Posts Tagged ‘physical theatre

14
Aug
17

Richard Grantham & ZEN ZEN ZO Present DUSK

RESTRUNG 2017: The Viola Cloning Project & ZEN ZEN ZO

 

Saturday August 19 2017 at 3:45pm & 9pm 

 

Hit pause on your fast-paced hectic life, and take a moment to slow down, breath, and be present at DUSK

 

Restrung 2017 delivers an all-star line-up of more than 50 international, national and local artists to explore the spaces between genres – classical, electronica, folk, jazz, rock, pop, minimalism and more.

 

The three-day program includes The Viola Cloning Project and Zen Zen Zo’s DUSK, and Collusion and Queensland Ballet Academy’s Muscle Memory: Reflex.

 

Third in the series of Restrung festivals, the program offers a joyous explosion of strings-driven music, dance, theatre and art that challenges musical and artistic boundaries: a roller coaster ride through the arcane, the forbidden and the gorgeous.

 

 

 

DUSK is the third collaboration between renowned Australian composer and improviser Richard Grantham (aka The Viola Cloning Project) and leading contemporary performance company, Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre.

 

DUSK is a moving meditation, a danced haiku, an opportunity to inhabit the “space between” (day/night; sound/silence; movement/stillness; life/death)

 

a regenerative space of unfolding potential…

 

Performer, Travis Weiner talks about

DUSK, ZEN ZEN ZO & RICHARD GRANTHAM –

 

There are 2 aspects of the show itself I can tell you about.

 

I’ve performed in all of Lynne’s shows since I started with the company in 2014 and this is probably the simplest but the most physically and mentally demanding choreography I can remember. That’s partly because some of it is just hard work and partly because Richard’s original composition can’t be broken into beats of 8. When we dance to his music, which is also in parts just him jamming, we have no musical beat to keep us in sync with each other. So almost the entire show is us kinaesthetically responding to each other. It’s an exciting challenge.

 

From a creative perspective it’s more complicated to explain what’s unique about this show. We were talking about this yesterday and we all see Richard as this god-like maestro summoning us as otherworldly spirits. I would say he deserves such a role. He is a very talented musician, and I wouldn’t say so lightly. The music he is able to create with literally one instrument and a bunch of pedals at his feet is mind blowing. It’s like he takes the concept of a one man band and turns it into a one man orchestra.

 

Our challenge was to create a movement score that kept Richard in focus for the majority of the piece. After watching Richard create his music I don’t think we would be able to steal too much limelight if we tried. His performance is simply fascinating.

 

Working with Zen Zen Zo is always a challenging experience because of the nature and standard of the work, but also very rewarding. Anyone who has trained with the company knows how exhausting an experience it can be. When it comes to a show the bar is set even higher and understandably so. Sometimes we look at each other and go, “can we actually do this for that long?” And then we do. I would say to anyone it is worth coming to see Richard play, even if he was on stage alone. But also to anyone who missed Zen Zen Zo’s sold-out In the Company of Shadows season last year, here is a second chance to see the performers from that show take to the stage again.

 

 

In the Company of Shadows from info@zenzenzo.com on Vimeo.

 

Bring a wine or a green tea and enjoy an afternoon or evening of mindfulness in the presence of these extraordinary artists.

 

DUSK is an exploration of the liminal, the space between, the threshold which facilitates transformation. The dancers move like shamans or spirit walkers between the light and dark, life and death, music and silence, weaving a shadowy web through the bitter-sweet original score of Richard Grantham’s live looped performance.

 

 

THU 17–SAT 19 AUGUST 2017

Two-Show Festival Pass (full)$110*

Two-Show Festival Pass (conc.)$100*

Three-Show Festival Pass (full)$150*

Three-Show Festival Pass (conc.)$135*

*An additional fee applies to each booking transaction. Single tickets $3 / Multiple tickets $6.

