Telling stories with imagination.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Metta likes...Intensity

This week I started rehearsals for a non-Metta show - a new production of Barrie Keeffe's Gotcha, which is on at Riverside Studios (from March 1st-19th). It's quite a departure for me as it's just a play, I don't mean JUST a play - but I mean there's no puppets, circus or video projection craziness. It's just four people in one room, over one day. And it's brilliant, and will hopefully be a searing and visceral production which packs a real emotional punch (it's only day three of rehearsals but as everyone knows I'm an optimist). But it got me thinking about intensity...

Jake Roche in Gotcha, Riverside Studios 2011
Gotcha is a very intense play - partly by virtue of the small cast, all four of whom are pretty much on stage for the duration of the show, and partly by virtue of the plot which is about a young boy taking three of his teachers hostage by holding a cigarette over an open petrol tank on a motorbike. High stakes drama at its best! And inevitably in such a high-stakes and pressurised environment horrible things happen and you see people at their ugliest and conversely at their most vulnerable. But the thing that struck us all yesterday in rehearsals is the sheer intensity of the situation.

And for all the different styles and forms of storytelling that we use on Metta shows they too share an intensity - maybe that's simply a truth about great art - it is like life but in more concentrated form. The colours are more vibrant, the images sharper, the emotions more powerful perhaps, than the everyday, banal and mundane of real life. The work we like to make is vibrant, intense and to some extent always quite heightened (one might even say theatrical!) and so is the work we want to see; like Matthew Evans' 'super-charged' Midsummer Nights Dream currently playing at the Catford Broadway  and Frances Loy's all-female Doll's House that has just closed. We like the art that takes life and squeezes it down to the essential - a shot of vodka rather than a white wine spritzer.

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