Saturday, May 30, 2009

Temuco, Chile

Look on a map of the world. Any map will do. Find South America and then find Australia. Go to the place where South America reaches below Australia -- heading towards the southern most place on the earth. That's where we are right now. There is only one place on the planet farther south where there is a greater human population and its another Chilean city down the Pan American highway.

Crazy. And great.

Temuco has an exquisite theater in which we dance today (two shows) for what will end up being about 2,000 people -- that's two sold out houses. The reception we have
received in Chile has been startling in its graciousness and care. I thought it would be difficult at best to live up to the hospitality of the Middle East, but this has been every bit as remarkable.

And talk about publicity...

There are posters and billboards everywhere. Yesterday was a press conference with the Director of the Theater and the Mayor of Temuco.

The theater is enormous, and that presents a different set of challenges. The way the proscenium is designed the audience is far from the stage even in the first row, and so even though the house is smaller than the one in Talca it feels less intimate, and that means adjusting lighting and stage spacing in order to keep the intimacy of the works. This show, with the exception possibly of "Scorched" by Kate Weare, is very much an initmate program. It's success lies in making the audience feel that they are "with you" on stage, and that's harder to achieve in a venue this deep. We're adjusting by making what seem subtle changes -- taking out the white cyke that lines most backwalls in a theater and going instead to an all black space (an enormous black box), adjusting lighting so that it feels closer and a bit more "closed in."

Those are the kinds of changes which are key to success, but the timetable is very short. We got into the theater at about 3 yesterday, with David Whitlock, our Technical Director for the tour and I arriving first to see what we had before us. Dancers arrived around 7 to walk through the dances as David worked. Tech today for David and I starts in a few minutes as we leave the hotel for the theater, with the company coming at 2 for a 4pm matinee. Its such a long day for them that we are opting to bring them in late and keep them safe. But it makes for a bit of an adventure in lighting.

Nonetheless, great fun.

Oh, and talk about pressure -- the language on the posters says "the best dance in the world" Yikes.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

I live in Temuco. I went to see them on Saturday night.
I note, my English is not good!
It is interesting and fun to read as you will appreciate our city.
True, the posters read "the best dance of the world" .... no website of the city that emphasize and praise what they did.
There was the issue of physical space and the difficulties to achieve greater intimacy in the show I think. The room was complete. Even people sitting in the main corridor.
Which has many phrases in English can not be allowed closer proximity with the viewer. However, it also gave him an aggregate of universal communication.
In one week we will be seeing "Bolshoi and Kirov" .... something very different from what you do, but in essence dance!
Thanks for visiting!