by R. B. Schlather
I am interested in what the experience of this piece could be in this room. It's a small, dark room. It's an opera famous for its formal innovation, mystery, and sensuality. The story is the tragedy of a love triangle located in a complex family tree. There are two different casts, two pianos. How to represent that hierarchical power dynamic in this room with two casts that are all contemporaries with one another? How to make the weird, surreal quality of the French poetry immediate?
Peter Brook--the editor of this reduction of Debussy’s opera--is a titanic figure in modern theater. When I was the age of some members of our cast, a colleague told me to read Brook’s The Empty Space, a collection of his iconoclastic lectures about theater. It suggests that the audience’s gaze creates performance, so to perform is to be watched. You don't need much else.
Because we are not in a theater, I want us all to act differently. We are all in a room together. We are all eavesdropping on each other. There is no divide between character and audience. Move around. Eavesdrop from different places. Enjoy the fluidity that is part of the fear of our contemporary reality. There are no borders. There are no divisions. There are no walls. We are out of our comfort zones. We are in this together.