THE CHORUS PROJECT//IN DEVELOPMENT
In collaboration with playwright NATHAN ELLIS
The choruses of the original Greek Tragedies were a hotline between the stage and the audience. They were performed by competing teams of teenage boys from each district in the city, making the emotional experience of watching a Greek Tragedy something like a football match crossed with your kid's first nativity play. The chorus created a personal, visceral link between the myths performed onstage and the real lives of the audience. Today, tackling the chorus is one of the greatest challenges in staging a Greek Tragedy for a modern audience. Without this community performance tradition, it becomes a fossil inside the play.
THE CHORUS PROJECT is an experiment in re-igniting this vital muscle, by inviting the audience to become bodily involved in the world of the play. Via wireless headsets, they are invited to follow a one of three channels of instructions. The instructions vary from prompts to make specific sounds or movements, make choices based on the action around them, or respond freely to a set of rules.
The result is a piece of live mass choreography, which is different every time it is performed according to the unique responses of any given audience member. Everyday gestures are transformed into a kind of rough, visceral dance, and responses to sound prompts turn the audience into a musical ensemble.
This footage is from our second series of R&D workshop, exploring the possibilities of this form. In our next workshops, we will be experimenting with how this ready-made chorus can interact with actors embedded inside the piece, working towards a full performance of Sophocles' ANTIGONE.