AN INTERVIEW WITH GREY & GREEN THEATRE
PI: PERFORMANCE INFINITY / GG: GREY & GREEN THEATRE
PI: Why have you chosen new writing productions? Do you feel that it takes more time and effort to develop a new writing piece than do classic or existing play scripts?
GG: City Shorts (a show of 4 short plays set in London) was the first production from London Grey & Green Theatre Company. As we are just starting out, one of our main aims is to meet new people to work with; by producing new writing it allows us to get to know new writers, actors and recruits to the production team. The framework of a night of shorts provides a broad platform for a selection of writers, rather than a single writer, and also allows for a large cast. We met so many great people through City Shorts and City Slices & Country Crumbs (which followed it a few months later) that we would love to work with again!
City Shorts also partly came about by chance. It was developed very quickly, after a scripted play that we were planning to produce fell through, after months of planning, because the agency that holds the rights to perform it withdrew from our agreement at the last minute when a big West-End and Broadway producer expressed interest. We thus had a slot at the lovely Rosemary Branch pub theatre that we needed to fill – with only six weeks to go! We knew the only way to quash our disappointment was to start planning something else immediately. What originally seemed like a disaster turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise. We considered acquiring the rights to another existing play or looking for a new full-length play, but we decided to ask for submissions for short plays believing it would give us the most exciting and challenging scripts given the small time frame, i.e. quality over quantity.
We’ve been very lucky with our pieces, as they haven’t needed development at the writing stage. Of course, there is always development of some sort from page to stage, whether the play is new or classic. Directorial decisions on staging, space and tone can change a play considerably. The only difference here was that we had the chance to work a little closer with our writers, and have them view the finished product! With classic or existing play scripts one might feel less constrained in this respect, but we felt very privileged to have this relationship with our writers, and felt the plays have benefited from it.
PI: 您為什麽會選擇“新寫作”作品? 您是否認為比起制作經典或現存劇 本,創作“新寫作”作品更費時費工?
GG:《 都 市 短 褲( C i t y S h o r t s )》, 由 以 倫 敦 為 背 景 的 四 個 小 短 劇 組 成 ,是 倫敦灰綠劇團(Grey & Green Theatre Company)第一部制作。由於我 們剛起步,主要目的之一便是為了與新人合作並創作出新作品,這使我 們得以結識更多新作家、演員以及相關從業者。本劇框架為廣大而不是 單個作家提供了寬大舞臺,同時也容納了更龐大的陣容。我們與許多出 色工作者因為《都市短褲》與隨後將要上映的《城片國屑(City Slices & Country Crumbs)》 結緣,期待日後有機會再與他們合作!
《都市短褲》的出現其實也有部分偶然因素。其創作過程很短。我們先 前計劃好的一個腳本告吹後,經過一個月的籌備,在當一位西部百老匯 制作人表示有興趣時,持有上映權的中介在最後一刻退出協議,這逼得 我們不得不在短短六周內填補要在可愛的迷迭香酒吧劇場(Rosemary Branch pub theatre)的一個演出空檔。彼時,唯一能使大家不繼續沮 喪的方法就是立刻再做出新東西。也算是因禍得福,我們當時考慮演出 現成的劇目或者是一部全新的劇本,但後來還是決定對外征集更富挑 戰性和趣味性的短劇投稿,這也更加符合所需時間長度。這也算是重質 不重量吧。
我們的作品很幸運,在寫作階段不需要太多拓展和修改。但當然,不論作 品新舊,從書面到舞臺,改動總是在所難免。導演對於舞臺、空間和色調 的決定都會對劇本身產生很大的影響。而這裏唯一的區別是,我們會更 貼近作者,並使他們能看到最後成品!鑒於已有經典或現存劇本,人們通 常會覺得在這方面的約束比較少,但我們卻為能擁有這樣的工作關系感 到十分榮幸,並且覺得最終劇作從中獲益良多。
PI: How did you call for your submissions?
GG: For both shows, we posted a call out on various online theatre forums and gave the writers a week to submit. We were absolutely delighted at the keen response – we received over 40 scripts the first time and 60 for the second – and the high standard of submissions. Our brief to writers consisted of three golden rules:
1. City Shorts – pieces must be set in London. City Slices & Country Crumbs – pieces must be specifically set somewhere in England.
