Colombo Dance Platform 2014 – TransForming Bodies
Floating Space presented ‘Path of Incoherent Time’ – a new piece created for the Colombo Dance Platform 2014 on October 31st at 7pm at the Park Street Mews.
This was Floating Space’s third time presenting new work at the Colombo Dance Platform, since the inception of the platform in 2010. With its focus on the ‘contemporary,’ the Dance Platform has provided Floating Space with a context to reflect, question, challenge, refocus our sense of our bodies, the way we move, and the way we understand ourselves as performers. This year particularly, with the theme of ‘transforming bodies,’ we were able to think through questions around embodiment, social meanings and politics integral to reading the body as it performs in everyday life.
‘Path of Incoherent Time’ explored ideas around power and social control through a series of gestures, routines and movement that range from the mundane and everyday, to the purposeful and meditative, to the sensual and confronting. While its starting point drew on the concept of ‘disembodiment’ in a performance practice, its stand lies in reflecting on a state of disembodiment.
‘Path of Incoherent Time’ was performed by Jake Oorloff, Tracy Jayasinghe and Jay Kuru-Utumpala and conceptualised by Jake Oorloff and Ruhanie Perera.
Click here for photos.
OverWrite, a performed journey through books, exploring challenged literature, bodies, memories and lives. Directed by Ruhanie Perera, OverWrite was performed at the the British Council Library from October 25 – 27 2014.
Literature has had the power to shape societies, challenging normative, dominant ideologies and narratives of our present moment, and our history. And so, literature, in this performance-making project becomes for us the space of articulation, and that of witness. While the work is rooted in the idea of challenged literature, it will draw from a range of texts that include Sri Lankan literature, postcolonial literature, migrant literature, literatures from the
region written in English and British writers and writing.
The exploration of these literatures would include the politics inherent in the act of writing, and by extension that of reading. OverWrite considers the nature and conditions present in the act of banning books, bodies and memories, and the freedom to imagine and narrate. This performed journey through books hopes to look at what it means to be silenced, censored, banned, challenged, erased, while confronting the powerful act of reading in all its many possibilities.
Featured image – Venuri performing in Cologne, Germnay May 2014 saw us at a Symposium reflecting on contemporary dance organized by the German Sport University, Cologne. Ruhanie Perera delivered the lecture – Ritual, National Psyche, Authentic Bodies: Reading Dance in its Contemporaneity as Cultural Departure
and Venuri Perera performed Kesel Maduwa (first performed at Colomboscope 2014).
Featured image courtesy the IETM network Facebook page
In May 2014 the IETM Asian Satellite in Australia brought together performing artists, professionals and funders from three continents to increase international understanding, collaboration and engagement. After six annual IETM Satellite Meetings in Asian countries, and four years of intense collaboration between IETM and the Australia Council for the Arts, this meeting brought together knowledge gained and contacts built, adding new people and new perspectives to the
dialogue between the regions.
The meeting took place at Arts Centre Melbourne, and Jake Oorloff represented Floating Space at the event. It was preceded by a weekend of back-to-back contemporary programming at the Next Wave festival followed by a “caravan” trip to Sydney.
Featured image courtesy Achala de Silva/ CAB 2012 The 3rd Colombo Art Biennale will take place in Colombo from 31st January to 9th February 2014. This year’s theme is ‘Making History’ and will feature work by artists and artist collectives from 60 artists from 15 countries. Floating Space co-founder and permanent member Ruhanie Perera is the Live Art curator for CAB 2014. Floating Space permanent members at CAB
2014:– CAB Live Art: ‘Othered Histories’ by Jake Oorloff on Friday 31st January at 7.00pm at the Park Street Mews. His live art performance considers the place of speeches as monuments of our times, thus playing with the notion and position of power and displacement in a response to the work ‘Effigies of Turbulent Yesterdays’ by T.V. Santosh. Continue Reading
Grand Oriental Hotel, one of the locations of Colomboscope. Featured image courtesy Colomboscope 2014
Standard Chartered Colomboscope is an arts festival celebrating contemporary literature, music, film and performing arts organised by Goethe-Institut and British Council. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Making History’ and will take place from January 30th to February 3rd 2014 at different locations in Colombo.
