Lost Witnesses of Survival
How much closer can we get? Thus far, Under the Radar Festival 2017, each experience has felt like an eclipse of achievement in directing multi-media artists who spotlight an incredibly inclusive tale. Each work, alive with aspects of immersive theatre, pronounced highly visible actors personal journeys through cutting edge renditions of longer works for the festival. Whether it be, quite literally, finding myself asked to be barefoot in a lab coat listening to the ground; digging 10 graves for the forgotten stories of prothesized souls in Garden Speaks. Or being exhorted and hypnotized by Tim Fain’s dance with the horsehair on his violin amongst a film noir benshi drama in Club Diamond. Subsequently, in viewing trending commercial, yet enticingly satisfactory, experimental/immersive theatre we as a spectator become transparent to the environment. Suddenly, we are being asked permission to become a catalyst. We find pleasure in this activation with our sense of imagination, illuminating the fear under the earth's surface.
The theatre today is alive with work that asks the audience to wander from space to space, to talk and touch the performers, in which they are essentially becoming apart of the performance. All you have to do is make a choice providing opportunity, or not, to become a regeneration onto the art. We sacrifice our judgment to the higher motives of integrating, liberating, and revealing real emotional reactions live on stage. Although many theatergoers aren't used to this type of awareness as a spectator.
When Saori Tsukada gave her audience the gift of a long silence, after a stunning live-narrative, of an Japanese immigrant traveling to America in fear of the threatening “talkie” business, all the while later finds himself struggling to survive off little compensation of the golden idea of the American dream. we were forced to turn off for a moment, in togetherness. The location of Club Diamond, spoke to the autonomy of the demise of Japanese authority through their culture validating the death of the benshi community. Specifically, Saori held moments of emotional exposure with a weight, only to be healed by a humorous approach. Something generations of Eastern immigrants dealt with the aftermath of World War I, and thus cinema was created, where it aim to a local audience.
Another performance piece that reminded me of this need to voice the forgotten stories with respect and pride. Garden Speak, comes face to dirt with eternal identity struggle surrounding culture between Western and Eastern worlds, in polarized America. Garden Speaks and Club Diamond, each in their own way giving voice to the lost particles in witnesses survival within a revolution of modernization.
Millennials approach to this revolution? Immersive, loud voiced, provocatively intimate theatre, though many theatre goers say that ‘immersive’ theatre can become dangerously intimate. These productions were politicians who materialized us in their civic arena. Nevertheless, becoming as close to our awareness as dreams make us of our silent insecurities, memories.
It was profound how each of these pieces gave silence to the moment of preparation before the start, suiting up our circumstances upon our bodies, migrating across divergent technical elements that bring us to eventual silence again. In a way these moments were circular, the dark, focused, technology free moments, irreplaceably cherishable. Upon this platform on earth we are fixated, we are here to stay and listen, to learn how to ground our self in our own reality, to remember the souls whose voices weren't heard.