Morgan Jones Phillips (The Emergency Monologues) interviews WHY NOT THEATRE about their production of
I’m So Close It’s Not Even Funny
by the Company
Directed by the Company
Presented by Why Not Theatre
Featuring Katrina Bugaj, Troels Hagen Findsen, Ravi Jain
Building on their interest in physical storytelling, Theatre Why Not, a Lecoq-trained company hailing from different time-zones, conjures a comedic and absurd contemporary fable of a world geared by beeping clocks. Invention meets ridiculousness as they take you on a journey through the unrelenting ticking of time. Don’t be late!
With your company being so international, how do you think that changes how you work?
I’m not really sure. When we create things we ask ourselves if anyone watching could understand what is going on, even if the story relies heavily on text, can people see what is going on? Can they follow the story? We play a lot with different languages in the room, which is fun too!
What qualities does such diversity bring to your production?
Our different cultures, languages and experiences play a big role in how, and what, we create… we can’t take much for granted. Little turns of phrase can be easily misunderstood. Sometimes this is frustrating, but most often it sheds a new perspective on something and keeps us alert. This gives a certain energy in the room and in our creation. And, we also get to play with languages and learn things one wouldn’t normally learn, like Danish drinking songs.
What role does language have in your play? Is there dialogue?
Language plays an important role in this play. During the development of the show so far we’ve been improvising and writing text, so there will be dialogue. The different languages we speak have also been used during the research… but as we’re still developing, and will be until we show, it’s difficult to say if there will be different languages in the show or how much dialogue there will be, whatever best serves the story we’re trying to make, really. But, there will definitely be some dialogue.
What was your process like to create the show? Do you work collectively or does someone bring a project to the table?
This project began with a failed project. There was a small idea in that failed project that wouldn’t go away and it developed over many emails and skype conversations and gathering of news paper articles. We have someone who is designated “outside eye” and they are responsible for the show, but we all contribute, create, write, act, direct, it is collective, but there is someone at the end of the day who makes the decisions.
Has the show been performed before?
No. This is a new one, and actually our first devised piece as a company since we graduated from Lecoq. It has been an interesting experience for us because we have been faced with challenges that are helping to define us as a company.
Does the audience become involved?
Not really. There is contact with them, but no touching or talking back or bringing them on stage or anything.
Your play explores the theme of time. Did differing cultural backgrounds bring differing perspectives on time?
Tell me more about Lecoq training and Theatre de Complicite?
Lecoq is a 2 year program with a focus on physical, ensemble based creation. While there you work with people from many different countries and you explore a variety of styles including; melodrama, tragedy, bouffon, commedia and clown. It’s where this company came from. We all met there and our experiences there have had a huge impact on us as a company, and also as individuals…it’s a place of intense research, rigor and folie.
Theatre de Complicite is a London based company with a strong Lecoq tie, many of the people who started the company and who have worked with the company have trained there. They have been around for about 25 years and through the years the company has been a constantly evolving ensemble of collaborating artists who have contributed to the development and growth of their work and training. They have developed their own style of training that, like Lecoq, is very physical and ensemble based. Their work is inspiring…both the work they have done, and do, as a company as well as the outside work done by many of the individuals.
How does different media fit into your project?
This is the first time we are playing with projections and it has been exciting… we’re not sure if they will end up in the show, but it has been a fun exploration…
How do you break traditional molds of storytelling?
We don’t really.
How was your company founded/created?
While studying at Lecoq a few of us kept working together and when we finished school we still wanted to work together, so we decided to get together and do a project. We found a few weeks to be together and tried to make something. This experience was a big failure in a lot of ways but out of that struggle we found ourselves forced to articulate what we wanted and to imagine how we could make that happen.
So the company came from our common background and desire, and the beautiful failure…and, coincidentally, it was during this same failed attempt that we stumbled upon the idea that has grown into “I’m So Close It’s Not Even Funny.”