Floating Space permanent members featured at Colomboscope 2014:
Venuri Perera will open the festival on Thursday 30th at 8.00pm with her performance ‘Kesel Maduwa’ at the Sri Lanka Foundation. The concept, choreography and performance of ‘Kesel Maduwa’ is by Venuri and the performance is described as – “The ancient healing rituals of Sri Lanka are complex communal ceremonies that combine dance, drama, dialogue, humour and satire. Drawing on these elements, this ritual performance is infected with uncertain energies of a society in transition.
Lanka’s first collection of hint fiction and was launched on the 24th of January 2014. Floating Space was invited by Sanjana Hattotuwa, the curator of ‘Short and Sweet’, to do a reading at the launch. The book has over 160 stories out of which around 50 was selecting by Floating Space for the reading. Floating Space permanent members Ruhanie Perera, Jake Oorloff, Iromi Perera, Tracy Jayasinghe and Ashini Fernando read at the launch. You can listen to a recording of the reading here and view photos from the launch here.
absence “When I came here (to the place of displacement) ….” Absence is a theatrical experiment with installation that confronts the voice of the woman, opening up the space for an audience to walk through the many strands of the story that is the experience of being displaced. The audience path or trajectory created through the form of the installation using live art allows for an audience to engage with the work as ‘walker’ rather than as ‘watcher’. The performance marks a return to the voice of a storyteller and the different perceptions of history and memory as is framed in collective and individual narratives and invested in the body; the focus being resilience in the contexts of experiencing violence and freedom. It also asks questions about the performer’s practice, about fear and frustrations, about different truths and how we choose to tell them. The performance was conceptualised by Ruhanie Perera, and was created in collaboration with Jake Oorloff, Tracy Jayasinghe and Iromi Perera. Absence was presented at Colomboscope 2013 on the 24th of March 2013 at the Park Street Mews Brick Studio on invitation by the Goethe-Institut . Continue Reading
Unearthed is a site-specific theatre and dance journey through a private home created by Ruhanie Perera and Sally E. Dean. With ‘Unearthed’, the makers of the piece invited an audience on a journey through scenes of minimalist and absurdist nature, performed using text, movement, sound and costume. One of the creative stimuli for ‘Unearthed’ was the writing of the American writer Adrienne Rich, who died in Spring 2012, in particular her ‘Twenty One Love Poems’ and her essay ‘On Lies, Secrets and Silence.’ The writing inspired the makers in their process to explore the idea of creating a theatrical poem on stage. The other significant exploration for
the makers was the creation of the site-specific work. This adventure lead the makers on journey of not just engaging with the architecture and spatial dimensions of the site of a home, but also its history, its present and its spirit. The performance of Unearthed was thus – in many ways – about journeys: journeys into and through inner and outer worlds of lies, secrets and silence, journeys through stories told through text and movement, journeys from the public into the private and journeys through spaces and sites. Unearthed was first performed on December 1 and 2, 2012 in Kotte, Colombo, Sri Lanka. A rerun of Unearthed was held on the 16th and 17th of February, 2013 at the same location. Continue Reading
A Performance Project by Sally Dean & Floating Space Theatre Company, Sri Lanka
- ‘Unearthed’ (performance premiere): 1 December (with a further performance on 2 December), 7.30pm, 42/9, Dharmapala Mawatha, Madiwela, Kotte. For more information about Unearthed, please visit our Unearthed blog.
Autumn 2012 sees a four-week collaboration between Sally E. Dean, Ruhanie Perera, Creative Director of Floating Space Theatre Company, Colombo (Sri Lanka), and members of Floating Space Theatre Company. Collaboratively the artists will conduct a series of workshops and lectures as well as develop/co-direct the site-specific performance piece ‘Unearthed’ with a cast of theatre and movement practitioners based in Colombo.
