Since 2006 THE RABBLE have been on the cutting edge of new and exciting experimental theatre in which they challenge the traditional idea of what theatre should look like. Their projects have been highly lauded and they stand as a beacon to other like minded theatre companies. Emma Valente and Kate Davis are THE RABBLE and their next project promises more thought provoking, immersive and challenging theatre in the form of LONE – a bespoke performance installation to be experienced alone.
The company is collaborating with eleven children from St Martins between the ages of 8 and 11 to create this work. “We were originally commissioned by St Martins to make an immersive work based on Hansel and Gretel,” Valente explains. “Since then this idea has morphed and changed to become LONE. During the development of this project Kate and I became interested in the idea of a child’s relationship to being alone. The time when their experience is not mediated by an adult or a screen. We are also interested in how this experience is translated as an adult.”
LONE is described as a thoughtful and gentle work that asks an audience to explore ideas of aloneness and loneliness as they intersect with childhood and adulthood. LONE is a one on one experience for adults.
Valente elaborates: “We have asked young performers to collaborate with us and design rooms that are in some way are an expression or answer for loneliness. We have asked the performers to think about loneliness from their own point of view and from an adult’s point of view. Their rooms then express these ideas and states in multiple forms. Perhaps someone might be lonely because they can’t order their memories, perhaps someone might be lonely because they are sick, perhaps loneliness would be cured if paintings could talk, perhaps the cure for loneliness is locked inside a secret cabinet.”
Loneliness becomes incredibly significant when isolated and indentified as a very real part of an individual’s feelings. Not often discussed within mainstream society, loneliness certainly has the potential to become debilitating.
“Loneliness is a particularly taboo subject for adults” says Valente. “We associate it with pity, shame and worthlessness. Perhaps this is why we desperately try to avoid the state with media, technology and busyness. This work asks an audience to enter a child’s imagined world of loneliness, to sit both with the child and alone in this world and to reflect on their own relationship to solitude and aloneness. I imagine some adults won’t have sat in contemplation in this way for a long time, perhaps since childhood. I believe this state is where magical thoughts can happen. Big, new, reflective ideas about existence and mortality prompted by a child’s imagination and thoughtfulness.”
THE RABBLE have created work that reflects their aim to: ‘…radically re-imagine theatrical experiences and to repopulate familiar stories with female voices and aesthetics.’ Their projects have been impressive, memorable and excitingly original. LONE is a wonderful fit for the company but, as Valente acknowledges, it is a challenge that the partnership has relished.
“This is a very different work for THE RABBLE. We normally work with an ensemble of adult performers, so we are trying to translate our methodology to working with young people. We aim to make work that challenges form, is experiential and that centralises marginalised and unheard voices. All of these aims are central to LONE. LONE takes young people seriously as creative collaborators and gives them a place to express themselves seriously as artists.”
LONE will offer much in the way of thought provoking stimuli. Says Valente: “I think this will be a unique and potentially moving experience. It is not often that we are able to encounter a child that we don’t know alone. In LONE we are able to encounter them in a world of their own creation. Rooms filled with flowers, volcanos, mirrors, an empty party, a desert island, a dark forest, a room filled with half remembered thoughts.”
June 8 – 17