 

 

Composer: Richard Grantham


Directors/Choreographers: Lynne Bradley & Jamie Kendall


Lighting Design: Simon Woods


Design Consultant: Rachel Konyi


Costumes: Bill Haycock & Kaylee Gannaway


Performers: Richard Grantham with Jamie Kendall, Gina Tay Limpus, Aurora Liddle-Christie & Travis Weiner

 

 

 

15
Nov
13

Zen Zen Zo moves to Brisbane Powerhouse in 2014

 

#howexcitement

 

After a long tenancy at the Old Museum Zen Zen Zo will be moving to the Brisbane Powerhouse as a Resident Company in 2014.

 

Powerhouse_1.114958

 

This provides a fantastic opportunity for the company to build new audiences and link up with other creative minds at one of Australia’s premium venues.

 

As always, the company will launch into the new year with their famous January intensive training program, Stomping Ground. 

 

Founder Lynne Bradley says, “Teaching Stomping Ground is one of the highlights of my year. Meeting so many fascinating artists from all around the country, and the world, is a wonderful way to start our year as a company. This year I’m even more excited than usual, because we’ll be holding the program in our new home – the Stores Studio at the Brisbane Powerhouse – a space of inspiration and creativity!”

 

Brisbane Powerhouse Artistic Director Kris Stewart is also excited about the move. “We’re thrilled to have Zen Zen Zo resident at Brisbane Powerhouse” said Kris. “It makes sense given both Brisbane Powerhouse and Zen Zen Zo are about combining the old with the new, great storytelling and entertainment.

 

Zen Zen Zo’s office will also be based in the Powerhouse from January 2, 2014 – at this stage all contact details including phone and email remain the same.

 

Lynne teaching

02
Sep
13

Medea: the river runs backwards

 

MEDEA The River Runs Backwards

Zen Zen Zo

The Old Museum

19 August – 7 September

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward 

 

Past and present blur together, as Medea tries to reconcile the events of years gone by, and her own guilt, before she dies. Time and space shatter, as the echoes of Medea’s deeds reverberate through her life. How did someone so strong, so intelligent become so overwhelmed with the need for revenge? How can someone live on, when they have cut out their own heart?

 

 

Medea-Poster-Final

 

Euripides’ story of the vengeful murderess, Medea, is thousands of years old and our reception to it hasn’t changed; it’s as shocking as ever to process. Dramaturg Ian Lawson’s treatment of the classical text is the best version I’ve seen – clear and real – but having been Zen Zen Zoified, it’s lost a little of its power in the translation from page to stage.

See it for yourself this week, before it closes on September 7!

 

The ancient world of King Creon is created by ghostly columns and drapes in a spacious studio at the home of Zen Zen Zo, The Old Museum (Design by Christine Urquhart & Eleanor Gibson. Costume design by Julian Napier). We’re in the middle of it, while a maelstrom builds around us, the performers using every available space. Newest Resident Director, Drew de Kinderen, has reverted back to the way things used to be. No, not the ancient, but the old Zen Zen Zo, just as Michael Futcher and Helen Howard had begun to lead the company in a bold new direction that promised a perfect blend of the old and the new. Sure, it’s the physical and visceral site-specific production that Zen Zen Zo are known for, and thrilling for teachers and students, especially with a physical theatre workshop offered after every matinee performance, but for me it’s disappointing. The impact of the most recent work (of course I’m referring to 1001 Nights, Therese Raquin and Vikram and the Vampire) was wonderment followed by a solid punch in the guts and a quick glance at our own lives to consider whether or not we were on track.

 

medea_lauren

 

While Medea: The River Runs Backwards might make you think twice before killing off your ex’s new wife and the children you bore him, that’s the text talking, and not this underdone production. And it’s not underdone in any obvious way because there is plenty of well-trained and practiced chorus work, booming vocal work and intricate staging in and around those damn Corinthian poles. It’s just that somehow, it misses the mark.

 

I know many others, including Sam, vehemently disagree. Sam loved it, and was mightily impressed by every element. In fact, everything that I found wanting, he thought was spot on. But we agree that the immense talent of Lauren Jackson, who plays Medea, makes her the standout of this production. This is the performance that was perfectly contained, as opposed to underdone or OTT (can we bring back classical voice training now, please, Austraya?), and leaving us to wonder about this mysterious woman who has the gal to kill her own children. We never see the typical theatrical signs of a mad woman (darting of eyes, wringing of hands, tearing of hair), thank goodness, but we see her journey towards a state of madness that easily envelops her, drowns her – the river that runs backwards – and leaves us in the aftermath, on the mud banks by the wayside, along with everyone who thought they knew her, wondering WHAT THE?

