Archiving Creation, Feelings, Impressions and Emotions
…the classical best-selling novel of British writer Daphne du Maurier (1938).
…the cult thriller, addressing both critics and the general public, directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1940).
…the Gothic play recounted in a musical-hit by Hungarian-born American composer Sylvester Lévay and German librettist Michael Kunze (2006).
Rebecca – one of the most famous absent presences in universal culture: the WOMAN, with its flaws and overblown virtues (so we are told); faceless and indistinguishable, for no brush stroke or camera lens can ever grasp her essence (so we infer). Following her violent demise from the material world, Rebecca lingers on in the minds of those close to her and those who crossed her path in one way or another. If anything, this very absence makes her loved, hated, sought-after, a mystery with no single key.
An Interview with Andrei Popov, the Soul of Rebecca. File’s Creation Team
MD: Why “Rebecca. File”, Andrei?
AP: “Rebecca. File” is our first example illustrating a more complex project, namely “Drama. File”
MD: “Drama. File?”
AP: ‘Simple’ questions led us to “Drama. File”. How do you make a theatre show? How do artists succeed doing a theatre performance? Why don’t we have any archiving means of spectacles whatsoever? What happens with you – the spectator – during a theatre show? You are a spectator. You are aware of the fact that the show you see is not reality, but the performance is boosting your illusions. This is what we aimed to achieve: iconic theatre performances, a system of contemporary art and cultural anthropology multisensory installations and last, but not least, an alternative, undusty archiving instrument: you can archive the creation, but also the feelings, the impressions and emotions!
“Unusual, intellectual” – pressemeldungen.at (Austria)
“An installation show” – Luceafarul magazine (Romania)
“Thought-provoking” (…), “this modern installation unsettles the onlooker and ends up sucking him inside the obsession” – Cultura magazine (Romania)
“An innovative fusion of words uttered on an imaginary stage, film screenings and sounds”; “an artistic endeavor our cultural setting is in dire need of” – ziuacargo.ro (Romania)
“A complex experience” – Radio Romania Muzical
“A versatile, multi-level reading of Rebecca” – Radio Romania Actualitati
AP: “Rebecca. File” is a crossover-sensory art installation, a project originally designed and developed for Aiurart Contemporary Art Space. The installation “Rebecca. File” is based on the three main “Rebecca” story versions: the original novel of British writer Daphne du Maurier, the Alfred Hitchcock’s movie as well as the Sylvester Levay & Michael Kunze’s musical.
MD: What is fiction made of?
AP: “Rebecca. File” is a multidimensional experience exploring three paths – reinterpreting / recreating / revisiting a theatre experience through contemporary art methods and new technological means (deeply reworked sound layers; projections of virtual moving textures – some of them referring to natural elements – creating emotionally strong images); constructing and deconstructing fiction and illusion; giving priority to the sound and listening, as main imagination instruments.
“Rebecca. File” offers an ultimate experience, where “not to be” becomes “to be”, where the invisible comes to life, revolving around a character always shrouded in mystery – Rebecca de Winter.
AP: The installation explores the capacity of “Rebecca” to generate a different kind of complementary artwork, by reinterpreting radio items and certain elements in the play jointly with other creative techniques and tools.
At the same time, the project tries to add depth to a fiction that has already become a myth, but also to probe its appeal to today’s audience. So who exactly is “Rebecca”?
In a contemporary world feeding on images, “Rebecca. File” upholds sound and hearing, the sense underpinning imagination.
