As Close As You Get
To Being There
AS CLOSE AS YOU GET TO BEING THERE - an interdisciplinary performance project - was created through collaboration between Sandie Fisher, University of Ulster's Dance Artist in Residence and Anna Newell, Artistic Director, Queen’s Centre for Excellence in Creative and Performing Arts (NI) and was designed to enable students to work collaboratively and in a creative interdisciplinary environment. Over the course of the two week project students had the opportunity to work intensively, learning and sharing specialist skills from both dance and drama disciplines in order devise their own show.
On Monday 11 September 2006, the company met for the first time knowing only that on Wednesday 27th September 2006 they would perform a show that they had made in the intervening period. They walked into a room with a pile of blue chairs, a stack of the previous Sunday’s papers and flyers with the title of the show on it.
On the first day they began a devising process that started with looking at these newspapers to find images and/or stories that they wanted to explore. Many of the images, ideas and questions that came out of this process were around identity, loneliness and what are the seminal moments that make us who we are.
These crystallised around the story of Natascha Kampusch who at the age of 10 was snatched from the streets of Vienna as she made her way to school in 1988, and her recent escape from her captor aged 18.
All of the students devising the piece are only one or two years older than Natascha; and we turned to thinking about our years between ages 10 and 18 and the moments that made us who we were and the moments that she would have missed because of the turn her life took. Those years for her were so far removed from our own that we found that we were trying to imagine the unimaginable and that the only way to relate to them was to return to our own memories. The complex nature of her relationship with her captor and other elements of her story also led to questions about being trapped and safety. Images and text and movement began to emerge.
AS CLOSE AS YOU GET TO BEING THERE was created in 10 days from the very initial idea through to technical and dress rehearsals. Daily classes in voice, movement and ensemble work developed skills alongside the devising process – many of the students had never done any contemporary dance previous to the project, some had never spoken on stage before and for the majority it was their first full-scale production in the Drama and Film Centre.
Devised by the Company
Directed by Sandie Fisher and Anna Newell
SET, COSTUME & LIGHTING DESIGN: Niall Rea
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Ross McDade
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Caoilfhionn Cassidy
REHEARSAL PHOTOGRAPHS: Neil Harrison