Gecko asks whether we are wedded to one another for New Wolsey show
- Credit: Archant
Theatre has the ability to tackle some big questions in a fun and entertaining manner. Arts Editor Andrew Clarke spoke to director Amit Lahav about his new show The Wedding which asks questions about society and how we live.
Everyone loves a wedding. A big coming together of family and friends. It’s a ceremony which is as old as time. Weddings have been held, in one form or another, since the dawn of time. But, what do these rituals mean to society?
That’s the question that leading physical theatre company Gecko ask in their latest show, called unsurprisingly, The Wedding.
The show is the brainchild of artistic director Amit Lahav who uses movement, imagery and provocative narratives to create emotionally charged performances to explore the complexity of human nature.
Gecko use physical theatre to explore what makes our society work and what makes our relationships work – not just on a romantic level but also on a practical day-to-day basis.
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But, just as we start talking about puffy white dresses and wedding receptions, Amit drops his bombshell: “Ultimately, The Wedding isn’t real about weddings. The ritual of a wedding is a beautiful metaphor for what I want to say...to look at our marriage to the state. It also looks at the question of divorce. It’s not so much divorce like we are experiencing with Europe at the moment but much more about wanting to divorce yourself from the situation.
“Ultimately, I am trying to build a way for people to come together in a union, a wedding, and it’s when people come together for a common purpose that I have tremendous faith and hope.”
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For Amit, no show is ever straight forward. The joy of a Gecko show lies in the complexity of the ideas which managed to be expressed through movement and seemingly simple situations. Is it dance, is it theatre, is it sociology project? In all honesty it’s a mixture of all three. “This has been made while all the discussions about leaving Europe have been going on. So, it is bang up-to-date but that’s how I make work. I look at the world around me.”
Amit like to establish a rapport with his audience. His shows offer room for people to bring their own life experiences to the performance and allow them to interpret what they are seeing. Amit is not in favour of spelling things out. A Gecko show presents a dialogue with many different strands which can be seen in a variety of different ways.
Such complexity takes an awful lot of working out. In fact Amit says that the process of creating a show never really ends.
“But the initial process takes at least three years. It’s a year of thinking, residencies and workshops, a writing year which means a lot of time spent in the studio and then there’s the making year which is the year we are in, where all the elements come together and we create a show.
“We tour the show and during the tour we re-write it and tweak it as we perform it. Then there’s a summer of re-writing but there re-writing gets less dramatic as it goes along and by the beginning of 2018 the show will be pretty much as I want it to be.”
Gecko’s show Missing is due to go on a tour of Spain this year and eight years on, it is still being refined and finessed. “The tweaking goes on forever. It changes with each new cast, each new performance. I made changes to Institute, another show, which went to Australia recently, so the making process is never entirely finished. It’s an everlasting process.”
When pressed to sum up, in a nutshell, what The Wedding is about, Amit scratches his head and offers up a wry smile. “It’s about contractual obligations, it’s about love and anger, creation and destruction, community and isolation.
“We want to believe in our journey but where are we actually heading? And most importantly, is it too late to stop, to go back, to fall in love, to start again?”
Based in Ipswich, Gecko works closely with the New Wolsey Theatre and DanceEast but tours all over the world.
Gecko’s The Wedding, by Amit Lahav, is at the New Wolsey Theatre April 20-22.