Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Welcome To The National Elevator Project

Theatre Yes believes that very intimate performance environments create intense, arousing, personalized experiences with a high degree of interactivity which give recorded and digital media a ‘run for their money’.

In elevators we ascend towards the sky and plummet to the earth in mere seconds while jammed into tight spaces with people we don’t know. So, also, our lives are shaped and changed by transactions and collisions with strangers who are transformed into friends and sometimes become family. The life altering events, conflicts, and discoveries that take us to the heights of joy and plunge us to the depths of despair can happen in mere moments. Theatre Yes’s NATIONAL ELEVATOR PROJECT will challenge audiences to witness themselves and each other in the midst of transformation through the prismatic lens of 16-newly commissioned Canadian plays.

The circumstance of riding an elevator will be essential to the construction of each play. These works will be built to capitalize on the restrictions and opportunities an elevator creates. The plays will use the uneasiness which people feel sharing confined public spaces to open up unique theatre experiences that will expand the boundaries of what audiences understand theatre to be. Audiences will share the same space with performers and so will become part of each performance. The works will explore the impact of very-short-form narrative while developing themes of transformation, using elevators as both location and metaphor for those dizzying moments in our lives where we are changed. The plays will be crafted and performed in such a way as to make room for audiences’ authentic responses to the work, removing the safety net of traditional theatre, inviting them to enter into hyper-intimate and one-of-a-kind, performance experiences.

Contemporary culture connects AND isolates us, the digital/virtual realm so dominates our lives that we cannot help but experience real-time, real-world artistic events differently. Live theatre struggles to compete with the enticingly close, personal and instantly gratifying array of digitized entertainment that stimulates and challenges us intellectually, changing the vary nature of our thinking.

The NATIONAL ELEVATOR PROJECT will immerse audiences in short-form narratives occurring in moving site-specific locations. Elevators are laden with challenges, for many of us, because they force us to confront hard-wired, hidden fears. Our heart rates climb as we step inside an elevator whether we want them to or not. It is a confined space. We have to stand closer to people than we would like. We literally become heavier and lighter during the ride, invoking involuntary sensations of falling as we are propelled vertically, at lightening speed, on thin cables, which if they broke (and we’ve all thought about it) would mean certain death. We experience primal fight or flight instincts in elevators and this project capitalizes on these physiologically loaded environments to create one-of-a-kind experiences for audiences. For the duration of each play (5 minutes MAX) there will be nowhere for audiences to hide, the boundaries and safety nets of screen and stage will be taken away. This is theatre that capitalizes and magnifies one of the fundamental realities of live theatre: the performers are in the same room with the audience. And in this case it’s a very small room. Via the NATIONAL ELEVATOR PROJECT we hope to viscerally engage audiences’ with an intensity that affirms the power of live theater over recorded / online media.

NATIONAL ELEVATOR PROJECT is creating real-time, real-space connections between artists and audiences underscoring the potency of communion and connection in a culture that increasingly separates us physically from one another.

October 17th - 27th, 2013

January 21st - February 1st, 2014 
Presented at Workshop West's Canoe Festival http://www.workshopwest.org

1 comment:

  1. Welcome All! This is a blog to share thoughts and findings about plays in elevators. The intention is that it becomes a useful forum to share what we collectively are investigating in the creation of this work. Watch for upcoming posts outlining the rules for elevator plays and findings from early bird workshops...