2. They must have at least 50% female characters.
3. They must be no longer than 15 minutes.
GG:對這兩個劇,我們在許多在線劇場論壇上發出了公告,給作者們留 一周的時間來提交作品。當時積極的回響令我們很高興,第一次收獲逾 四十個劇本,第二次收獲六十個劇本,這些作品都具備高水準。而我們對 作者只要求以下三條“鐵律”:
1. 《都市短褲》把背景設在倫敦,《城片國屑》則必須把背景局限在英國 本土某地。
PI: Why have you taken women’s issues as your focus?
GG: One of our main aims, apart from producing exciting and challenging work, is to increase the amount of female representation on the stage. Firstly, we are generally fed-up with the fact that most of the plays we watch have so few female characters (particularly noticeable with anything written pre- 20th century) and that most of these characters represent a few stereotypes – the housewife, the prostitute, the innocent young girl, the witch etc. Secondly, we discovered some statistics published in December 2012 that really shocked us, including that: the ratio of male to female parts on the London stage is 2:1, the ratio of female to male graduates leaving university performing arts courses is 4:1 and women theatregoers now outnumber men 2:1 in the UK. All these facts made us realise that female actors have a much lower chance of finding roles, and good roles, than men, and are much more likely to be out of work.
So, it wasn’t our intention to produce plays about women, we just wanted the plays to include women and to be localized in London/ England so they felt really relevant to our audiences. It just turned out that we started to receive broadly feminist pieces, and pieces addressing female issues.
GG: 除了做出精彩的作品之外,我們主要目標之一是為了讓更多的女性戲 劇工作者參與進來。首先,人們普遍受夠了大多數戲劇只有寥寥數個女演 員的現狀(這在二十世初期的作品中體現尤為明顯),並且這些女性角色都 很 老 套 ,不 是 主 婦 、娼 婦 、無 知 少 女 就 是 巫 婆 什 麽 的 ; 其 次 ,2 0 1 2 年 十 二 月 的統計數據結果很令人吃驚,倫敦舞臺上男女比例為2:1,大學表演專業男女 畢業生比率為1:4 ,而英國女戲迷與男戲迷比例為2:1。所有事實都使我們明 白女演員獲得好角色的機會要比男演員小得多,一不留神就會失業。
因此,我們並不是打算為女性去創作戲劇,而是想要做出一部能把女性容 納進來、使之在倫敦/英國的背景下本土化、給觀眾共鳴的戲劇。故而廣 泛接收了許多女性題材的作品,意圖改善上述發生在戲劇行業的問題。
PI: Tell us more about the plays, what they are about and why you chose them? What’s the standard?
GG: For both shows, after the submission deadline, the directors sat down together to read all the scripts (we had looked at some as they were coming in, but the final read still took a whole day). Ultimately, we chose the pieces that we would like to have a chance to direct. We did want to have both thematic links and variety, but for us the quality of the shows would hinge on how passionate about our individual pieces we were, and the ideas we had for them.
The first four plays were: 82 to North Finchley by Judy Upton, Dropping Stitches by Vanessa Wilkins, Fit For Work by Susan Harrison, and Anna by Wendy Thomson. There were others that we really liked and seriously considered, but our four choices were ones that we didn’t have any doubts about. Broadly, these plays are all about women and city life (London specifically).
The thematic scope was actually quite vast, from a romantic relationship between two 20-something women in the first play, to a middle-class middle-aged mothers meeting in the second. The third saw us tackle weighty political issues through the eyes of a teenage girl, also struggling with the terminal illness of her father, and the final was a satire of womens’ writing and how it is viewed in the theatre.
The next collection were: Milk by Judy Upton, concerning a young couple and a government conspiracy around milk; A Little While Longer by Melanie Hunter, a monologue delivered by the spirit of a woman who had lived in early-20th Century Newcastle; The Seaside by Camilla Whitehill concerning small-town life and the desire to escape; and Chelsea & Henriette by Wendy Thomson which satirised the young and ultra-rich in London. These plays were set all over the country and had something thought-provoking to say about their location. It was a great compliment to have writers from City Shorts submit us scripts again; the writer Camilla Whitehill had also acted in City Shorts.
In both productions the plays were very varied stylistically, for example, Dropping Stitches was a dialogue-heavy traditional comedy whereas Anna was experimental and had very little text; A Little While Longer was a surreal monologue and The Seaside was a very naturalistic duologue.
