both magic and work

11 days to 1st preview
25th August 2009
Tech nightmare
1st September 2009

both magic and work

Hola, this is Noelia and my tag in the contact list for this whole Power Point project is ‘intern’, although I do little to deserve it, to be honest.

I am a PhD researcher specialised on theatrical creative processes, and  I am here thanks to the generosity of The Performance Corporation. I have been following this creative process since December, and I can tell you it has been a whole trip from then to now. An insightful and wonderful one. And there is still a bit more to go!

During these months I have learnt a great deal about The Performance Corporation’s methodology and philosophy of work. From a research point of view, it is a highly interesting and unique approach. From an artistic point of view, their work is fantastic, meaningful, consistent, and of great quality.

For all these reasons they are decidedly inspiring, but they have gained all of my respect for their integrity, and bounteousness. The opportunities they give to other artists running programmes like SPACE or Simply SPACE cannot be overlooked. On the contrary, in my humble opinion, it needs to be recognised (and admired).

I am ‘a privileged’ for being allowed to sit in that unique and delicate space that is the rehearsal room. This might sound stereotypical, but it is not. The rehearsal room is a vulnerable space in where there is a constant flow of trial and error, until explorations open up a new possibility that points to an unexpected direction. It is a place where people risk, play, repeat, fail, recover.. in a constant search for that magic turning point in which things feel ‘right’.

I am a privileged, indeed, for being allowed to witness this.

I mostly take notes, or more accurately, do ‘thick description’, as the ethnographers call it, which means that I type down every single thing that happens in the room. One could find such task quite boring. Well, it is not. In fact, it is marvellous to see ‘magic’ unfold before my very eyes.

Gay McAuley  (the initiator of Rehearsal Studies in University of Sydney) rightly points in her article ‘Not Magic But Work: Rehearsal and the Production of Meaning’ that behind any theatrical performance lies a lot of labour. The emergence of this field of study departs from the fact that most of theatrical analyses up to now have either focused on the final product -the performance-, or on the literary analysis of the dramatic text. But the actual making of theatre is not explained by neither of them.

The passage from ‘page to stage’ does not happen by magic, but by work. Hard work. Even as an observant I feel exhausted after rehearsal, because of the concentration, the focus and the intensity of the process. And this, plus the amount of talent concentrated in this particular rehearsal room, is what leads to magic. The magic moments in which, after all the hard labour, a line finds a new unpredicted meaning, a section uncovers its potentiality, and we all feel in the room that something wonderful just happened.

The past three days I’ve been forced to stay in bed due to a flu. And I am really missing that rehearsal room in Castletown: the great team, the fun atmosphere, the humour… But specially, I am painfully aware of all the magic moments I am failing to witness.

Thank you all for both your magic and work.

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