The Space interviewed Justyna Ziarek - the company's movement director and who conceived the ideas behind The Dagger and White Lily - and Kaitlin Argeaux artistic director and co-director. Read an excerpt here:
What are some of the challenges that a company faces when producing an original piece? How about the advantages?
I think any time you are producing an original piece, you struggle with marketing. Audiences seem to gravitate towards well known titles or stories they recognize, so it’s been a challenge for us with this show.
An advantage of producing an original piece is the sense of freedom you experience in the rehearsal room. In devising there is no linear path; we can take our time improvising and exploring. There can be more emphasis on the process, as opposed to just focusing on the outcome. This freedom also extends to the text. Thankfully our writer is not at all precious about her work and she is content for the script to be cut and altered in the rehearsal, as our characters grow and change.
What are the major concepts or themes that Theatre Libre is emphasizing in The Dagger and White Lily?
The Dagger and White Lily is an in-depth examination of the mind and body; how they are sometimes in unison, and other times in conflict. It will explore the human conditions of lust, obsession, brutality, and absolution.
How is the audience supposed to react to The Dagger and White Lily? What are they meant to take away from it?
That everything is not as obvious as it seems. We often label things as black and white or good or bad and it is not always the case. Everything changes and so do our perceptions, thoughts, likes and dislikes, etc. If we don’t take control over our mind, we might end up in a very dark place and only by hitting rock bottom we can begin to change for the better.
What was the driving force behind starting a physical theatre company?
I come from a background of dance and when I studied Meyerhold techniques in Moscow, it changed my entire perspective about acting. As Lecoq famously said, “…the body knows things about which the mind is ignorant” -so we let the body guide us. I was interested in taking classics and finding ways to reinterpret them with less text/more movement.
The Dagger and White Lily is told through dance, poetry, and live music. How challenging was it to create a cohesive production with these three elements?
I think it’s the idea of what comes first: the text, the music or the concept? When telling the story through different art forms it’s easy to sometimes rely just on text or music as it will dictate the rhythm, the style and the whole picture in your head (especially when it comes to music). On the other hand, when working with the movement, it can be a great support, especially if you’re struggling for new ideas.
What drew Theatre Libre to the Space?
We have always loved this venue and its sense of community. When we were looking for a place to put on The Dagger and White Lily, we immediately thought of The Space. The show has overtones of religion and spirituality and we think the Space – a converted church with high ceilings and stained glass- perfectly enhances the atmosphere we are striving to create. We also love how versatile the space itself is, with no fixed seating, the options are endless.
For the full interview, please click here: FULL INTERVIEW
Huge thanks to Adam Hemming, artistic director at The Space for taking the time to talk to us!