Enter the Magician

Feature in Issue 7-4 | Winter 1995

Faroque Khan, performer and teacher, reports on Unidentified Flying Subjects, the Enrique Pardo workshops at the 5th Biennial Myth and Theatre Festival in France this summer.

The place – La Chartreuse, Villeneuve, Lez Avignon. The setting – the 5th Biennial Myth and Theatre Festival.

The subject – magic. A series of workshops organised by the directors of Pantheatre – namely Enrique Pardo, Linda Wise and Liza Mayerlasting – lasting two weeks and fronted by a variety of artists in the fields of dance, voice and theatre. I had the pleasure of attending Unidentified Flying Subjects, headed by Enrique Pardo.

Enrique's work comes under the label of 'Choreographic Theatre'. Work that fuses dance, voice, mime, movement and dramatic acting. It mattered little that not everyone was to the same physical standard or of the same nationality – this actually added to the dimensions of play and improvisation, creating room for a spectrum of possibilities.

Taking a piece of text (each participant had one learnt by heart) as the basis of the workshop, Enrique guided the gathered ensemble through a process of play, choreography, mythological references, discussion, analysis, individual or group performance followed by in depth constructive criticism.

The leader, the follower, the listener and Greek gods play a huge part in the work of Enrique Pardo.

The themes took such titles as 'The Tired Soul, 'The Betrayer', 'Panic', whilst the exercises had such names as 'the crystal ball, 'the disturbing angel', ‘plucking the orange', to name but a few.

The work we engaged in travelled down many avenues of the theatrical road. Addressed and explored were the realms of rhythm, musicality, space, awareness, sensitivity, imagination, risk, distortion and discovery – the list is endless. All this coloured by the use of text, which, along with the movement, allowed for a multitude of theatrical expressions – fascinating, intoxicating and revealing.

Enrique's work, in my opinion, seeks to challenge the individual in their own discipline, allowing them to discover themselves and what they are capable of achieving – pushing the limits. What was wonderful to experience was Enrique's intuition and acute perception at play, pin-pointing each participant’s strengths and weaknesses. Then to see and feel these being nurtured and put to artistic use.

It is difficult to encapsulate the whole of the festival in such a short space. I only say that the two weeks were truly 'magical'. Outside of the intense workshops the days were filled with discussions, masterclasses, seminars, performances, rituals, late-nights and an over-flow of fun.

The next festival is due for 1997. Enrique Pardo teaches regularly internationally and is next in Britain in December 1995. Pantheatre also conduct an annual training programme open to professionals which lasts 7-8 weeks. The next one is in January 1996 in Paris.

Referenced Artists
Referenced Festivals

This article in the magazine

Issue 7-4
p. 17