Runs until June 3
Buck Assembled Artists and One Yellow Rabbit
Motel (Epcor Centre)
"Its quite a wild way to work," says David van Belle, minutes before he plans to begin unifying three separate 20-minute pieces and a series of images and video into a single performance, all with less than two weeks before the productions première.
It seems like something of an understatement, but whether the result is a success or a cataclysm, it should be fun to watch.
Appropriately, watching is at the centre of the latest co-operation between Buck Assembled Artists and One Yellow Rabbit. Voy.er.ee, an examination of the pains and pleasures of voyeurism, will be developed from a series of photographs by Hanan Chebib during a February photo shoot, from which three artists Jennifer Roberts, Beverly Rice and Anita Miotti have each developed a 20-minute performance. Finding the unity between these pieces will be van Belles task as director, combining projections, performances and even live digital captures of the audience into a cohesive performance that will be staged in the Epcor Centres Motel theatre.
As a member of the One Yellow Rabbit ensemble, van Belle is acutely aware of the challenges of this particular method of creation. Barely a month ago, the ensemble created their last production, Hayride, virtually from scratch over their rehearsal period. When asked whether the production is meant to be an enduring piece or simply an immediate exercise, van Belle responds essentially by pointing out that, along with the cast and crew, audiences will simply have to see.
"I feel like thats something that you discover after the work is done," he says. "I think if youre creating something for the future, having the audience come next week why should they bother watching it? Thats what theatre is, its temporal. If it wasnt, itd be film."
The production itself will be another peek at work from Buck Assembled Artists their first full-length show after this years Bad Grad, which appeared as part of OYRs High Performance Rodeo. But, though the show will provide a glimpse into the as-yet-forming shape of both the artists performance and the unity of their expression, the vicarious thrill of the theatre is a kind of watching that is altogether different from less prescribed watching.
"At least in the theatre, we have a little contract with the audience. We have that understanding," says van Belle. "But when you see someone in public or on the street, its the old cliché people putting on masks. When people are unselfconscious, I think theyre at their most beautiful.
"I have a feeling, that in our working on these pieces here, theres going to be a sense of direct acknowledgement of performing," he adds. "The performers will be close to the actors. The way were setting up Motel (in-the-alley seating), all the actors will be in close proximity to the audience."
Of course, in any discussion of voyeurism, natural curiosity always leans toward the salacious and the sexualized. But while van Belle acknowledges the inevitable comparison confessing his own voyeuristic inclination he points out that the pleasure of observing others is not defined simply by peeping Toms or poorly drawn bedroom blinds.
"Its a shame that its been so strongly linked to sexuality," he says. "Voyeurism is linked to power and control, but I think those are the abuses of watching. There is certainly such a thing as respectful watching. The kind you do when you stand at your living room window and watch the traffic go by, or watch a couple walk with their stroller down the street, because it doesnt necessarily involve an exchange or abuse of power."
At the same time, however, he is careful not to discount the possibility of a sexualized performance, since he hasnt witnessed the final result.
"It certainly is a part, and I have a feeling, in a discussion of voyeurism, I would hate to think that we would omit it," he says.
"But again, well see what happens."