It is one thing for a woman to tell her own story; it is quite another when it is told for her. While one cannot assume that the first narration is necessarily more ‘true’ than the other, the exploitative potential of another’s story of her life cannot be ruled out. It all depends on how the story is told, and to whom it is being shared in the first place and why. – Rustom Bharucha, 2011
‘absence’ deals with questions about the performer’s praxis, about frustrations, about different truths and how we choose to tell them, about fear. It focuses on playing emotion, and is rooted in a theatre practice of working with different techniques of and approaches to playing emotion/ generating emotional states or nuances. It also draws on a discussion of archiving emotions, and thus interrogates, within a performance practice, an “archive of feelings.” (Cvetkovich, 2003)
‘absence’ references the playing of Lakshmi in the performance My Other History and a corresponding interview conducted as actor’s research. The concept and dramaturgy for the piece was by Ruhanie Perera, and was created in collaboration with Sally Dean and Jake Oorloff. The referenced interview was conducted with N. Surenthiraraj in March 2011.
‘absence’ was presented at the Colombo Dance Platform 2012 – ‘Archive Fever: Dancing with the Archive’ on Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at 7.30pm at the Punchi Theatre, Borella.
Floating Space in collaboration with the Peacebuilding and Development Institute, Sri Lanka (PDI-SL) was awarded a grant under the 2012 Youth Empowerment Grants Program facilitated by the American Centre and the U.S. Embassy, Colombo. The project was a collaborative performance and workshop project evolving out of its most recent production My Other History.
The My Other History – Performance and Personal Storytelling Workshop Project was carried out in Jaffna and Kandy in October 2012. The project focused on youth empowerment through reflection using performance as a discursive space for post-war realities and was carried out as follows:
1. A performance of My Other History for general audiences and student audiences followed by a post-show discussion with the audience.
2. A one-day (6-hr) personal storytelling workshop for youth (ages 15-24) following the two performances. (The workshop in Kandy will be held in December 2012)
(…) the presence of companionship and family relationships lightens the despair of Ionesco’s world. It would be wrong to regard his attitude as wholly pessimistic. He wants to make existence authentic, fully lived, by putting man face to face with the harsh realities of the human condition. But this is also the way to liberation.
‘To attack the absurdity (of the human condition) is’, Ionesco once said, ‘a way of stating the possibility of non-absurdity… For where else would there be a point of reference? (…)
I feel that every message of despair is the statement of a situation from which everyone must freely try to find a way out.’
-Eugene Ionesco: Theatre and Anti-Theatre in Martin Esslin’s Theatre of the Absurd
Listen to a selection of readings from Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson, Jack or The Submission and The Chairs read in conversation with writing on the Theatre of the Absurd.
Beckett in Focus In her(…) memoir Anne Atik contrasts loud, drunken nights she and her husband Avigdor Arikha shared with Beckett with “entire evenings when he didn’t say a word. “It was,” she says “like being in a tunnel with someone dear whose face you suddenly couldn’t see. Or who couldn’t see you.” Even though Sam’s was not an aggressive silence directed against anyone, but rather a sinking into his private world with its demons, or so we imagined, those present suppressed their acute discomfort and feelings of ineptitude when it happened. His
intimate friends learned how to cope with his struggle (…)
intimate friends learned how to cope with his struggle (…)With no paper before him, no intent to write, [Beckett] took pleasure in following the course of the sun across the sky: “There is always something to listen to,” he says. So Beckett didn’t experience silence as silence: it was attention. – Beckett’s Silence Listen to a selection of readings from Waiting for Godot, Happy Days, A Piece of Monologue and Act Without Words I, read in conversation with writing on The Theatre of the Absurd.
