Thursday, 28 July 2016

Epic Improvising Storytelling

inspired by: 
the Kathakali Dance Drama of South India 
Tibetan Buddhist ritual performance 
the improvising storytelling poets of Upper Egypt 
the Vaudeville theatre of Scotland 
the Theatre of Lindsay Kemp
Giles Havergal’s Glasgow Citizens Theatre Company

Laurance Rudic is a self-taught Scottish theatre artist who has spent much of his life exploring spatial awareness and kinesthetic consciousness in performance. 

For almost a quarter of a century, playing in well over 100 roles, he was a leading player with an innovative and internationally-renowned repertory theatre company – The Glasgow Citizens. The company was run by a triumvirate of visionary directors who employed young actors as artists, giving them the freedom to develop a creative voice - (Giles HavergalPhilip ProwseRobert David MacDonald)

Rudic joined the company at the age of 19 and through his previous work with the dancer and director Lindsay Kemp, began exploring a non-dualistic approach to working with text and the company's repertoire of classical European drama. His dream was to develop himself as an actor by living his life onstage through the various roles. Over many years, in an attempt to find out how he did what he did instinctively, he began using a wide variety of physio-philosophical tools, including somatic yoga, hypnosis and ideokinesis, With time, this brought about a spatial awareness which led to an increasingly extemporising presence in the drama. 

As well as the Citizens, he has also been a leading player in several other UK companies including Ian McKellan’s company at the Royal National Theatre in London where he played Trofimov in Mike Alfreds’ production of The Cherry Orchard; and in London’s West End playing the role of Cook to Glenda Jackson’s Mother Courage

Throughout those years, he had also travelled extensively in more traditional performance cultures - Morocco, Afghanistan, Egypt and India. After leaving the Citizens in the mid-90's, he returned to Egypt on a Ford Foundation scholarship in order to observe the dying breed of improvising storytelling bards from Upper Egypt. During this time he was invited to share something of his process with young Egyptian performers, and this led to his becoming involved in another aspect of the awareness process - exploring ways of passing it on to others. In Cairo, he has taught and held workshops with Studio Zat, El Warsha Theatre Company, The American University in Cairo, Karima Mansour’s Cairo Contemporary Dance Company (CCDC), and the Jesuit Theatre School. For TUT Theatre he co-directed Bassem 'Adly's stage adaptation of The Dazzling Absence of Light by Taher Ben Jalloun.

"And God Created..." 
"Nothing is hidden, as the rug he rolls out at the start of his voyage becomes the nearest thing resembling any kind of safety net, emotional or otherwise. In truth, it represents a magic carpet ride taking a brief, purging respite from all the turbulence encountered en route. Somewhere along the way, he becomes a stunning performer, first with flamboyant provocateur Lindsay Kemp, then as the Citizens' most adventurous arbiter of truth. Fragile, vulnerable and all but reliving past pleasures and pains, Rudic swoops nervily from moment to moment with reckless honesty, but without any of the afflictions of confessional indulgence of the worst kind. Exposed as he is, Rudic's warts and all self-portrait is a thrillingly intimate experience." Neil Cooper - Herald

A small boy was given a drum. He banged it all day long from the moment he woke up until he went to sleep. Everyone was driven mad by the noise. Earplugs were handed out. Doctors and scholars were called in to try and get him to stop. Nothing worked. Eventually a wise man came to visit. He handed the boy a hammer and chisel and said, "I wonder what is INSIDE the drum?"