On the 15th of March I went to the theatre with both Merel and Jessi to see a show by the Belgrade Youth Theatre Company called Rise. It was a decide your own ticket price event to contribute towards their company. I had never been to the local theatre before and was so pleasantly surprised by the little theatre this show was held in. A beautiful large bare back drop, with seats spanning all the way around to end above the stage. For a small space it did not have a cramped atmosphere, rather it was so open from the high ceiling giving space for the set on stage.
This show was a great example to see as an opposite to A Winters Tale by Cheek By Jowl. I was watching for the potential for movement, and found examples of how not to use this technique, also provided gaps where that moment of suspense was definitely needed. I am aware this is not a professional production, and in no way can judge the quality of the show up against a company like Cheek by Jowl, however for the purpose of this exercise I would like to point attention to a few moments in Rise where the potential for movement was an important factor that was lacking and could have transformed that scene.
In the very beginning scene the all female cast make their way on stage in darkness and raise a little white light in the air. Slowly one at a time they swap positions with one another remaining in the dark with the lights raised. It was a lovely image with the potential to go somewhere quite meaningful, however the pace remained the same. No one walked faster or slower, there were no pauses in between and afterwards the lights came up and they left the stage. There was no build in tension, no reason for me to sit forward and analyse what I was seeing on stage. I am a big believer in transitions between movement, it is what happens in the travel from one moment to another that make or breaks the highlights. I find it is the same for stage direction, there needs to be a thought out transition that is so smooth that you do not realise they are there. If they are missing those points of transition it allows for dropped energy on stage. It only takes one second as an audience to fall out of the story and continue to remain outside looking in.
This is the same for the general pace of this show. Every scene ran at the same speed with a continual flowing pace. There were no moments of stillness or silence, nothing out of the ordinary that would push an audience to sit forward and think ‘what will happen next’? It is so important to offer a variety of theatrical moments, simply for that reason. I found myself being lulled into a numb state, of watching the action on stage without taking active involvement in the development of the story.
I am very glad to have seen this show as I never realised how important it was for me to see an example of the potential for movement that was either non existent, or did not serve the purpose it was meant to. Particularly as it became easier for me to find the reasons why each scene had missed the mark. As I have said before, this mentality of the potential is quite abstract, however having seen two ends of the spectrum it has become possible for me to visualise the specific needs required and now understand its importance in theatre.