TWR017 - On the Road: FAVORITEN Festival 2020

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Simon Bronikowski
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Antje Velsinger
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Ulrike Seybold
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Maria Vogt
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Olivia Ebert
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Saskia Rudat

(recorded on 17, 18 & 20 Sep)

Simon has had the great pleasure to accompany this year’s edition of the FAVORITEN Festival, one of the oldest festivals for independent performing arts in Western Germany, which is organised every two years since 1985.

Now this podcast is becoming a peripandemic podcast, meaning „about“, „around“, „surrounding“ the pandemic; as we have to deal with the pandemic, which is not going away, we have to deal with this podcast which is also staying, by reinventing it and trying out new things. So this is the first episode of the white room “on the road” – and it was fun!

In the podcast Simon talks to

Antje Velsinger, choreographer and performer based in Cologne and Hamburg, about her performance dreams in a cloudy space (Sound: Julia Krause) and the meeting of young and old bodies
Ulrike Seybold, manager of the regional association for independent performing arts in North Rhine Westphalia, about her work
Maria Vogt from the performance group KGI about their work And now everyone! An Opera (Music: Moritz Anthes, Rasmus Nordholt-Frieling) and working with “non-professional” performers
Olivia Ebert, one of the Artistic Directors of the Festival together with Fanti Baum, about the festival in general and the topic “WORK”
Saskia Rudat, performer and director, and her team about their performance Defining (i) dentity olo dentity oio dentity (l) dentity (Sound: Jakob Lorenz) and all the questions that Simon had. You can use the chapter markers to skip to what interests you.

Sound excerpts are used with the kind permission of the copyright owners.
Festival photos (c) Sarah Rauch 


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it, by recommending it to your friends and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

TWR016 - Summer has left

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Simon Bronikowski
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Marije Nie

(recorded on Sep 6, 2020)

 

“And now summer has left
as if it never came at all.
It’s warm still where the sun falls.
But it’s not enough. (…)” – Arseny Tarkovsky

Towards the end of the summer period we sat in the sun and talked about what‘s on our mind.

In a talkative mood we produced a long conversation. You can use the chapter function to skip to a topic that interests you.

First we reflect on how summer has been for us, borrowing the term “peripandemic” from Christiane Hütter, who talks about “peripandemic theatre” (the article is in german).

This is followed by a lenghty inquiry on a topic that Simon brought in for the occasion: Giving birth. Without claiming to lay foundations for any kind of theory, we discover some surprising parallels between how a human being and how a performance is born.

We end on some thoughts on how to relate to (theatre) traditions, which die with the people who embodied them.

Show notes:

Parliament of Practices – website soon to be found under www.parliament-of-practices.space

Cross Pollination – network for dialogue in-between practices: http://www.crosspollination.space

Chapters:

00:00:00 Meeting in the Blue Moon of September
00:05:09 Peripandemic Projects: • Parliament of Practices
00:12:17 • Embracing the Unknown
00:18:27 • #1001fires
00:25:24 • Small Summer Festivals…
00:37:17 • …Pecuniary Affairs and Cultural Policy
00:51:27 • Street Theatre Festival
01:01:36 Towards a Peripandemic Podcast
01:03:47 Giving Birth (to a Performance)
01:41:32 Relation to Tradition: (Re)Inventing the Wheel
01:48:22 Looking forward


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.  

TWR015 - Something Has To Communicate (with Gonzalo Alarcón)

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Simon Bronikowski
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Marije Nie
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Gonzalo Alarcón
(recorded on April 24, 2020)

GONZALO ALARCÓN (Brussels, BE) started as a Circus performer on the streets of Chile. He then discovered the Art of the Clown, which continues to be his focus. His latest performance Chiringuito Paradise tells the story of the grand opening of a bar which ends in complete catastrophe.

We sit together with Gonzalo for the third time and finally get to listen to some clips. We start with a short one and discover the Rhythm of John Cleese’s performance in “Fawlty Towers”. We try to figure out how to learn, shape and discover the “professional intuition” that enables you to play with Rhythm. We listen to the cleverly constructed “failing tunes” by John Edwards, a pseudonym of pianist, arranger, composer, and conductor Paul Weston and laugh a lot. Finally we listen to the charming Victor Borge, who seduces the audience with pun after pun.

