About This Project
This project is a six month long practice-based research exploration into the use of contemporary technology on stage. The goal is to develop one or more new technologies for stage production, but to do this in the context of actual theatre production. To that end, theatre company MOTUS will be working with Dr. Sempere and students of the HETSR/La Manufacture theatre school to develop a scenography for a particular source text. The teaching context allows us to remain experimental while ensuring the work remains high quality aesthetically and technically.
Who and Where?
The PI on this project is Dr. Andrew Sempere working in collaboration with MOTUS theatre company. The project is taking place at La Manufacture/HETSR in Lausanne Switzerland and is funded by a grant from HES-SO. Participants include actors, staff and students from the school.
What is this blog?
This blog is being kept by Andrew during the duration of the project. In keeping with principles of practice-based research the process is as important as the outcome (therefore this blog is a process document – final reflection will be formalized at the end). With the exception of this document, most accounts of the research will be conveyed in first person. This is important, as subjective viewpoint and personal reflection is as a key strength of artistic research.
The entire project runs for six months (from November-April 2016). This includes time for documentation, preparation and reflection. The work with MOTUS and the students will happen in intensive week-long blocks during the school semester. A final presentation of the theatre piece will take place in March of 2016.
What does “Digital Scenography / Performing Space” mean?
Digital Scenography is a term which collectively describes the use of “new media” and contemporary consumer electronics technologies specifically in a theatrical context, for the purpose of building an “atmosphere” in support of a narrative. For a layman’s introduction see What is Digital Scenography (Sempere 2015).
Performing Space refers to the initial early intention of the project to focus on the space itself as an actor in the narrative. Although this will undoubtably be true in some sense, the project has shifted a bit more strongly towards scenography in a more traditional sense, albeit composed with new technologies. This is in order to better suit the source material and pedagogical objectives of the school.
What is the source text?
We are using Pier Paolo Pasolini’s text Pylades as our source material. We are not using Pasolini’s Notes Towards an African Orestes, although this was considered early on and can be considered “background reading” as it’s an important part of Pasolini’s approach to extending Aeschylus’ material.
What are the expected outcomes?
1. Technically we will develop one or more new pieces of software for stage production. The software will be released to the public under an open source license.
2. Artistically we will develop an experimental theatrical production of Pylades which makes use of new software for light and/or video control. This will not be a complete production but nonetheless will be presented to a public and may form the basis of a larger scale production later.
3. As a contribution to the pedagogy and practice of scenography, the findings of this project will be documented both in process (this blog) and in a final and more formal document, publication venue TBA.
What is the timeline?
The project runs from Nov-April 2016. There will be a presentation of the theatrical work in progress in March. An academic paper and formal release of the software will follow.