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Artistic Methods & Outputs

The CROWD project was initiated by script writer and Terra Nova Artistic Director Andrea Montgomery.  It is being lead by  Andrea Montgomery and Sarah Davey, a fellow director with whom she has a long standing partnership. Between them these creative women have more than 40 years of successful, critically acclaimed theatre experience to draw upon. This project combines many aspects of devising, cross-cultural exploration, traditional script development, and project creation in theatre, film, animation, puppetry and sound.

Co-director Sarah Davey describes the team's artistic process to date...

How precisely did we work? In four main ways:

Firstly, a fairly traditional model: Andrea had a number of scenes that she had written and we used these in a number of different ways. Sometimes, we read the scenes and then ‘put them on their feet’ – tried with different actors taking the roles, playing the scenes and then talking about what worked and what didn’t and trying new ways of playing or different actors playing the parts. This was really to establish if a scene worked or if it needed reworking. Scenes re-worked accordingly.

Secondly, we worked on a devising based model: some scenes we devised – we improvised scenes that the writer felt should exist but hadn’t yet written. We used character and plot as a springboard to improvise with – carefully constructing events and intentions we encouraged the actors use their own words to play out the scene. This enabled Andrea to watch and observe the characters (actors) motivations and how the scene worked so she could go away and write the text based on those observations (not verbatim). Some of the scenes were then written overnight and the company read them the following day, others will be written at another juncture.

Thirdly, we worked on the ensemble: we continued to explore how we could bring a very diverse group of actors together and how we might use the company as a ‘chorus’ (in the Greek theatre tradition) to comment on the action of the protagonists, to impart parts facts on climate change, population growth, biomedical science in a visual as well as aural way. We sought more theatrical and non naturalistic means of imparting ideas – e.g. we worked on ideas of an ‘exit ceremony’, exploring theatrical forms of assisted suicide and euthanasia in all their controversy; we explored how to show the effects of the human population explosion and the reduced carrying capacity of environments on populations of other species sending them into extinction - moving as one group, like a flock of birds, the actors explored holding in each hand a brown paper bird to make a flock and moving through the space together and then every few moments, one of the actors taking their bird away.We created simple but beautiful images which convey a message powerfully and that also works well with audiences who have different languages.

Last but not least: we explored different art forms – puppets, animation and the use of sound – all great and complimentary mediums theatrically. 

And here is a rough thirty second trailer for this process in the private professional workshop...

And composer Raoul Brand generated a short "sample" of what the future world of Greenland might sound like, based on sound work from the 2010 workshop. Some of the ideas explored were: what does the technology of the future sound like? What does technology sound like in places that have been wild hitherto (Greenland) and what accents and voices are we surounded with?

All the sounds were created by the Company.