Three weeks of intensive workshop with Teatro Gioco Vita in Piacenza, Italy was an awakening experience for me. Discovering the creative possibilities with lights and shadow was invaluable and exciting.
During the first week, we learned and explored various effects with different lighting and screen setups for shadow theater. Also we focused on discovering our own shadow and its possibilities and constructing shadow puppets and silhouettes.
At the beginning of the second week, our class doubled with past workshop participants. This year’s theme was “Shadows and Other Phantoms of the Stage: Stagewriting for Contemporary Shadow Theatre”. The Tempest by Shakespeare was our text for the next two weeks. During the second and third week, we worked in small groups to create scenes from The Tempest.
As with many international theater workshops, one of the challenges was communication with different languages which sometimes resulted in misunderstanding and frustration. Also because we were focusing on Shakespeare’s play for our group scenes, the complexity of text itself added more challenges to our group work. Individual approaches to theatrical work and text interpretations varied widely and at times, collaboration seemed impossible. Despite our challenges and difficulties, we worked very hard. Out of two weeks of intensive work emerged visually stimulating and interesting interpretations of the text with shadow for our final performance. Most of all, the friendship came out of working together with amazing artists from all over the world was priceless.