PI: 我們聊聊劇本本身吧,它主要內容是什麽? 為什麼選擇它們? 選擇 標準是什麼?
GG: 這兩部劇,都是在過了截稿日之後,主創們坐下一起朗讀所有劇本, 在他們來之前我們已經先看過部分,但最終讀完還是花了整整一天。最 終,我們才選出真正想要的作品。的確,我們也想要顧全主題和多樣性, 但其實最終演出的質量還是要取決於我們對於各個部分的熱情、想法和 專注程度。
前四部劇分別是:朱迪·厄普頓(Judy Upton)的《往北芬奇利的82號 線(82toNorthFinchley)》,凡妮莎·威爾金斯(VanessaWilkins) 的《滴針(Dropping Stitches)》, 蘇珊·哈裏森(Susan Harrison)的 《適合工作(Fit For Work)》,溫迪·湯姆森(Wendy Thomson)的 《安娜(Anna)》。當然此外還有其他作品也在我們考慮範圍內,但是 這四個選擇是大家一致通過、毫無質疑的。從廣義的意義上來說,這 些劇都是有關女性和都市生活(尤其是倫敦)。題材範圍非常廣泛,第 一部劇講述了一段發生在兩位二十多歲女性身上的羅曼史,第二部劇 鋪陳了關於兩個中產階級婦女的相遇,第三部劇使大家從一位有著罹 患絕症父親的十幾歲少女的角度去看沈重政治問題,最後一部劇則是 關於女性寫作以及它們如何被劇院看待的諷刺劇。
接下來的系列是:朱迪·厄普頓的《牛奶(Milk)》,關於一對年輕夫婦和政 府圍繞著牛奶展開的陰謀;梅拉妮·亨特(Melanie Hunter)的《一小會兒 (A Little While Longer)》,是一段生活在二十世紀初紐卡斯爾的女幽靈 獨白;卡米拉·懷特希爾(Camilla Whitehill)的《海濱(The Seaside)》,講 述鄉鎮生活的逃離欲望;溫迪·湯姆森(Wendy Thomson)的《切爾西和亨 利艾特(Chelsea & Henriette)》,諷刺了一名超級倫敦土豪。這些劇以英 國各地為背景,發人深省。而《都市短褲》的劇作者願意再次投稿,對我們 而言,也可算是莫大鼓舞,而卡米拉·懷特希爾本人也曾出演《都市短褲》。
這兩部劇中的短劇作品都風格迥異,譬如,《滴針》是一部對話沈重的傳 統 戲 劇 ,《 安 娜 》 卻 是 對 白 極 少 的 實 驗 性 劇 作 ,《 一 小 會 兒 》 又 有 大 段 超 現 實獨白,《海濱》則是很自然的對話劇。
PI: If you have the chance, which piece would you want to develop into a full-length play?
GG: The thing about short plays is that their length often demands different things from a writer to be successful. For example, the writer doesn’t long time to explain background stories and context, so either has to forgo them or find clever ways of fitting these details in. A lot of brilliant short scripts use and twist the conventions of the short play, with feelings and moods that can so easily be facilitated by this format. Anna, 82 to North Finchley and Milk all do this: they are snappy, slick and bold. They play with conventions in their writing and their staging, stimulated by the challenge of writing such a small, self- contained piece. These plays work best as shorts. Fit for Work, Dropping Stitches and The Seaside however, do contain more developed and detailed characters and have very clear narratives. They are all arguably more concerned with content than with structure and aesthetic and they have more of the right kind of material to work with to turn into full-length plays; we are certainly interested in hearing from these writers about ideas they may have to develop them
GG: 短劇的長度通常會對作者有不同要求。比如,作者沒有時間去解釋 背景故事或上下文聯系,因此需要擯棄這一部分或者尋求聰明又簡潔的 方式來把這些細節放進作品中。大部分出色的短劇劇本都會混合使用傳 統的短劇方式,而劇中感覺和情緒也因此較容易被推動起來。《安娜》、 《往北芬奇利的82號線》和《牛奶》就都很活潑、流暢和大膽。被短小、 自成一格的短劇所激勵,他們將關於寫作與布景的個體想法融入了傳統 形 式 。 就 此 而 言 , 這 些 短 劇 劇 本 都 表 現 得 很 出 色 。 然 而 《 適 合 工 作 》 、《 滴 針》和《海濱》卻包含了更多成熟細膩的角色,並有非常清晰的敘述。按理來說,它們關心內容本身多過結構和美感,也因此有更多能被轉化成 完整戲劇作品的材料。我們當然有興趣去聽這些作者們聊一聊如何深入 發展他們作品的思路。
PI: Please introduce yourself and all the team.