 

While the soundscape, by Thomas Murphy is perfectly matched to the action, I somehow came away with a Katzenjammer song in my head (and visions of Madonna singing Like A Prayer, clad in Mad Maxified Desperately Seeking Susan corsetry, lace and leather. I know. Never mind)…

 

 

I love Lauren’s internal work, and I wonder if the chorus had rehearsed within her presence for longer, could a little of that have rubbed off on them? Yes, you can learn a lot of the craft of acting through osmosis. I also enjoyed the point of madness and horror reached by Jason, played by visitor, Eric Berryman (he’s off again after this production to study with Anne Bogart).

 

medea_laurenanderic

 

This 90-minute retelling of the age-old tragic tale is less than spectacular, but at the core of the work we still see the magnificent classical text, and some good training and creative talent, for which Zen Zen Zo are renowned. If you can get a ticket (most of the shows were sold out weeks ago), go see Medea The River Runs Backwards and make up your own mind.

 

 

15
Jun
13

Poppy’s Perspective: Circa Zoo Wonderland

 

Circa Zoo: Wonderland

The Noosa Long Weekend Festival

The J Theatre

Saturday 15th June 2013

 

Reviewed by Poppy Eponine

 

Circa Zoo_photo byRed Eclipse Photography for NLW Festival 2013Circa Zoo is a troupe of young performers daring to create and deliver spectacular contemporary circus art through performance.

 

See a glimpse of their world through the elegance and tenderness of relationships and experience the true meaning of adventure being about the journey, not the destination.

 

Based at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, the Circa Zoo program is just one of many circus training programs run by internationally renowned contemporary circus company, Circa. Circa Zoo is Circa’s extension performance program for talented young people who, in following Circa’s ethos, re-imagine circus in their own way under the guidance of trainers and directors.

 

Circa Zoo is a troupe of young performers daring to create and deliver spectacular contemporary circus art through performance.

 

Macquarie Noosa Long Weekend Festival Day 2 Sat am © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

At The J Theatre I went to Circa Zoo and when we walked into The J it looked beautiful with beautiful decorations, just especially for The Noosa Long Weekend. We saw Trena and Ian and Travis but I didn’t remember Travis because I was too little when he went to WAAPA. I was a bit shy when I saw him. I didn’t want to give him a hug but I know Trena so I gave her a big bear hug.

 

When we went in to find our seats we saw coloured hoops along the front of the stage. It was interesting because it looked like they might throw the hoops into the audience. The hoops looked like the middle of the pom poms I make.

 

 

The best tricks were the swinging body slams.

 

 

Macquarie Noosa Long Weekend Festival Day 2 Sat am © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

And the body slams, the hanging hoops, the swing, and the giant round toys that the youngest girl in the troupe had, and they hid behind them. She had the mini set of the round toys. They did handstands on them. And one kid tried to steal the toys from her. There were other funny acts like that.

 

They didn’t roll over the giant one, but they tumbled, galloping on their hands. Then they rolled the biggest one over a kid. Two kids! That was very cheeky. And at the end they used it to make a tree. They all made a tree with their bodies and that was nice. They seemed to all be friends, and that’s nice. It was like it was a family tree, like the people make one big family.

 

20130615EWOI123600C

It was fabulous and I loved it. It wasn’t just the tricks. It was funny. It was funny because it was cheeky when they rolled the giant toy over the two girls but it looked like they probably didn’t mind because they’d practiced doing it.

 

It was interesting when the girl did the hoop tricks. She did tricks that I think you would need to do many, many days of practice for, unless you’ve already done years of hoop practice because you’ve grown up as a circus kid. She had a beautiful face, her expression was beautiful and I liked the eye contact she had with everyone in the audience.

