End Days

>A blog series on the closing of Imago’s FROGZ and ZooZoo.

Okay, I’ll admit it. When one works on the same work for over three decades there’s joy in letting it go. Hard to say that when you’re also the marketing director.

However, the lessons I’ve learned working in such a minimal form such as mask theatre has enabled me to direct a large body of work unrelated to mask theatre.

I don’t believe in rules. However, there are two guidelines that are very difficult to ignore.

1. If it’s complicated, it most likely won’t work. (Now I’m very scared, because Imago next big thing La Belle is anything but complicated. Yikes!)

2. If there’s narrative in it, especially for non-verbal theatre, it probably won’t work. This is a good lesson for anyone thinking of dropping into this form. There are many ways to do theatre. Many have come to believe that plays are stories. Anything that does not have story is not theatre but rather performance art or other catch phrase. I disagree. The same as you would throw the notion out that tension must exist in theatre, so too, you can throw out that notion that story must be part of theatre. So what must be there? I don’t know exactly. What I do know is that something needs to be in that place held for story/tension in order for the audience to keep watching. Here’s what currently drives the pieces in ZooZoo:

Bugeyes – our enchantment for the night when we were kids.

Hippos – almost everyone’s universal nemesis – insomnia

Anteaters – cheap tricks with a party toy through the mouth of an anteater

Paper Bag – illusion, how is this being done?

Frogs –empathy for the underdog that is not keeping “up” with the Joneses

Polar Bears – from nature to circus and back to nature, the story of our species

Cats – man’s second best friend

Larvabatic – illusion, how is this being done?

Windbags – a family of accordions play it up

Penguins – the deadpan quality of a penguin

Paper – the unveiling of the artist

ZooZoo has its farewell run in Portland this December.

Details go to:

www.imagotheatre.com

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