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WSBL about Auto Theater

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During our latest “white squared box lunch” session, we received a guest named Alexandre Calado from Artes e Engenhos, he talked to us about his idea for a new project that might be developed with the help of Artica named “Kasper”. It is related to the concept of auto theatre, the character from the original Kasper written by Peter Handke, and a research he has been conducting on the deprecated use of the prompter in modern theaters. He shared with us his concept for the play and gave us some insight on some of these topics (auto theater, prompter) which we would like to share with you on this blog post.

Auto theatre is a form of theatre which focuses on giving someone else control over what the actor performs on stage, or the audience themselves becoming the play. It is more explored in british theater culture. The first play of this kind is called “Bloke” and was displayed in 1999 by Ant Hampton and Sam Britton for the Rotozaza company. “Bloke” involved an actor who didn’t have a clue of what actions to follow or lines to say in the beginning of the show, the acting instructions where pre-recorded, and would be displayed either by sound or in a board for him and the audience to follow.

Later auto theatre evolved into an even more immersive experience where groups of two people would feel as both a performer/actor and the audience by sitting in front of one another in a coffee shop or a bar listening to narrative instructions and performing the actions instructed, while the people around them wouldn’t have a clue on what was going on. This play was called “ETIQUETTE” (video).

Other examples of plays by Ant Hampton featuring the auto theatre concept include “Cue China” and “Extra People”.

The idea by Alexandre is to create a play of the same type, but instead of taking place in a coffee shop or a bar, two people would be inside a real theater and the play itself would connect both more or less the same way as it was seen in “ETIQUETTE” plus having a pre-recorded non-linear narrative video of an actor performing a play and where these two people would take on the role of a fictional prompter affecting and being affected by the performance. The idea was brainstormed and discussed through-out the lunch providing Alexandre with a few other ideas or technical solutions for his concept.

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