 

The music was beautiful and it was my favourite kind of music when it was upbeat and I could find two beats in the music. It was a good choice for the types of acts there were. They had a good sense that it would be good for the show and I loved it. The music made me bounce up and down. I was dancing in my seat! Maybe the people behind me had to bounce up and down or move around to see because I was dancing. It would have been a bit annoying for the people in that row. BUT I hope they still enjoyed the show.

 

Macquarie Noosa Long Weekend Festival Day 2 Sat am © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

The circus kids had extremely wonderful faces. Their faces looked surprised, like in Alice in Wonderland, when Alice saw a rabbit in clothes.

 

They must have had the best teachers because they did so well. After the show we met Abby, one of the trainers, so I have to give her a bit of love because she’s one of the trainers.

 

I know how hard it is to put on a show because I just did my BYTES concert, but the difference is that this show was harder and they must have practiced A LOT!

 

 

Macquarie Noosa Long Weekend Festival Day 2 Sat am © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGESThey were brave.

 

You’ve gotta’ be brave to be a circus person. I wish I could do it. I would need to practice A LOT! I would like to learn the balance work and if I was able to, I would like to do the swinging slams. I’ve actually been practicing already. Dad can catch me when they swing me into his arms. And I can do both types of splits.

 

I won’t get to do the workshop next week but when Circa Zoo comes back to Noosa I would like to work with them. Mum says we had better tell the mums and dads to BOOK EARLY!

 

 

IT WAS THE BEST!

 

 

Macquarie Noosa Long Weekend Festival Day 2 Sat am © 2013 Barry Alsop Photographer Eyes Wide Open IMAGES

Poppy Eponine just turned seven and she knows what she’s talking about.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 16th June at the Festival

 

10am David Malouf (The J) in conversation with ABC’s Richard Fidler

10am IFilmaking workshops for kids 14-17years (The J)

10.30am African Drumming Workshop (Bicentennial Hall)

11.30am Women in Power Forum (Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort) – I’m live-tweeting it!

11.45am African Drumming Workshop #2 (Bicentennial Hall)

2pm The New Palm Court Orchestra (The J)

3pm Tea Treats and Tales cooking demo and afternoon tea with Janelle Bloom (RACV Noosa Resort)

3.30pm Refugees Forum (Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort)

7pm Tom Sharah ‘Its Raining Me’ & Sarah-Louise Young ‘Julie Madly Deeply’ double bill show (The J)

 

06
Dec
12

Therese Raquin

Therese Raquin

Zen Zen Zo

The Old Museum

23rd November – 8th December 2012

 

Reviewed by Xanthe Coward

 

“The piece has emerged in rehearsals to be as fast flowing as the River Seine – featuring as an eighth character in the story – with the actors seeking to reveal the deeper essence of actions and emotions in their words and movements; it is a high-energy, vivid piece of impressionist story-telling – it is a bizarrely entertaining mix of Gothic horror tale and psychological thriller.” Director, Helen Howard.

Therese Raquin

“I have simply done on two living bodies the kind of analysis that surgeons do on dead bodies.” Emile Zola.

Therese Raquin is Emile Zola’s dark novel (and original stage adaptation, which closed after just nine performances in 1873), a study of temperaments and the physical manifestations of guilt, which gets the full physical and emotional Zen Zen Zo treatment, courtesy of a clear vision and a faithful adaptation of the classic text from first-time director, Helen Howard and partner in business and in life, Michael Futcher. It’s stylised, very staged and the perfect realisation of a nightmare that, in less capable hands (or – hate to say it – with a whole lot more money splashed at it), may not translate to the stage quite as clearly…or as terrifyingly. For what’s a Zen Zen Zo show in The Old Museum if not terrifying?

In the ideal gothic space of Studio 3 (well, except perhaps for its acoustics but then we know The Lyric has its problems too), Howard has carefully considered the abject horror of the self-realisation that follows an act of innate evil, which might surface when somebody becomes suddenly desperate enough…somebody like Laurent, Therese Raquin’s lover, who murders her cloying and sickly husband, Camille, so that he and Therese can be together forever. But forever’s a long time when you’re wracked with guilt and the fear of ghosts.

