Friday, 28 September 2018

The Fairground Booth Dairy 3

Porcelain Dolls and Masks

Whilst working on two projects at once, there is one which I cannot talk about at the moment. However The Fairground Booth is always taking small steps forward. I have come to the stage where I am thinking about casting The Fairground Booth. Overall I have realised what kind of look I might want for the actors. Essentially I will begin the search for faces which have a natural soft porcelain skin - like porcelain dolls, human but pale and smooth so that perhaps no makeup or very little will be required. Riding on the metro yesterday through Moscow I began to seek out such  unusual faces and they are there to be found, so this is the direction I will take on on casting. One of the advantages of this apart form being on theme is that the "look" should cross between puppets and graphics and pictures and masks and actors so that the difference between all these components are blurred or at least ambiguous.

There are of course other grotesqueries in the characters of the play but that is a different casting decision.

I also plan to film some buildings on Ostozhensko Street not far from Christ the Saviour Cathedral. There are a group of art nouveau (or "Modern" as it is in Russian) apartments with fantastical swirling mask like designs and grotesque faces from that period.  I had intended to film some buildings of this style but these are better as the motifs are mask like and can be integrated into the film by dissolving to real masks. The word here is grotesque. Even though the lines and the  motifs are beautifully designed there is a strong hint of the grotesque as the swirling plaster and stone images return and delve into the mouth of the "mask" which is not in fact a mask but the suggestion of a mask which makes it all the more effective and illusive.

The porcelain is akin to the plaster of the decorative designs on the buildings linking the architecture to masks and in turn to a face.

Friday, 14 September 2018

The Fairground Booth dairy 2

The Framed world of The Fairground Booth.

More work on the film the last few days as well the book. Re editing material for the book especially the neo platonism section Over the last week we attended a kabuki theatre production here in Moscow. Meyerhold was strongly influenced by Kabuki theatre and I am now beginning to see why this so. It has a naivety accompanied by a sophistication which is often unappreciated. The fairground Booth in its fist performance was also much misunderstood and denigrated. However it contains many innovations which became part of contemporary theatre as we understand it today.

"The Fairground Booth" has an aura of childlike naivety, however, this innocence is also accompanied by the grotesque of the commedia dell'Arte. The purpose is to disorientate the audience, to make them aware of the unnaturalness and theatricality of what they are seeing. All kinds of framing devises were used by Meyerhold in these commedia type plays, "The Fairground booth" and "Columbina's Veil" to draw attention to the fact that this is not real life. For instance servants were used to perform certain functions like opening stage curtains and helping actors with various tasks, including them in the action in new and unusual ways certainly unusual for the time.

Such framing devises and the fact that the plays are framed within the grotesque, contribute to the sense of another world or another plane of reality other than that to which we are used to seeing in the theatre opening the way to other understandings and sensations in the audience. The sense of the real world being conditioned by a sense of fantasy and grotesque leads the audience to start to make their own interpretations about what they are seeing and in this sense participating and even molding the play's sense. The puppet like quality of The Fairground Booth (The alternative title for  Blok's "The Fairground Booth" was "The Puppet Show") also suggests another state of being or other possibilities for the characters and the action of the play.

The Kabuki play "Yoshinoyama"where  the actors playing the roles Shizuka and her loyal servant  Tadanobu, directly and explicitly points to an art form and a situation outside the play. Tadanobu is firstly not human but is a fox disguised as a human. In one fragment the two characters freeze in pose of a husband and wife paper dolls which stand in the homes of Japanese families as symbols of filial loyalty. The fact that they become frozen as dolls for several moments builds layers of meaning recognized and contributed to by the knowledge and cultural sensitivities of the audience who will make connections to cultural variants outside of the play. The important thing here is that the fact that this is part of the play is also deliberately exposed. The device itself for referencing a particular element is displayed as a device.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Fairground Booth diary 1

Blok's aim in writing The Fairground Booth is to liberate us from whatever trust may have been placed in traditional theatrical practice. Part of this process involves another form of understanding. The Fairground Booth therefore has a visuality or pictorial sense in its graphic unworded movement.

Blok wants us to see that out of the chaos emerges a new form or sense of order through the theatrical.

The author is introduced  not as a god like creator but as fallible and weak.

For Blok, the Cosmos as a subject underpins the apocalypse - as in the fall of the stars and the heavens crashing to earth.
The very multilayeredness of themes invokes and multiplies new themes, directions, openings and expansions.

The Fairground Booth Dairy - 4

The King of Time Reading a book called "Deleuze and Futurism" by Helen Palmer and there is mention of Khlebnikov and his poe...