Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Note to all my readers!

It has occurred lately, that I should remind all my dear readers of something:

This site is my personal internet diary, which DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY OFFICIAL STATEMENTS or opinions of the companies (herStay, Rimini Protokoll, Raatikko etc.) I work with.

The one and only purpose of these writings is to share some of my thoughts, ideas and experiences with my friends, whom I see too rarely.

I apologise any unconvinience and/or misunderstandings I might have caused by keeping this blog.


Friday, February 1, 2008

Nantes 21.-26.1.2008

Sadly, I had to leave the sunny South-east Asia way too soon. We had yet another Mnemopark-gig in western France, Nantes. I hopped on a plane in Bangkok and some 23 hours later I was in Nantes. Phooh.... Unbelievable difference.

6.00am. Can't sleep. Where are the sunny high skies, all the luminosity...?

We performed on the stage of "Le Lieu Unique", a theatre that used to be bisquit factory of world famous LU. Interior is still very unusual and characteristic.

Le Tour of Lieu Unique.

Details of the stage.

Couple of the first days in Nantes passed in somesort of haze for me. It wasn't so much because of the possible jet-lag, but more because of the pure tiredness after Asia experience. But finally, there was some sun in Nantes too.

Views of the city.

Me and Mitch.

Installations on the exterior of a museum of machanical elephant. This is supposed to be one of the attractions of Nantes, but it was closed this time we were there.

Late dinner at Taverne d'Maitré Kanter. Anna, Rahel and Niki.

Atmospheric snapshot...

Sunset at the Charles de Gaulle airport on the homebound journey.

HerStay Asian Tour 7.-21.1.2008

The first activity of the year 2008, was to embark on a tour with norwegian company HerStay. Two-week tour took me first to India and then to Thailand with a performance called "Past is Simulation". I was very excited about this opportunity, since that ment that I could visit Bangkok again, one of my all-time favorite cities in the world.

The tour started on 7th of January and first we landed in New Delhi, Rajasthan, India. There we would perform on Bharat Rang Mahotsav 2008 festival, which was organized by National School of Drama in New Delhi.

National School of Drama, New Delhi

Festival-decorated entrance of the NSD facilities

Our venue for the performance was LTG Auditorium near the school, at the proximity of Connaught Place downtown New Delhi. LTG is smallish procenium stage with a history of past 60 years, which can be seen in the interior. People working there were charming and after some logistic difficulties all the necessary equipment was also provided.

LTG Auditorium

On the quick glance everything looked all right, but on the closer inspection, you could see, that in India, there is some very original solutions for technical stuff. For example the dimmer below looks completely ordinary on the front side, but...

... when you have a look on the backside, you'll realise there is something, at least I've, never seen before. But, not to worry, everything worked all right. It's just amusing...

Also the ways of working differ somewhat from the western way, which is more familiar for me. Creating lights that are used for dramaturgical purposes, not just to lit up the necessitities, seem to be still rare. -I had the opportunity to enlighten one stagemanagement student at one point, about the mysteries of gobos. He had never seen the phenomena before and was totally overwhelmed over seeing "hundreds of little green rays of light". Practically, people also seem to work on stuff mostly crouching down, as these guys cutting filters for me -with a razor blade.

Nonetheless, the two performances we had there on 11th of January went smoothly and they were received very well. Indians seemed genuinely to like our style. And it was also something new for them to see. One spectator said to me that contemporay dance is still somewhat odd bird in India and some viewers might find the lack of dialogue bit disturbing, but they'll look at it with great interest anyway.

Detail of the ending of our performance in LTG.

The time we stayed in New Delhi was mostly work for me, so I didn't have any chance to explore the city itself. But, then again, I've been there before, so it wasn't that big of a disappointment.

Next our journey continued to Mumbai in Maharashtra state, some 1400 kilometers south. There we were to perform at Satellite Festival, which is a smaller-scale kick-off of the Bharat Rang Mahotsav in New Delhi. Approximately one third of the performances seen in Delhi performed also on Satellite Festival. Our venue was Nehru Center in Worli district.