This is the third part of a series of conversations spiraling around comedy. You can use the chapters to jump to what interests you.

Part 1: The Music of Laughter
Part 2: The Physics of Comedy

Shownotes:
1. John Cleese in Fawlty Towers without drums and with drums
2. Jonathan Edwards – Keeping Out Of Mischief Now
3. Victor Borge’s performance
4. Simon mentions Les Luthiers (spanish)

Thanks to Eric Kooger (Amsterdam, NL) for the drum tracks.
Thanks to Jonas de Rave (Gent, BE) for the accordion tracks.

00:00:00 Back in the Room with Gonzalo
00:01:53 Example 1: John Cleese in Faulty Towers
00:08:26 Unlearning, Training
00:12:44 Rhythm
00:16:50 Rehearsals
00:19:40 Simon tries to be funny…
00:20:51 Example 2: Jonathan Edwards a.k.a. Paul Weston
00:30:11 Something Has To Communicate
00:34:07 Context
00:36:53 Problem of Content
00:43:24 Example 3: Victor Borge
00:54:20 Last words by Gonzalo


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

TWR014 - The Physics of Comedy (with Gonzalo Alarcón)

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Simon Bronikowski
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Marije Nie
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Gonzalo Alarcón

(recorded on April 22, 2020)

GONZALO ALARCÓN (Brussels, BE) started as a Circus performer on the streets of Chile. He then discovered the Art of the Clown, which continues to be his focus. His latest performance Chiringuito Paradise tells the story of the grand opening of a bar which ends in complete catastrophe.

This is the second part of a series of conversations spiraling around comedy. As these episodes will be quite long, you can use the chapters to jump to what interests you.

We are back in the room with Gonzalo talking about comedy. After some preliminary talk about the question “KEATON or CHAPLIN!?” we take our time to discuss the classic masters and why we need to look at their work and what we can learn from them; then we dive into the “anatomy” of the joke, the punchline, how to create a problem and finding a surprising solution to it, how to increase the “potential energy” of the joke, comparing it to music and especially concentrating again on rhythm. We find a lot of nice analogies to the laws of nature and are proud of having discovered the “Physics of Comedy”!

Part 1: The Music of Laughter
Part 3: Something Has To Communicate

Shownotes:
Larry Griswold Slapstick

Thanks to Eric Kooger (Amsterdam, NL) for the drum tracks.
Thanks to Jonas de Rave (Gent, BE) for the accordion tracks.

Chapters:
00:00:00 Keaton or Chaplin!?
00:00:32 Back in the Room with Gonzalo Alarcón
00:02:00 Chiringuito Paradise
00:06:45 Visual Comedy
00:08:28 Keaton and Chaplin
00:25:25 Learning from the Masters
00:31:00 Clichés, Principles, Intuition
00:36:53 Physics of Comedy
00:43:04 Tensions and Expectations
00:51:13 Know your Objective
00:58:10 Potential Energy – Building up the Problem
01:05:02 Too Much is Not Interesting
01:07:29 Rhythm
01:11:50 Bonus: Jesus joke


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

TWR013 - It's Your Duty to Create Beauty (with Jordan & Shorr)

(recorded on June 6, 2020)

TOUCHSTONE THEATRE (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA) was founded in 1981 as a street theatre troupe and slowly grew to be a professional not-for-profit theatre dedicated to the creation of original work. At its center is a resident ensemble of theatre artists rooted in the local community of Bethlehem, the Greater Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania and the international community of Ensemble Theatres.

With Christopher and JP we speak shortly about their story, about how we met each other, about Touchstone Theatre and then enter a long “money talk”. We speak about funding strategies and public support for the Arts, the situation and history in the USA and in Germany and the Netherlands; we speak about Theatre Networks and helping each other.

We touch the current situation in the USA and how Touchstone is reacting. We ask ourselves more generally how to act in times of chaos – and find that it’s our duty to create beauty.

In the beginning and in the end we listen to some sweet Accordion music by our friend Jonas de Rave (Gent, BE).