- Floating Space Performance Intensive
Floating Space Theatre Company launches its creative practice teaching project with the Floating Space Performance Intensive in August 2012 with the support of the Goethe-Institut, Colombo. The Performance Intensive, under the direction of Ruhanie Perera (Creative Director, Floating Space), is designed to offer opportunities to explore voice and breath, acting technique and movement as approaches to performance, or build on one of these approaches over the four days in a more in-depth subject study. Or, if you’re just curious, pop in for any one session and give us a try! The gamut of ‘student’ starts at 12 years and extends to the adult beginner, so every aspiring performer has the opportunity to be a part of this Intensive. This project comes under Floating Space Theatre Company’s objectives to advocate the use of theatre outside its more traditional purpose and engage in the creative arts at a broader level of theatre education and training, research and building an applied theatre practice. The Intensive is one of the company’s efforts towards creating contexts and options for creative arts education. The sessions will be conducted by the permanent members of the company who are practitioners working in the creative arts. The workshops on offer during the Floating Space Performance Intensive comprise Voice and Breath conducted by Tracy Jayasinghe, Actor’s Workshop conducted by Jake Oorloff and Creative Movement conducted by Venuri Perera. Continue Reading
The point is, who are you? Not why or how, not even what… You are the sum of so many reflections. How many reflections? Whose reflections? Is that what you consist of? What scum does the tide leave? What happens to the scum? When does it happen? I’ve seen what happens… The scum is broken and sucked back. I don’t see where it goes, I don’t see when, what do I see, what have I seen? What have I seen the sum or the essence? - Len in The Dwarfs, Pinter Await a Christmas special this December! The reading will not take place on the 1st Thursday of the month as usual as we are in preparing for our new production Unearthed. December Footnotes will be held the following week, so make a date with Floating Space on December 13, 2012 at 7.30 pm at the auditorium of the Fulbright Commission, No. 55 Abdul Caffoor Mawatha, Colombo 3. Email us at this address to reserve a seat due to limited seating Continue Reading
Set in a time of Sri Lanka’s move toward political reconciliation, My Other History explores the idea of reconciliation as a moment of remembrance, a process of letting go, an act of listening as much as that of confrontation.
While emphasis is placed on a reconciliation that is political and collective and pivots sometimes on a notion of moving forward that does not acknowledge its past, this is the story of the personal. My Other History is set in the present, while referring to a past that plays out through the memory of a young man and his conversation with his mother who tries to connect her son to his past, and to what is her history. It hints at the history of a people denied of land, memory and life; it touches on a family’s sense of belonging in the context of their experience of displacement and their understandings of being patriotic or even their ability to love their country.
- Theatre-Formen Festival Panel, Hannover, June 2011
Theatre-Formen is an annual international theatre festival based in Germany that showcases theatre-making projects from around the world over a period of two weeks. Its focus is to understand, support and expose work that self-consciously project ideas of post-colonialism broadly interpreted to include, and interrogate, notions of dispossession. An extension of the festival is to invite emerging theatre-makers from around the world to form a panel of ten that serves as a permanent audience of the entire festival that is ultimately responsible for reflection, evaluation and critique. Ruhanie Perera represented Floating Space at the festival in 2011.
For the second stage of the Gaza Mono-Logues project, one cast member from
the Colombo production, Tasmin Anthonisz of Ladies College joined an international cast which performed The Gaza Mono-Logues in New York at the General Assembly of the United Nations for its annual meeting on The Question of Palestine. At the UN, the 22 young international participants performed in 12 languages at noon at the Conference Hall, for an audience of ambassadors, country representatives and NGO representatives, who gathered on November 29, 2010 to debate the inalienable rights of the Palestinian People. Various media channels covered the event. Another performance of The Gaza Mono-Logues took place that evening at the Lobby of the United Nations, during the inauguration of the photo exhibition of UNRWA Summer Camp in Gaza. On invitation by the The Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, we reproduced the Gaza Monologues as the 67th birth commemoration performance of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam. The new cast of young actors were amateur performers between the ages of 11 and 22. Continue Reading
- Sally E. Dean [August 2011]
Floating Space, as host institution, supported a residency for a period of two weeks in August 2011 for artist Sally E. Dean. The residency was the first stage Floating Space’s collaboration with Sally E. Dean Performing Arts Inc., coming under the company’s cross-cultural performance project Kolaborasi (www.kolaborasi.org), which facilitates artistic collaborations between Asian, British, and American artists. Continue Reading
- Collaboration with the Centre for Research and Education for Social Transformation (CREST), Calicut, India, [2009-2011]
Regular workshops/performances with non-actors. The workshop, designed for the
students of the ‘dalit’ communities in South India, was a permanent bi-annual workshop conducted for CREST, falling within the theatre in application component of the theatre training taken on by Floating Space. Continue Reading
Letters evolved from the curiosity to work with the moving body to tell a story. The work brings bodies into a space: bodies that flirt with contact, separation, stillness, speed, silence, levels, even violence, while trying to express something of the vulnerability of reaching out.