 

Zen Zen Zo is renowned worldwide for their physical theatre training and theatrical productions that continue to push boundaries and challenge artists as much as audiences. The unique style is immediately recognisable in a suitably appropriated Butoh-like silent scream, each performer turning slowly on the spot. Maniacal dolls in slow motion, which step out of the vague memory of a horror film seen on the sly during primary school years at a friend’s sleepover; you’re frozen in time and space, watching, unable to look away, and at the same time, eyes fixed. Isn’t it funny, what a live performance will lead you (or lead you back) to? The motif is repeated in fast-forward – whirling dervishes – but this one’s a momentary impression and the story twists on to reveal the truth of a conspiratorial murder and the reality of a grieving, mute Madame Raquin in a most disturbing image; the manipulation by Laurent of his reluctant mother-in-law. She is his pseudocoma puppet. “Notice how his mouth never moves! Almost…” We are inside her home and shop, with most of its doors and stairs imagined (Design Josh McIntosh).

 

Lizzie Ballinger is in her element as the rakish Therese. She perfectly embodies the silent, lacklustre girl who is transformed by passion into a ravishing, self-confident woman, willing to go along with – almost – anything to marry the man she truly loves. When their bodies are visibly wracked with the guilt of their evil deed, it’s Therese I feel for. She didn’t want her husband dead! She just wanted a new one!  But her murdering lover, Laurent (Luke Townson), suddenly seems callous and manipulative. Be careful what you wish for? Indeed.

 

Julien Faddoul, as Camille, plays both the living and the dead with equal amounts of smarmy self-confidence and shiver factor. I have to admit, I imagined he might float through the audience and give us a fright from behind but I feel this is a trick Zen Zen Zo doesn’t need; the ambience and action are enough already. Phil Slade’s chilling soundscape and Jason Glenwright’s eerie lights lend so much to this production that no tricks are needed outside of these elements.

 

Louise Brehmer is Madame Raquin, cruel and (hello karma) struck silent by a stroke, keeping the awful truth about her son’s death with her to her grave. Her command of voice and body could easily steal the limelight and yet she is gracious, allowing Ballinger and Townson to shine; as much as it’s an ensemble piece, it’s their show. Likewise, Eugene Gilfedder is a generous Michaud, the Inspector, who sets the scene with Zola’s own flowing words and narrates the story to bring our attention time and time again, back to the sorry state of the guilty party. Luisa Prosser is hilarious as the naive Suzanne; her facial expressions and vocal interjections priceless. These are the lighter moments that we need, along with the repetitive  orgy …game of dominoes.

 

For some reason, this adaptation loses its momentum after the interval and although I’m the first to support having an old-fashioned intermission, during which one stretches one’s legs and gets oneself a civilised drink at the bar, here is a new show that could do without one. My only quibble is not actually about interval v no interval at all though, but about the way we drifted towards the end, rather than being taken on a fast, furious ride through the second act with its tumultuous, violent denouement, so shocking, no horrifying in the book.

 

Therese Raquin closes on Saturday. If you can get to it, do; this is the next phase of the new-look Zen Zen Zo. As difficult as it is to put insanity, murder and sex on a stage, Howard’s directorial debut is impressive and Therese Raquin is the type of heritage-turned-contemporary theatre that I’d like to see more of. Oh, and teachers? I’ve recently told some of you in person. I’ll say it again here. It’s well and truly time to bring back your students to Zen Zen Zo.

 

BODY AND MIND BOOT CAMP FOR ACTORS – STOMPING GROUND 2013

 

1001 NIGHTS (18th July – 28th July)

 

MEDEA – The River Runs Backwards (19th August – 7th September)

 

MACBETH – A Porter’s Tale (Regional Tour in primary schools)

 

MARCUS AND THE MANIC MUSIC MAKERS (Regional Tour in primary schools)

 

RESTLESS PROJECT (29th & 30th March)

 

END-OF-YEAR CELEBRATION (30th November in Montville)

 

 

 

 




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