GG: The company was founded by Artistic Directors Charlie Ely and Tessa Shrubsall, who met at Central School of Speech and Drama in 2011, when both were studying for an MA in Theatre Studies. Both previously went to Sussex University, where they bizarrely failed to meet but worked on theatre projects with many of the same people. They first collaborated on a production of The Vagina Monologues (with Tessa directing and Charlie assistant directing) in Feburary 2012. The success of this production and the excellent working relationship that developed between the two, led to the formation of the company. There are two associate producers, both also CSSD alunma: Berengere Ariaudo De Castelli, who produced both City Shorts and City Slices…, and Clare Greenwood, who produced The King of Cats – a completely different project that we worked on between the two productions of shorts. (Briefly, The King of Cats was a promenade, physical theatre performance, devised by the company and co-directed by Charlie and Tessa, which we were invited to perform at Secret Garden Party festival, in Cambridgeshire, from 26-28th July.) Patrick Goodden, who has an MA in Music Production, is our sound and lighting designer and technical wizard. We’ve also worked with another director, Tutku Barbaros (on City Shorts) and two brilliant assistant producers, Izabella Malewska and Alysha Laviniere, all of whom we would love to work with again!
GG: 公司由藝術總監查理·伊利(Charlie Ely)和泰莎·史拉波色(Tessa Shrubsall)成立,他們在2011年結識於英國皇家中央演講與戲劇學院 (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama),彼時他們都在攻 讀戲劇研究的碩士學位。巧的是,他們之前都在蘇塞克斯大學(Sussex University)念書,跟很多共同的夥伴因為戲劇而有合作關系,卻沒能 面對面遇見對方。他們第一次合作是因為2012年2月的《陰道獨白(The Vagina Monologues)》,泰莎當導演,查理當助理導演。這部劇的成 功和他們兩人良好合作關系,促成了這間公司的誕生。公司內還有兩位 聯營制作人,也都是中央演講與戲劇學院的校友:制作了《都市短褲》和 《城片國屑》的博利格爾·奧利爾多.迪·卡斯特裏(Berengere Ariaudo De Castelli)和制作了《貓之王(The King of Cats)》的克萊爾·格林 伍德(Clare Greenwood),而這兩部劇作是完全不同的項目。簡單地 說,《貓之王》是一次漫步,屬於實體劇場表演,由公司設計、查理和泰 莎合作導演,並被邀請在6月26至28日期間到劍橋郡的秘密花園派對 節(Secret Garden Party Festival)上演出。帕特裏克·高登(Patrick Goodden)擁有音樂制作碩士學位,是我們音效和燈光設計師和技術 指導。我們同時還與另一位導演合作,曾執導《城市短褲》的圖庫·巴巴 洛斯(Tutku Barbaros)和其他兩位出色的助理制作人伊莎貝拉·梅爾瓦 絲卡(Izabella Malewska)和阿麗莎·拉凡尼爾(Alysha Laviniere), 他們都是我們極願意再次合作的夥伴!
PI: Please let us know your next plan?
GG: The curtain only closed on City Slices & Country Crumbs a few weeks ago, so having wrapped things up we are now planning to take a slightly longer break before the next show (our first 3 productions took place within 4 months!) We are certainly interested in producing more short plays and more new writing, but both Charlie and Tessa are also keen to take up the challenge of directing one-act or full-length plays in the near future. Right now, we are enjoying spending time researching and script-reading; we hope to have our next production staged in spring 2014.
GG: 《城片國屑》幾周前剛落下帷幕,所以在把一切收拾妥當後,現在打 算在下一場劇開幕前先放個小長假(之前這四個月趕了三部劇啊!)。當 然,我們還是很有興趣再多做一些短劇和嘗試“新寫作”作品,但查理和泰 莎在將來卻都很想去挑戰指導一部完整長度的劇作,因此,現在,我們正 享受花時間來尋覓、閱讀好劇本。下一部劇,希望能在2014年春季登臺。