Go Deeper

Rotozaza Workshop is a hit!

Posted April 17th, 2008

This week, Silvia Mercuriali of British theater company Rotozaza fought her way out of Mexico and through the Charlotte airport just to run a theater workshop for us! Even when USAir lost her luggage, Silvia said, “no! I shall continue on to Philadelphia.” On Tuesday, a small group of students from Drexel, Haverford College, Temple, and UArts worked with Silvia and learned about TOCAR, the Theater of Command and Response.

<%image(20080417-roto film strip.jpg|468|149|null)%>TOCAR explores different ways to create theater using unrehearsed, often inexperienced performers. Willing participants simply follow instructions, given to them either live or through headphones, and the performance unfolds like magic. After a day of TOCAR-related experiments and Indian take-out, the workshop participants shared several short TOCAR vignettes at a presentation for Festival friends, board members, and the Live Arts and Philly Fringe staff. Many presentation attendees joined the fun and volunteered to participate. In one vignette, a group of six Festival staff members and artists were given instructions through iPods:

Count to ten.
Jump up in the air.
Run to the back of the room.
Turn around and look at the audience.
Watch Silvia and do what she does.

[Silvia stands at the back of the room and begins to dance—she shows off her biceps, shakes her butt, and then begins to flutter like a ballerina.]
Repeat what I say.
[The voice on the recorder begins to recite truisms from the artist Jenny Holzer.]
Expiring for love is beautiful but stupid.
A sense of timing is the mark of genius.
at times inactivity is preferable to mindless functioning
elaboration is a form of pollution

It’s amazing how well people can follow instructions sometimes! If this sounds like fun to you, visit Rotozaza’s website, and learn about Etiquette, which will make its Philadelphia debut at the Live Arts Festival in September.