The Redroom–What is it? (Theory)

The theory: an artist’s playground where genre and discipline lines are blurred, experimentation is prized, failure is accepted (and quickly gotten over) and a community of working artist can form and thrive in a creatively charged atmosphere.  A salon/cabaret/party.

Bringing artists together:

One of my favorite Redrooms featured a local artist painting a mural as a backdrop to the entire performance.  Performers who were not part of the skit, reading (or whatever) on stage stood against a stretched canvas and the artist traced their form with a paint brush on a long stick.

The artist had found the stage through the Redroom earlier that summer ($10.00 for an hour of life drawing is cheap).  Before long we had him painting the set for Romeo and Juliet.  I told him that I wanted to really incorporate all the arts into the Redroom and a week later he came up with this mural idea.  I loved the mural because it was the kind of blending of the arts that can really only happen in a theatre.

I’m not going to get all Gesamtskunstwerk on you, don’t worry.  We still keep everything separate, Brecht-style.

Looking at the man behind the curtain:

Speaking of Brecht–why pretend we’re not in a theatre?  Why pretend the behind-the-curtainaudience isn’t two feet away?  Why pretend the only thing that seperates us is a piece of cloth?  Why not let people eat and drink and move around?  Why pretend we’re fabulously wealthy and don’t have anything else to do but produce this show?

Let’s all agree to live in the moment, shall we?

Collaboration:

The follow video is from French night and is called “La piece des sterotypes francais.”

The script came out of a conversation that several of us had in the lobby one day.  One of us wrote it down.  Then  we cast the skit and had the actors (all trained in comic improv) add to it their own takes.  It was a fun process that yielded a lot of ideas, some of the good, and we ran with it.

This is what we’ve discovered from doing the Redroom for about a year, but things are always evolving at the Redroom.  Ask me next month–I’ll probably have a new theory.

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