00:00 A Room, an Accordion & four Persons
05:46 Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley
09:03 Drive-in (Movie) Theaters
14:30 Meetings and Crossings: Italy, Denmark, Poland
20:38 Touchstone Theatre
28:49 Money Talk
34:45 The Devil Always Shits on the Biggest Pile
37:46 Public Support for the Arts in the USA
42:38 Germany as an Example
52:59 Public Support as Response to Crises
01:02:44 Situation in the Netherlands
01:05:19 Invisible Genii
01:08:59 Networks
01:14:33 Collaboration
01:16:32 Recycling
01:19:07 Black Lives Matter
01:27:35 How to Act in Times of Chaos
01:41:38 It’s Your Duty to Create Beauty
01:46:27 Two Antidotes and one Accordion

TWR012 - Fires and Darkness

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Simon Bronikowski
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Marije Nie

(recorded on June 1, 2020)

We are back, just the two of us, and we are in the mood. In this evening conversation we try to make some sense of what is going on at the moment. 

As we experience the possibility of opening our venues again, we need to speak about dealing with the risks – which Berlin virologist Christian Drosten called “dancing with the tiger”. 

Marije speaks about the project “1000 Fires Burning” – a cooperative message from artists and culture makers from all over the world. On July 25 this summer, you can take part and present a “fire” and share it with the hashtag #1000FiresBurning. A fire can be a performance, a song, an installation, a poem, a dance… 

We argue that if the big festivals are cancelled and lost, we should have a summer of many small events, interventions, invitations that offer places and situations to meet safely. Small campfires to grill marshmallows, listen to stories and get an understanding of each others lives. 

In the end we turn to the events in USA following the assassination of George Floyd by Police, Simon recommends listening to the latest, raging Episode of the Tomorrow Podcast and to what Trevor Noah had to say about it.

The cover foto shows a mural in Minneapolis, a collaborative project by artists Xena GoldmanCadex Herrera, Greta McLain, Niko Alexander, and Pablo Hernandez, that centers George Floyd within a sunflower. He’s surrounded by the names of others killed by police, in addition to protestors. The 20-by-6.5-foot project is located near the Cup Foods where Floyd died.

00:00 Stray Leaves Conversation
07:28 The Hammer and the Dance…
17:48 …and the Tiger
23:27 1000 Fires Burning
33:12 How to dance
40:44 Where’s the money?
47:33 Unrest, George Floyd, Listening


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com.
You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

TWR011 - The Athletic Voice (with Marta Wryk)

(recorded on May 12, 2020)

MARTA WRYK (Cologne, DE)
is a Mezzosoprano Opera singer. She debuted in 2011 at the Virginia Opera (USA) before establishing herself in Cologne. Her manifold experience extends from performing in established opera theatres to more experimental and fringe productions.

We speak about her musical and artistic roots in Polish singing traditions , about beginning to sing, about the extremely efficient use of voice by babies and why most persons lose that ability.

We speak at length about voice and the work with voice – which is basically learning to shape and change an extremely complex physical process with your imagination and your intentions.

We dive into a discussion of the Opera World and touch the question of why apparently there is no Independent Opera movement and despite all the revolutions of Theatre and Dance that shaped the 20th century and still intrigue and question us today – somehow Opera stayed very much in in the 19th century and enjoys its colorful pompousness with a very genuine culture around it. (This is absolutely not meant as depreciation!)

In the end there is a reflection on what great performance could be – and we listen to Marta generously singing a Quartet alone – Così fan tutte in home office…

Shownotes
Parliament of Practices in times of Corona: Regular online-meetings by Artists from all over Europe, reflecting and working together.
Peter Brook’s Opera works: Tragédie de Carmen (1983) and A Magic Flute (2011)
Sanjukta Panigrahi (1944 – 1997): Work demonstration at the International School of Theatre Anthropology 1996 in Copenhagen


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com.
You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.