Nehru Center auditorium.

Nehru Center was much bigger stage and the institution private. Facitilies were much newer but somehow the capability less efficient. I had to face some serious problems in there, since I was told that in Mumbai you just cannot provide profiles etc, because they're not used in this city. Lots of gray hair on my head over just one performance on 14th of January. So, technically, our performance was cut down due to the fact that equipment just didn't exist in Mumbai. A hard bite to swallow for a perfectionist such as me. But, then again, it's not brain surgery, nobody will crook if it's not 100% correctly operated. I just have to learn to look at things more open minded. Good lesson learned here.

Focusing gobos in Nehru Center.

Detail of the performance in Nehru Center.

In Mumbai I managed to have some freetime also, but that was mostly because of the thight performance schedule of the festival. In other words, we had to wait to get in to the stage. So, we did some excursions in the city. Mumbai seems to be pittoresque place, and much greener and spacious than Delhi.

At the India Gate, one of the landmarks of Mumbai.

A near-by bazaar, where we did some serious haggling.

One of the emormous open-air laundries of Mumbai.

And then, below, one of the curiosities I encountered in Mumbai. This is the electrical contact box on my Hilltop-hotel room. It's probably the cutest one I've ever seen!

After Mumbai, finally, BANGKOK!!! It was instant feeling of unwinding after India. I just felt the pressure leaking out of my body, because I knew that things would work out just perfetly in Bangkok. I've been there before for a long time and I already knew the theater and the people working there. I was sort of coming home for me. There is so much more light in the city, it always seems so luminous and the sky is so high.

We were invited to perform at Bangkok Fringe Festival '08, organized by Patravadi Theatre. On the day of our arrival, the technical director of the theater, Jirach, had already done preliminary rigging for me. During the following night we did the focusing and programming, finishing the project around 4.30am. It was a long day and night, but then everything was ready for the showtime. Jirach is a person, who's got my unconditional respect, since he made it all so much easier. He is just so f*****ng professional, fast and seemed to understand exactly what I wanted to achieve. So, big thanks to him!

Rigging the sidelights, front american Em and behind him, Jirach.

Edited 17th Feb:
photo removed by the request of herStay

Detail of the performance at Patravadi Theatre, the very ending scene.

We had two performances at Patravadi, on 17th and 18 of January. After that I stayed for just two more days in Bangkok to meet my friends and suck in some of the city to refresh old memories.

First I took a stroll in Rattanakosin area, the old town of Bangkok. I went to check out some stores in Khao San Road, to pick up some stuff on my shopping list.

Wat Chana Songkhram temple in Khaosan.

Sanam Luang ( Royal Grounds) near the Royal Palace and lots of colorful kites.

A night-shot of Wat Phra Kaew, from across the Chao Phraya river from Siriraj side.

Later I met my good friend Aleksi, who have been living in Bangkok for past five years. We went to have dinner with his family living in a big house on Rama III-road, a bit further out from downtown. We had some delicious Tom Yam Kung prepared by Add and some pork chops by Ilja. A genuine fusion kitchen at it's best!

Silom in evening traffic.

Family dinner with Aleksi (on the left), Add's daughters, Ilja (Aleksi's father, a good friend of mine also) and Add.

View over Phahon Yothin from Aleksi's 16th floor aparment. Quite cool.

In the end, as a summary, I have to say that this tour to Asia was very successful one. But also very tiring, because the schedules were tight and I had lot of work to do making evrything ready for the show.

I so wish that I would have had some time to relax after all this and go to dig my toes in white sand somewhere where the gentle breeze blows from the sea. But no, duty called onwards almost immediately. So, I just have to find the opportunity to go back on my own later on and catch up with that postponed relaxation under the palm tree. Behold Siam sea, I'm coming!!!