Monday, January 16, 2017

Updates from Myanmar

Greetings from Yangon, Myanmar, where Bond Street Theatre has just wrapped the second week of rehearsals for Volpone, our show in collaboration with Burmese theatre group Thukhuma Khayeethe.

Those of you who have followed Bond Street's adventures over the years might remember that we frequently rehearse at the very cool Gitameit Music School in Yangon. This time we were lucky to be the first group to rehearse in the "new" Gitameit studios. Well, lucky might be a little strong, since they are still actively constructing the building, which meant dust, nails, sparks and concrete everywhere. Concrete steps newly poured..."hmm, any steel reinforcing in there?" we wondered as we made our way to the third floor. 

The best thing was the group of workmen who traipsed around during our warm-ups and rehearsals, watching us with great curiosity. One of them was heard to say, "What are they doing? They're just playing!"  Yup. That's why they call it a play.  

After one week, they started some serious welding in our space and we had to move. For our second week, we rehearsed in a small Buddhist Monastery located near the home of director Thila Min. Note: monasteries make great rehearsal spaces!

Our rehearsals so far have included practice in traditional Burmese dance, learning a traditional Nat dance, a spirit dance that (interestingly enough) is about the joys of drinking. We have spent our meetings with TK over the years sharing physical performance techniques, so we speak the same language theatrically and can jump right into the work. Our latest addition to the mix was introducing the style of the Italian commedia dell'arte. Now, in the third stage of working on Volpone, we are easily blending our mix of physical vocabularies.  

We are working all day -- 10am to 5pm!  What a luxury!  Morning and afternoon sessions are separated by lunch at one of the street side stalls. Yes, I know they say don't eat street food... but this is what they have! And it's great food, freshly made from fresh produce from local farmers

Next week is tech week and the cast and crew will be assembling set pieces and costumes for our debut public performances in the following week!  It's been a whirlwind process, and the next week is sure to be no different. If there's one thing we've learned about street performances, it's that they are always full of surprises! Stay tuned!

Rehearsing at the New Gitameit Studios

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