The challenge of creating worlds

One of the big challenges for us in staging The Corona-tion of Celia is creating Jim’s internal world.

Most of the play takes place “in his head” as he is gripped with the excitement and anticipation of meeting the woman he is so enamoured with. And we need to come up with a credible (and budget friendly) way of making a distinction between the real world and Jim’s world.

In part the solution for the challenge is derived from the space. We are performing The Corona-tion of Celia at the Etcetera Theatre in the Camden Fringe Festival 2021. The venue is a very cosy black box theatre, which in many ways suits our show: an intimate exploration of the subtleties of falling in love.

Turning to physical theatre

So we decided to go down the route of physical theatre. For those sticklers for detail here is the wikipedia definition of physical theatre:

Physical theatre is a genre of theatrical performance that encompasses storytelling primarily through physical movement. … the genre’s characteristic aspect is a reliance on the performers’ physical motion rather than, or combined with, text to convey storytelling. Performers can communicate through various body gestures (including using the body to portray emotions).

This suits us perfectly in that we can convey reality and fantasy through our performing bodies rather than relying on complex (and budget unfriendly) scenery and effects.

The beauty of books

To help us explore and develope this physical part of the performance we have been working with Monika Gravagno founder of Facciocose, a London based physical theatre company.

Monika & Pauline working with books

I know Monika very well. We met at one of her training courses back in the pre-lockdown glory days in 2020. The course had to move online and when it was done I continued to work with her, especially on the technique of Jacques Lecoq, in which she is trained.

In our first rehearsal we did a lot of work about connecting our bodies and the use of objects and how we relate to them.

In one of those precious moments that happen in rehearsals sometimes we ended up in a tender embrace using books, of all things, to caress each other. The promo below gives a sense of that little magic moment.

Tender books: developing emotional connections through objects.

The work with the objects has given us courage and inspriation to continue to use physical thatre techniques to explore the relationship between our characters and their relationship with the worlds of the play as they all fluctuate between reality and fantasy.

The Corona-tion of Celia is showing at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden on 23, 24 August (9.30pm), 25, 26 & 27 August (1.30pm) 2021. The production is part of the Camden Fringe 2021.

Gideon Benari & Pauline Superville. The Corona-tion of Celia rehearsal.
Finding a language through our bodies.
Gideon Benari & Pauline Superville, The Corona-tion of Celia rehearsal.

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