lundi 11 octobre 2010

'...Ko' concerns

Today we had a meeting about the development process of our most recent project "Captain Ko and the Planet of Rice". Originally conceived during a SITE Residency at Tobacco Factory and Theatre Bristol this summer, the piece wants to tackle the themes of ageing, memory (and in particular memory loss) and identity. The piece is set in outer space, in a distant future, on an austere planet of rice, and we follow two characters, as they discover what the mysterious planet beholds.

In the last month, however, we've found many other companies and projects dealing with these themes,(in very, very similar ways!) and are struggling to work out how to reconcile our belief in our authenticity with the inevitable likeness to these other works. After all, we all know the fear of the artist, the utter frustration at, and ultimate need of, Comparison (to quote Taylor Mac!).

How to know what to do with an original idea, after you've seen it perfectly executed by someone else? Remarkably Fevered Sleep's On Ageing ( at the Young Vic, which we thought was an extraordinary, and beautifully formed, contemplative piece on the subject. The use of mics, the simplicity in design, the delicate treatment of transcript and/ as text, the gaps between speaker, text and memory, the use of objects (accumulation on stage), object in a jar, are all elements present in the material we've already created for Ko.

Similarly Unlimited Theatre's latest piece "Mission to Mars" a co-production with Polka Theatre ( is set - obviously - in space, and seems to be inspired, even indirectly by classic Science Fiction stories. Not to mention Stan's Cafe's touching and evocative use of rice by the tonne, in their durational piece

Can we, in all seriousness, present our story of two spacemen (surrounded by bucket-fulls of rice, uncovering the objects of memory-past, whilst speaking transcripts of interviews through microphones around the stage), to a knowing audience without them reading 'pastiche' - or indeed plagiarism ! - in our every move?

Where can we take our material now? How can we move forward knowing that what we've got has just been tried and tested, successfully, by others? How can we re-invent it, so that when people see the finished product they're struck by its originality?


for more thoughts on this see Richard Dedomenici's clever and witty piece titled 'Plagiarismo' (