THEATRICAL THEATRE Convener(s): Morven MacbethParticipants:David McGroarty, Abi Anderson, Sarah Kane, Mark Conway Phil Eddolls, Lyne Forbes, Tom Wright (?), Natalie Schwartz Summary of discussion, conclusions and/or recommendations:Discussed as a way in what makes theatre peculiar to itself, distinct as a form of expression. Primarily it’s vital-ness, immediacy, here-and-now-ness. As the convener I wanted to raise this as something I feel passionate about first and foremost and, if I have an issue as such, it is why I had an admittedly bad run of seeing a lot of theatre without any theatricality evident at any point other than that it was being performed in a theatre.SOME THINGS WE FELT WERE OF IMPORT AND RELEVANCE• That text based, ‘straight’ theatre can be enormously, wonderfully theatrical.• The moment of feeling that ‘nothing else matters’, whether that is individually or collectively, that we as an audience experience that moment, however long that lasts.• The viscerality, the almost ‘religious’ quality theatre can have, a tangible energy, a complicity, a realisation how much we value being moved, touched.• A give and take that can only happen in theatre • The child like state we can and are allowed and can be invited to return to, to leave the bollocks of every day life at the door• Moments of revelation – where those come, often not where and when we might expect them• Theatre rarely moves us deeply but when it does the experience stays with us for a long time – talked about the difference between our emotional engagement in the cinema and in a theatre.AS PRACTICIONERS• JOY – performers enjoying themselves, we as an audience would like to see two stories, the play or the story itself and the story going on between the players.• Commitment• Exchange• Truth being shared and not being an introversion, a truth that a performer has in a little cage that they allow us to get the odd glimpse of somehow• MAGIC, pure, naïve, magic as opposed to trying to be ‘clever’• Surprise, the value of that, not knowing what’s coming from one moment to the next, as a practitioner and as an audience member• Our responsibility to find and treasure a playful danger, not to be afraid of it. Build elements of danger into the rehearsal/devising process, also every performance is not and is never ‘set’, it can and quite probably will go ‘wrong’ and we can have fun with that, embrace that.• Core of the ensemble is primary rather than chucking stuff, trickery or whatever at a rehearsal process, a performance.• In a theatrical theatre we are more able to respond to challenges as performers, we are free-er to respond generally, be it to an audience we may feel are ‘closed’ or that we are failing to engage, we are more empowered to work differently, harder to make things ‘better’.• Allow and welcome a vocal response, an example given of ushers at the Young Vic being advised that they’d be out on their ear if they ‘shushed’ people, especially the schools audiences.• The idea that we go to the theatre to practice empathy. If we have an obligation then it is to make good work in order to allow this to happen.• To keep thinking about what we understand by ‘theatrical theatre’, to keep a truly open mind, a naïve quality, to look for fun in everything, in our working processes as a company from the outset, all roles included in that, be aware that theatricality can be stifled by losing a sense of these things, they are the breath of it.• Don’t do all the running, all the work for an audience, allow them their own theatricalising processes.• Believe it and play it.WHY ISN’T THERE MORE THEATRICAL THEATRE?• Are we cowed somehow by our sense of a necessity to compete with film and television? We should embrace and celebrate our theatricality and celebrate it in our experience of film (when it comes along, examples given of King Kong, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings).• Fear of risk – shorter rehearsal periods mean a company literally doesn’t have enough time to know eachother, to trust eachother, it can be a learning process to do this for a lot of people.• Fear of being expansive as performers, of being huge.• The most difficult place to make theatrical theatre is often in a theatre. Looking for either shared ownership or no ownership of the space, a performance or event can become immediately theatrical when an audience, like the company, feel they can do their own thing. Outside a theatre there aren’t the same benchmarks that we feel we must meet or beat, not the same sense of feeling intimidated by what has gone before.