translator for the week. This included translating our warm-ups and devising exercises, our training through the 9 Viewpoints, and our cultivation of content. And when our 9 hour days would wear on our bodies, and when words didn’t quite exist in a language, or the 5pm-brain-melt loomed over all of us, there were a few other bilingual ensemble members who were able to help Iman with translation and offer her support. It was truly a feat, and a testament to our efforts in skill-sharing and collaborative resourcing. When a community builds something together, every individual has something invaluable to offer to the benefit of the whole!
The facilitators are now hard at work, adjusting our plans based on what we’ve learned, and setting ourselves new challenges for our next workshop in Piacenza, Italy. Follow our Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our progress!
We are also honored to be supported in the incubation of this project. The Chicago based production company Pop Magic Productions will be supporting the fourth workshop of Medusa in Chicago this summer, and mounting the production that we bring together from all this work, and then tour! This will include rehearsal space and compensation for artists, budget for American Sign Language Interpretation and Audio Description, travel/housing for our facilitation team, and more. If you are interested in supporting this exploration as it comes to Chicago, please visit https://www.popmagic.org/medusa and share with anyone you think would be excited to support revolutionary, intersectional, anti-exclusionary devised theatre.
All donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar by an investor!