The Theatre Season [REDUX]

2016

First Artistic Part of the Doctoral Artistic Research: Heterochrony, Multitemporality, Idiorythmie at Play; Artistic Research Through the Expansion of the Theatrical Co-presence at the Time of the Acknowledgement of the Anthropo(s)cenic Turn.

This first artistic part consists of the exposition of the project The Theatre Season.

The exposition The Theatre Season [REDUX], diffracted in two proposals, The Theatre Season [INSTALLED] and The Theatre Season [LECTURED], is displayed simultaneously in the Theatre Academy and in the Performing Arts Lab (ETLAB) in Helsinki in October 2016.

The Theatre Season [REDUX] re-stages, re-visits and re-constructs through an installation and a screened lecture the one-year project The Theatre Season that took place in the vicinity of an abandoned outdoor stage located in a public park in Helsinki from May 2015 to April 2016.

The Theatre Season [PROJECT]

The Theatre Season took place during one year in the vicinity of an outdoor stage located in a public park in Helsinki from May 2015 to April 2016. It was developed through twelve ‘pieces’, tautologically named after the month during which they were taking place: Piece of May, Piece of June, Piece of July… The Theatre Season was based on a double dramaturgy: 1. A readymade strategy which consisted of inviting spectators during a whole year to experience this outdoor theatrical apparatus per se and the perception of the metamorphosis of its close environment as an evolving ongoing ‘piece’. 2. A monthly production of a gesture of mise-en-scène on the site was proceeded every first morning of a new month by adding a narrative element in relation to the original function of the site, the staging of outdoor pieces, and according to Roumagnac’s artistic identity i.e. theatre director. Prepared or residual scenographic elements (e.g costumes in May, fragments of decor in December…), remnants from past events or settings for future representations, partial modification of the stage (e.g. paint renewing in July) or of its close surroundings (e.g. addition of artificial flowers in June), would be several stategies to mark or to trace the site with an expired or forthcoming theatrical performance.

The Theatre Season was the first experiment of the research project on temporal turn in contemporary theatre on the brink of ecological collapse. The project questioned and developed a practice of eco-theatre within the actuality of rethinking and revising, through a time-specific perspective, the interconnection in between theatre and ecology in the time of the acknowledgement of the Anthropocene. Hence The Theatre Season critically engaged with a certain eco-dramaturgy on the alternative temporality of staging/spectating outdoor theatre pieces based on the double regime of attentiveness and revenance.

The Theatre Season [INSTALLED]

The Theatre Season [INSTALLED] consists of a large installation in the main theatre of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki. It is presented as an installation and at the same time as a performative report of the former project The Theatre Season. The open air theatre is represented in the installation through a full scale model of the bleachers and the stage, and the park itself through the huge carpet of plastic lawn on which these elements are situated, together with a screen. The scale of the entire installation causes it to be an immersive environment that the viewer is invited to carefully inhabit as both spectator and performer. While the model of the bleachers and the stage are constructed from solid iron and thick plywood, the screen is of a less solid nature and does not appear as a part of the outdoor theatre model. On the screen there is a looping projection of a 67 minutes’ video. The video mostly consists of black and white images, footage documenting the one- year project in the park. The images have been re-shot with a digital camera through the surface an iPhone screen. This gives the images a specific appearance, such as high contrast, and materiality, such as reflections, as well as making them seem to withhold information. A subtitled voice-over addresses the viewer directly and confronts him/her from the future with what he/she experienced from the initial piece in the park, as someone who has contingently witnessed the events that, apparently, occurred there during the project decades ago. The narration follows a linear pattern of months from May (beginning) to April (end). Dramaturgically, the plot ends with the stage apparently being set on fire, probably by the director himself, although the narrator suggests it might have been ‘you’ (the viewer). Audience members receive a pair of white protective ‘boots’ that they have to put on before entering the installation. The lights are sharp, directional and white (daylight temperature). The installation invites the visitors to enter an anticipated memorial for 20th century outdoor theatre.

The Theatre Season [LECTURED]

The Theatre Season [LECTURED] is a 42′ lecture that was video-documented with two cameras in the beginning of October 2016 on the site where the project The theatre Season took place. Roumagnac lip-syncs a pre-recorded version of the lecture, performed on the stage of the replica of The Theatre Season [INSTALLED]. Another recording overlaps the first track; it consists of the soundscape of the silent lip-synchronised sequence filmed on site. This second recording intermittently recovers the voice of the lecturer, producing waving interferences from the close environment. The lecture is an augmented writing of an introduction to the research, based on the project The Theatre Season, which was given in the Department of Communication of the University of Montreal in March 2016. The Theatre Season [LECTURED] is proposed as a metacommunication, both on the project and on artistic research, coupling the question of how to convey the research topicality by playing with the academic format of a lecture and, at the same time, of how to adress the thresholds between scholar discursive practices and artistic research expositionality. The Theatre Season [LECTURED] is thus at the same time informative and disruptive, both an attempt to critically deconstruct academic epistemic demand and an experiment on communicating on the topic itself i.e. the disturbing dynamics of the permutation in between backstage agency and anthropo-logo-centrism.