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The Theatre Season
The Theatre Season took place during one year in the vicinity of an outdoor stage located in a public park in Helsinki from May 2015
to April 2016. It was developed through twelve ‘pieces’, tautologically named after the month during which they were taking place: Piece of May, Piece of June, Piece of July… The Theatre Season was based on a double dramaturgy: 1. A readymade strategy which consisted of inviting spectators during a whole year to experience this outdoor theatrical apparatus per se and the perception of the metamorphosis of its close environment as an evolving ongoing ‘piece’. 2. A monthly production of a gesture of mise-en-scène on the site was carried out every first morning of a new month by adding a narrative element in relation to the original function of the site, the staging of outdoor pieces, and according to the artistic identity of Roumagnac, i.e. theatre director. Prepared or residual scenographic elements (e.g costumes in May, fragments of decor in December...), remnants from past events or settings for future representations, partial modifications of the stage (e.g. paint renewing in July) or of its close surroundings (e.g. addition of artificial flowers in June), were some of the stategies used to mark or trace the site with an expired or forthcoming theatrical performance.
The Theatre Season was the first experiment of the research project on temporal turn in contemporary theatre on the brink of ecological collapse. The project questioned and developed a practice of eco-theatre within the actuality of rethinking and revising, through a time-specific perspective, the interconnection in between theatre and ecology in the time of the acknowledgement of the Anthropocene. Hence The Theatre Season critically engaged with the potentiality of an eco-dramaturgy based on the alternative temporality of staging/spectating outdoor theatre pieces and on the relational double regime of attentiveness and revenance.
The Theatre Season INSTALLED
The Theatre Season INSTALLED consisted of an installation in the main black-box theatre of the Theatre Academy of Helsinki. A 67' looping video was displayed as a part of the installation. The Theatre Season INSTALLED was implemented at the same time as a performative report of the initial project The Theatre Season and as an autonomous arrangement, i.e. it was addressed not only to spectators who had followed the initial project but also to spectators who had not, by engaging with the question of how a corpus of documents might be generative of another artwork/research narrative. The installation invited the visitors to enter an anticipated memorial-mausoleum for 20th century outdoor theatre. An exact replica of the small abandoned open-air theatre of The Theatre Season was erected on artificial grass inside the black box. In the video, which was projected on a side-screen, a recycled photo-documentation from The Theatre Season was displayed, interspersed with an inquiry about the contingent experience upon the spectating of the initial project. The Theatre Season INSTALLED opened Roumagnac's research questions on multitemporality, heterochrony and idiorythmie at play meanwhile assembling a secondary narrative based on a restatement of the initial visual documentation and a speculative investigation. Spectators were invited to stay as long as they wanted, and to return as many times as they wished. The remade stage and bleachers were accessible to the audience. White cover shoes were distributed at the door.
The Theatre Season LECTURED
The Theatre Season LECTURED is a 42' weathered lecture that was video-documented with two cameras in the beginning of October 2016 on the site where the project The Theatre Season took place. Roumagnac lip-syncs a pre-recorded version of the lecture, performed on the stage of the replica indoor of The Theatre Season INSTALLED. Another recording overlaps the first track; it consists of the soundscape of the silent lip-synchronised sequence filmed on site. This second recording almost fully recovers the voice of the lecturer, producing massive interferences from the close environment, mainly the strong autumn wind rubbing the microphone of the camera. The lecture is a translation (from French) and an augmented writing of an introduction to the research, based on the project The Theatre Season, which was given in the Department of Communication of the University of Montreal in March 2016. On the occasion of the examination of the first doctoral artistic part, The Theatre Season LECTURED was proposed as a contextual metacommunication, both on the project itself and on its processual context that is to say the artistic research milieu. Thus it was coupling the twofold question of how to convey the research focus through playing with the academic format of a lecture and, at the same time, of how to adress the epistemic thresholds between scholar discursive construction and artistic research expositionality. The Theatre Season LECTURED was thus at the same time informative, disruptive and speculative; both an attempt to critically deconstruct academic epistemic discursive demand and an experiment of generating another kind of mediation through touching on and with the topic itself i.e. the disturbing dynamics of the permutation between other-than-human backstage agency and staged anthropo-logo-centrism.
>>> THE THEATRE SEASON INSTALLED
>>> THE THEATRE SEASON LECTURED
<<< View of The Theatre Season INSTALLED - picture: Aurélie Pétrel
View of The Theatre Season INSTALLED (spectators) - pictures: Vincent Roumagnac >>>