How do you dance a series of thoughts? What image, energy, phrasing of movement can convey the story of life – or love as a series of openings and endings? Letters, drawing on the poetry of Sam Shepard, binds four people as they sometimes immerse, sometimes move through the tensions of the moment of being together. Directed by Ruhanie Perera and performed by Venuri Perera, Jake Oorloff, Pasan Ranaweera and Tracy Jayasinghe, Letters was performed in December 2010 at the Colombo Dance Platform initiated by the Goethe Institute, the German Cultural Centre in Colombo.
The Gaza Mono-Logues are as much stories of childhood, as they are of war. They are told by children who dream of a tomorrow – while hoping they get through their today. And while they may be located in the specific context of Gaza, they speak of a collective psyche of a generation born into, growing up in and altered by experiences of war. Floating Space Theatre Company partners with the Ashtar Theatre Company based in Palestine on The Gaza Mono-Logues performance project – Ashtar’s global initiative for peace and non-violence. Continue Reading
Sifting Point was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the launch of the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report – ‘Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the
Pacific.’ Presented at the Goethe-Institut, Colombo in March 2010, Sifting Point was written by Jake Oorloff and directed by Ruhanie Perera. The cast comprised Ruhanie Perera, Pasan Ranaweera and Kumari Kumaragamage.
Set within a garden party where there is much anticipation caused by the proposed announcement of a promotion to be made by Director of a Language Institute, ‘The War Reporter’ pivots around the entrance of a young woman who relentlessly penetrates this bubble of the elite and the genteel with their own special flavor of petty backbiting, polite chatter and finger food, with reports of war. Amidst conversations of vacations and vacancies, flirtations and frivolity, the overpowering discourses on language as expression, culture and treasure unfurl. As the Institute’s need to protect ‘the language’ it is responsible for grows in pitch, the group becomes almost oblivious to the war reporter who interrupts with her reality of a life completely altered by war. I have seen people dead, says the war reporter, in an attempt to convince. And yet, the people dead, the numbers of lives she experiences and tries to report on to those who will not listen fails to penetrate the alcohol-tinged chatter and the narrow mind frames of a group of people so tightly-knotted by their individual circumstances. The play thus revolves around the collision of these two worlds.
The War Reporter was presented at the Goethe-Institut, Colombo in March 2010. The performance was directed by Jake Oorloff and Ruhanie Perera, produced by Izhara Huzair Zubair and presented in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut, the German Cultural Centre in Colombo. The cast comprised Tehani Chitty, Ashini Fernando, Venuri Perera, Imani Perera, Minari Fernando, Lilanka Botejue, Chinthaka Fernando, Niren Neydorff, Gehan Blok and Christopher Stephen.
A Bedtime Story, written and directed by Jake Oorloff was performed in June 2008 at the Punchi Theatre, Colombo. The cast comprised Ruhanie Perera, Mario de Soyza, Ruvin de Silva and Ashini Fernando.
Review of ‘A Bedtime Story’
- This bedtime story will wake you up by Steve Fernando, Sunday Times
- ‘Between Truth and its Telling: A Reflection on Performing (Dis)placement and the Handling of the Ethics/Aesthetics of the Personal Story in Live Performance’ by Ruhanie Perera
A critical reflection undertaken by the author as scholar-performer on the performance of Lakshmi in My Other History to be presented at the Thirteenth National Convention of Women’s Studies organized by the Centre for Women’s Research, Colombo in July 2012 Continue Reading
Directed by Jake Oorloff and produced by Ruhanie Perera, in a shadow – an evening of performance poetry was performed at St. Andrew’s Scot’s Kirk, Colombo in November 2007. The performers included Tamara Holsinger, Anushka Pereira, Izhara
Huzair Zubair, Marisa de Silva, Asoka de Zoysa, Sashi Mendis de Costa, Dilsiri Welikala, Arvinda Salwatura, Rukshani Weerasooriya, Ruhanie Perera and Jake Oorloff