Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Casa das Artes Embu

We arrived at the Casa das Artes in Embu after an intensive week at LUME theatre and a weekend spent in Sao Carlos.
In Sao Carlos we stayed with producer Patricia Souza Ceschi from Ayembere Productions who took us to an organic Fazenda (farm) where they are creating an ambitious project working with the children of the farmers with performance, art and circus. The local young people have access to a beautiful purpose built space including an outdoor theatre, a huge play area, a kitchen with clay ovens for cooking and an indoor performance space. We were impressed by the ambition of the project and exchanged our experiences of teaching young people in the rural environment of Huntly. We also looked at potential spaces in Sao Carlos and planned how we could combine a workshop at the Fazenda with performances of This Side of Paradise in 2013.

The Casa das Artes residency centre is owned and built by film-maker and former Cirque du Soleil artist Kris Niklison. The impressive living/working space is combined in an open plan structure with high walls to accommodate trapeze and enormous wooden doors with panoramic views into the Atlantic rain forest. In rehearsals we were frequently joined by snakes, frogs, chicadas and stray dogs hiding from strong electric storms that threatened to hit the house. Sharing the residency with us were two clowns Daniel from Circus Zani and Danilo from Juego do Quintal.
Dora de Andrade exchanged her experience of working with her group in the favela of Ilha de Conceptcio in Rio. Dora has been working with teenage boys crossing a “gorilla“ group of traditional carnival characters with hip hop and site- specific performance.  She has developed ideas with Dudendance through a long distance project and as part of her PHD thesis on collaborative process.  
Cathi, Gordon and Deborah arrived from Huntly in the second week and spent a few days adjusting to the climate. The colonial town of Embu, a 30 min walk away, famous for it’s arts and crafts market, provided us with a typical slice of Brasil. Only 40 mins from the mega city of Sao Paulo, Embu feels like a world away and is a popular day trip for tourists who visit the workshops of craftsmen and artists based there.
Our days were divided between training sessions in yoga, dance and voice, improvisation and devising. During the three week process we carried through the idea of the characters manipulating each other and transforming from human into hideous machines.  We wanted to push the noir clichés into an exaggerated cartoon-like world and at the same time search for a truth behind the Americana façade.   With so much nature and wild sounds surrounding the house we worked with being part animal and creating imaginary habitats. Cathi, Gordon, Paul, and Deborah wrote noir inspired text’s as voice-overs for their characters- each lone figure narrating their own imaginary movie. Fabiana Galante, composer and musician from Argentina joined us in the last few days to record the  sounds surrounding the house and  texts to be incorporated into a sound-scape.

During our time in Embu we learnt a lot through interchange with our Brasilian peers. There was a refreshing interest in our work process which we shared through workshops and open rehearsals in LUME and Embu. The young performers from Scotland also had the opportunity to see first class Brasilian shows in Sao Paulo with it’s vibrant dance, physical theatre and circus scene.
On the whole the process in Brasil was an amazing opportunity to exchange and be inspired by a different culture and gave the group a re-newed excitement and inspiration to create work. It was fantastic to be exposed to such an open, dynamic and warm-hearted arts community with physical performance at it’s heart. A famous saying is that Brasil is the land of improvisation. The experience in Brasil taught us to be adaptable to different audiences and be ready to perform a variation of work in a variety of spaces. We really look forward to strengthening our ties and bring the finished piece back in 2013.

We also created links for Brasilian companies to come to Scotland.  To date we have connected LUME Teatro to Glasgow based Conflux for their 2012-2016 interchange and music group Sambasupercollider from Rio with Deveron Arts in Huntly. Dancer Flavia Fernandes who took part in our workshop will join us in the summer for a cultural exchange and film-maker Felipe Barros is planning a film with Dudendance in the arid desert of north east Brasil in 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment