February 21, 22, 23 - 2020
Creating Boxed edition was just like a full self-produced piece to put together, with so many details involved and to be considered. I was afraid that I will forget some details and had to make sure I went over the list of what needs to be done in preparation for the piece.
Making sure the projections and computer are all fully charged as well as the back-up projections, printing the schedule and the reservation list for every night. Making sure that all the objects and gadgets that are being used are in place and fully operating as well as the sound system (a Bluetooth speaker) was connected
My main concern was that the switch between each eight min piece will work smoothly and we will be able to stay with the schedule. The dancers had a quick two minutes to set up the room back to its beginning once the audience left the room
We had a good practice on Thursday night during our dress rehearsal and as we did a few runs in a row the dancers got more comfortable the re-set as well as switch rolls and casts.
Within the structure of the piece, each dancer had a roll and each roll followed a list of tasks from which the dancers had the freedom to choose how to respond and how to interact with the audience. The roles were identified as “New Media” and “Old Media”. The dancer who took over the old media started the piece being engaged with the older technology – usually starting with the typewriter and from there continuing with the fax machine, cassette player and old phones. The new media performer always started the piece talking on their smart phone and the idea was to be engaged in an activity that doesn’t acknowledge the audience presence in the beginning. Then they slowly start to relate to the audience and engage with the newer technology and projectors. Both dancers had tasks in which the goal was to shift the way the room is arrange. Moving objects, moving the small projections to project on different surfaces such as the floor, the furniture and on themselves or the audience. In both roles the dancers had to be attentive to the audience and notice if they were willing to participate or be more observers. They had to find a way to engage the audience without intimidating them. Letting the audience feel that they have a choice how to behave in the room and interact with the dancers. Each role had a set of tasks in which to set up the room for the dramatic shift into the quiet section of the conversation While one was switching the lights the nother dancer shut down the projectors and cleared the space. As the performances continued the dancers got really good in their parts and also found a lot of freedom and creativity within each role. They also had the option to switch the role in each performance.
The three nights were quite sold out and I was extremely satisfied how all elements of this event came together and everything went very smoothly. Sometimes the small projections ran out of power but luckily, we had extra projectors that we quickly switched and recharged.
It was very exciting to see people coming and going and hear the experiences they had in the room. I was not able to witness and see the performances since the doors were closed, but sometimes we positioned a camera that could show me a live feed of the events inside
With the audience changing and the cast rotating, each performance ended being unique and one of a kind. Audiences felt very overwhelmed in the beginning but then very touched by this very personal experience. It was interesting to observe that younger generation of audience members (people in their twenties, mostly) found the beginning of the piece really fun and playful and right upon
entering the space, immediately joined the action. On the other had older audiences (late thirties and up) felt more overwhelmed in the beginning with the entrance into a room full of activities they also recognized a lot of the old technology which brought them a sense of nostalgia. For the younger audience the interaction with the old technology felt like being in a museum and for some of them it was the first time they saw how a VHS tape works.
All audiences agreed how much they enjoyed how the room became quiet and they were able to sit and engage in a conversation without any technology. They all felt that a connection was made with the performers and felt sad to leave.
When I heard people coming out and saying they wanted to stay longer in the room… I felt that I succeeded in my goal.
After over a year of planning and rehearsing, the three days of the Boxed edition went by so fast. Around 150 people got to witness this experience in the room, and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and response I received from whoever came to see it. It proved to me that careful planning, detailed and deep research and a long rehearsal process that allows room for exploration, trial and errors really paid off. I was extremely happy with my cast of dancers who gave so much of themselves both physically and mentally and brought their individual personality to shine through the shows. Their contribution to making this a successful event that touched the hearts of the audience is immeasurable.
When we set the room back to its original setting as the teacher’s lounge and took everything out, the dancers and me felt sad saying goodbye to the room in which we created a unique universe
Thankfully we had the next performance to look forward to the extended version.