00:18 Back in the Room
03:25 There is a guest: Marta Wryk
08:13 How Marta began
10:14 Singing with Grandmother Felicia
15:36 Anatomy and Awareness
17:00 Professionalism and Original Spontaneity
19:17 Socialized Voice and Vocal Freedom
20:58 The Negative Way
23:14 The Voice is a Strange Animal
30:27 Being “Out of Tune”
33:46 The Athletic Voice
43:33 Imagination and Physics
56:56 Opera Voice, Vibrato and Change of Taste
01:00:15 Lotte Lenya!
01:04:58 Specialization, Flexibility
01:07:45 Opera and Theatre
01:18:02 Opera Audience Culture
01:24:35 Opera Stage and Audience
01:26:59 Peter Brook’s Carmen and Magic Flute
01:29:49 Opera: Ensemble and Director
01:36:46 Marta, what is great Performance?
01:42:42 Last words and Goodbye Song

TWR010 - The Music of Laughter (with Gonzalo Alarcón)

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Simon Bronikowski
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Marije Nie
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Gonzalo Alarcón

(recorded on April 1, 2020)

GONZALO ALARCÓN (Brussels, BE)
started as a Circus performer on the streets of Chile. He then discovered the Art of the Clown, which continues to be his focus. His latest performance Chiringuito Paradise tells the story of the grand opening of a bar which ends in complete catastrophe.

This is the first part of a series of conversations spiraling around comedy. As these episodes will be quite long, you can use the chapters to jump to what interests you.

Part 2: The Physics of Comedy
Part 3: Something Has To Communicate

With Gonzalo we try (and fail, and try again, and fail better) to understand the nature of comedy, of what is funny, or how is funny. We return to the questions on technique, being good and the necessity of taking risks. We look at Rhythm (the key to it all?), jumping between jazz and theatre, with some fruitful insights into the nature of what “comic” could mean. Of course we look at Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. In the end we listen to and think about the comedy of sounds and objects.

In the second half we listen to the following clips:
1. “The Sanity Clause” from “A Night at the Opera” by the Marx Brothers (1935)
2. The “Smile Scene” from “Ninotchka” by Ernst Lubitsch (1939)

Marije mentions Cross Pollination a few times: A group of performers who meet regularly to explore a dialogue “in-between practices” which we founded together in 2017.

Simon mentions the BBC Sound Effects Archive. “These 16,000 BBC Sound Effects are made available by the BBC in WAV format to download for use under the terms of the RemArc Licence. The Sound Effects are BBC copyright, but they may be used for personal, educational or research purposes, as detailed in the license.”

(We’re sorry for the poor sound quality again – hoping that the content outweighs this deficit. It will get better!)

00:00 Small Introduction
02:26 There is a guest: Gonzalo Alarcón
11:33 How Gonzalo began
15:33 Importance of Taking Risks
18:57 Technique Against Technique
21:35 The Story – an Excuse for Exchange
24:53 Contaminazione Artistica
27:08 Comedy & Rhythm: How is Funny?
32:05 Accepting Failure
34:31 Technique and Trust
37:50 Example 1: Marx Brothers
49:43 Being Inside and Outside
57:38 Urgency
01:02:13 Listening to the Music of Laughter
01:05:14 Example 2: Ninotchka
01:13:26 Provoking Laughter
01:18:50 Embracing Tragedy
01:22:13 Mechanics, Precision, Timing
01:28:59 What moves you to perform
01:32:51 Humanity
01:37:31 Slapstick
01:39:25 Comedy of Sounds
01:43:26 Composition & Energy
01:50:11 To be continued…


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.

TWR009 - Effort and Beauty (with Mario Barzaghi)

(recorded on May 2, 2020)


MARIO BARZAGHI
is Actor and Director. He started doing theatre in the 70s as a factory worker. In 1981 he joined Teatro Tascabile di Bergamo under the direction of Renzo Vescovi and began studying Kathakali. He has been practising this form of theatre for 35 years under the guidance of his Master Kalamandalam K. M. John. He danced with him in India, Europe and Latin America. In 2000 he founded Teatro dell’Albero together with Rosalba Genovese. Developing the Actor’s Art between East and West has remained their core interest.


With Mario we speak about the current crisis, how theatre has to transform itself, about the relation to the spectator, about saving your work and the double face of the things.

We speak about roots and craft and time, and how Theatre and Art are governed by a different kind of time. In the end we look at Michelangelo.


We are happy to receive any (constructive) feedback and criticism, corrections, comments, questions and notes: whiteroom (at) whiteroom-pod.com. You can also comment below. We will try to reflect on this input in the podcast.

You can support the podcast by subscribing to it and by becoming a producer, if you like. A small regular contribution already makes a big difference.