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Publication Date : 21-03-2013
Thailand's B-Floor Theatre joins with an Italian musician to pay tribute to a philosopher who was burned at the stake for his beliefs
After staging the mega-project "Survival Games" in January, members of Thai physical theatre company B-Floor are now undertaking smaller projects. First up is "The Giordano Bruno Project", Nana Dakin and Sasapin Siriwanij's cross-disciplinary collaboration with Bangkok-based Italian musician Jacopo Gianninoto.
The idea for this work started when Sasapin performed in Gianninoto's "Baroque Me Baby", to which the Italian musician invited artists from various disciplines to join him with the aim of "taking the music out of its formal context."
"Even though he's playing historical music on a historical instrument, he's trying to show that actually all of this can be very contemporary," Nana says.
"It was a good collaboration and led to Jacopo proposing this new project that required two performers. Sasapin invited me - so technically it's not a B-Floor collaboration. He wants to mix live music and physical movements with the reading or performing of some texts.
"We started by brainstorming. The initial idea came from Jacopo, who explained that Giordano Bruno was an Italian astronomer and philosopher. Neither of us had heard of him but from Jacopo, we learned that in the 1600s he was burned at the stake because his ideas opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church. He had many ideas that were considered wild at the time but nowadays are generally accepted."
Nana says that both she and Sasapin can relate this story to what's happening today, adding that they are interested in exploring "what happens when you have ideas that go against what the majority believe".
"This continues to happen not just in Thailand, but in many countries around the world.
"Sometimes Sasapin and I worked on our own during rehearsals, without Jacopo, so that we could come up with ideas for physical movements. We also worked with him and incorporated his artistic contribution. As everything on the stage is going to be live, we needed to practise listening to and understanding what the other is communicating even though we're not speaking to one another."
While "The Giordano Bruno Project" is based on a historical figure, Nana guarantees that it's not "a history lesson".
"Of course, the audience will get to know more about Giordano Bruno, but overall the piece is quite abstract. We want to create a friendly atmosphere for the audience. Jacobo's Renaissance lute is soothing and Sasapin and I perform the physical movements as well as read some texts. We also use some props and objects in our performance. At certain points, we invite the audience to interact with us."
After three performances in Bangkok, "The Giordano Bruno Project" will be part of the Bel Teatro Festival in Padua, Italy on July 25.
Nana says, "While we'll speak a mixture of Thai and English in the performance here, it will be Thai and Italian there. Jacopo will join in the text part and Sasapin and I will soon take Italian language lessons."
- "The Giordano Bruno Project" will be performed at the Pridi Banomyong Institute between Thonglor sois 1 and 3 on Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm. To offer support to the performers' trip to Italy, visit www.IndieGogo.com/|GiordanoBruno.