Article by Tessa Allinson, Interview by Tessa Allinson, Michelle Rodgers &; Nathalie Holman.
A Scenofest report and interview on: Site Specific for Love – I know that love will take us away from here. Performed at the Roxy Nod on 18th June 2007.
“What does a man do when he loses his ease of heart?”
“What does a man do when everything falls down?”
“If love gets us away from here will there be nothing to fear?”
These questions and more love related musings were presented honestly and without fear to an audience of about 20. Yet each of us I am sure felt that the words had been written by our own ghost hand at some point in our lives, or written for us. For all those of us who have loved without fear and loved despite fear, for those of us who have cheated and been cheated on, for those of us who wake each day wondering will this tenuous love last, this piece was for you. The installation by Flavio Graff, is an etude to a much larger scale project devised by Teatro Aultonomous, a multi-media performance artist group based in Brazil.
A dark room, two projections, about 20 chairs and a table covered with objects: a box of heart shaped biscuits, a bowl of strawberries, a knife, a smoothie maker, a candle, a glass and a pile of postcards. As we enter the space we are each given a yellow envelope containing a leaflet of love song lyrics. The soundtrack has started and the projections are of a living room in an abandoned shell of a house, leaves on the floor and crumbling walls.
I sat down and opened my envelope. Silent tears rolled down my face as I read, oblivious to anything else going on around me and overwhelmed by emotion the tears continued to stream from my eyes. The words in front of me were a mirror of the emotions in my heart and the thoughts in my head. My stomach churned as I read on, I was sure these lyrics were written for me, they reflected exactly what I was feeling. The performance was such a simple concept but the emotions that it triggered throughout the audience was phenomenal. To me it felt so personal and overwhelming; the whole atmosphere of the space tugged at my heartstrings and cocooned me in an uncontrollable frenzy of emotion.
Audience members left with a cookie in hand and a kiss on the cheek from Flavio, a personal touch that melted in the mouth as you walked down the stairs and into the harsh daylight of a life in which wearing your heart on your sleeve is a dangerous game.
What do you do back home in Brazil?
I am a designer in set, costume, lighting, I do many things.
What was your inspiration for this performance?
I started thinking about this work about 4 years ago because I wanted to do something that could combine different arts to make a performance. I was interested mostly in working with music and how it is possible to create a narrative within the soundscape. I wanted to create a sensory experience by combining images with these audio clues.
This particular performance is actually part of a bigger project; we are working on the different sections of a bigger story. This particular section is about the impossibility of love. The proceeding section that we are now working on is about how this man and woman can develop and find a way of making this impossible love possible. This next section is particularly interesting to me as we all often as a society discuss impossible love but not the ways in which we can overcome this.
Was the narrative of the story based on a true story?
Yes of course, all stories are normally based on a true story of some sort but this is not based on a specific story. It was just all of our company putting all of experiences together to create this new narrative.
How long have your company worked together?
I have been working with this company for 8 years but the company itself has been going for 20. We are all hoping to go back to Brazil to complete this work. This is just the beginning for us, we need to complete the next section and choreograph them together into our final performance.
Photograph by Michelle Rodgers