Editorial

Feature in Issue 14-1 | Spring 2002

Welcome to the Spring 2002 issue of Total Theatre Magazine. As the weather warms up, we take a look at performance work that engages with site – outdoor site in particular. Phil Smith gives us the low-down on site definitions, so you need never get your ‘site-specifics’ and ‘site-generics’ muddled ever again! Fiona Wilkie reports from the Homo Novus festival which encouraged a dialogue between the performing arts and the city of Riga, commissioning works in airports and petrol stations, and our artist’s diary is by Daniela Essart of Scarabeus on their new project Landscapes of the Heart which is inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

On a rather different note, Philip Beaven interviews Cal McCrystal, who made his name as a deviser/director of comic physical theatre through his work with Peepolykus and is currently storming the world with Spymonkey’s Cooped. Another well-known deviser is John Wright of Told By An Idiot. In his article ‘Who’s Writing this Anyway?’ he argues that the trick to successful collaboration is allowing the artist’s ego to take a back seat to the collective process. This is perhaps what makes ‘our’ sort of theatre special: the lack of a hierarchical relationship between elements of the creative process (sounds, images, movements) and the open process of construction making the play ‘wrought’ on the rehearsal floor rather than ‘written’ before we get there.

With the legendary Pina Bausch in town, it seemed a good time to explore the relationship between dance and theatre. My own article looks at work in this year’s London International Mime Festival – and elsewhere – that lives ‘Somewhere between Dance and Theatre’, and we have a report from CPR’s Tanztheater symposium which explores the legacy of German Expressionism and dance-theatre. See also the review section for the Tanztheater Wuppertal’s latest visit to Sadler’s Wells, and plenty from the Mime Festival too.

Elsewhere, we have a report from the most recent Total Theatre Network Critical Practice debate on Music in Physical and Visual Performance; a training feature on the Bristol residency with Chicago company Goat Island; and our Inbox questionnaire respondent, Mervyn Millar of Wireframe, explaining that his favourite ever piece of theatre was made by a wasp…

So there we have it: from English wasps to Latvian petrol stations; from earth, sweat and lipstick with the Goats in Bristol to standing ovations at Sadler’s Wells – as always, an eclectic mix of performance practice is represented… Dig in!

This article in the magazine

Issue 14-1
p. 4