This is why I am thankful to Aiurart, more than a host for “Rebecca. File” …
Sensory theatre, Rebecca.File and the new challenges of art (Irina Budeanu) Imagine yourselves somewhere outside time, in a space created just for you, for the sheer pleasure of being. Well, it may come as a surprise, but such a space does exist, located in 21 Lirei Street, at “Aiurart”, a blessed venue for dreamers who still believe in Don Quixote. Two talented people, devoted to art and artistic experiments, Irina and Ion Alexandru Radu, have set up “Aiurart”, a home to everyone who wants to make a statement, whether painters, graphic designers, theatre people, cinematographers or visual artists. The “aiurart” gallery has recently played host to a theatre exhibition, an innovative fusion of words uttered on an imaginary stage, film screenings and sounds exploring the transgression from Daphne de Maurier’s bestselling novel “Rebecca” to the musical score, motion theatre and radio drama. This multisensory installation was designed by a group of independent and creative people, activating in various art domains, who share the adventurous spirit of the explorer, always bound to discover uncharted territories. But who exactly are these explorers. Stage director Ilinca Stihi, Andrei Popovici, sound designers Mihnea Chelariu and Madalin Cristescu, composer George Marcu and photographers Valentina Beleavschi, George Dascalescu and Mircea Gheorghe. The curators of the multisensory installation were journalist Andrei Popov and theatre critic Eugenia Anca Rotescu. The novel is virtually a pretext for this unusual journey into the sensory universe of Rebecca de Winter and her husband, Maxim de Winter. The installation had three organizers: aiurart, the “Ion Dacian” National Operetta Theatre and the National Radio Drama. […] This “artistic happening” entailed several hours of documentation, studying each step of staging a musical, from the original idea to the more subtle technicalities and the first time the curtain rises onto the audience. The installation explores the capacity of “Rebecca” the play of generating a different kind of artwork, by reinterpreting radio items and certain elements in the play jointly with other creative techniques and tools. At the same time the project tries to add depth to a fiction that has already become a myth, probing its appeal to today’s audience. “Rebecca.File” is an artistic endeavor our cultural setting has dire need of, which should be continued. I hope “Rebecca.File” is merely the first phase in a more far-reaching project, a module in a sensory theatre series that should be further developed.
MD: Is there a future for Rebecca. File?
AP: Of course there is! You have already seen the short movie with actors at the official selection BIEFF 2013! And of course there should be; Rebecca is a very much alive project! We are already planning redoing the installation. At the same time we hope to further attract financing for the project. We are open to any collaboration with architects in larger spaces in any country worldwide. “Rebecca. File” can also become the basis for practical workshops (targeting artists, theater students, actors, theatre directors, etc.)
MD: What about the ‘big picture’: “Drama. File”?
AP: We have initiated a project aiming at raising public awareness regarding cultural diversity and strengthening inter-cultural dialogue by means of an unprecedented artistic, aesthetic and anthropological endeavor: the setup of a system of multisensory installations based on well-established theatre plays from the local cultural framework. The installations would reflect the work method and other aspects pertaining to everyday life in three national theatres with a multi-ethnic artistic and technical staff. The institutions are located in multicultural regions in the Centre and West of Romania. In that respect, it is noteworthy to look at the mutual cultural influences at work, the way people approach the shared workload and how all of it impacts upon the end product, namely the show.
MD: What results do you anticipate?
AP: My estimations go in a variety of directions! I will enumerate some of them based on the above-mentioned project. However, I would really like readers to bear in mind that “Drama. File” is an open project! We would love to share our experience both locally and internationally!
Let’s see now… estimated results which will apply locally and can be extended at an international level:
- capitalizing on the cultural diversity and inter-cultural dialogue in the field of theatre in the multicultural regions in Central and Western Romania;
- creating an overview of interculturalism in the field of theatre in Romania’s Central and Western regions that should encourage a process of reflection on the force and vitality of the theatrical process and the issue of multiculturalism in Romania;
- creating an alternative audience to the most important shows, against the backdrop of a deficient exploitation or even inexistent conservation of archives / testimonials about the act of theatre;
- opening up new artistic means of capitalizing on the most representative shows of the partner institution;
- broadening the perspective on the theatre productions in the project and on the current repertoire of the partner theatres;
- creating a point of convergence of several emerging arts in one traditional art – theatre;
- specifically re-mapping of the targeted shows – re-enacting / re-thinking certain scenes, having in mind both the directorial vision and the original text;
- asserting the anthropological dimension: the concept of the show, the director’s personality, testimonies about key moments in formulating the directorial line; recovering props and capitalizing on their documentary and aesthetic value; reinterpreting props in the context of the installation; the impact of cultural diversity in the making of a show;
- emphasizing the audio dimension of landmark shows;
- attracting new types of spectators for the shows staged by the partner institution (for instance, the audience of contemporary art events);
- approaching contemporary guests and making them fashion their own story based on the available elements
Among so many other ideas and expectations we have!
MD: How can we help?
AP: You are helping already by writing about us and our project! We are all enthusiastic about “Drama. File”. “Rebecca. File” proved to be a success! But we cannot financially sustain the project development long-term. We will need to acquire more awareness and to invite further parties to accompany our journey!
MD: May you have a lucky star watching over your journey!
AP: Thank you and please let people know that they are welcome to join us!
Andrei Popov (AP) is a journalist with Radio Romania International; he is the recipient of the Anna Lindh Journalist Award for cross-cultural journalism (2011) and a nominee of the Anna Lindh Journalist Award (2013). He also scooped silver and bronze at the URTI International Radio Grand Prix in 2008 and 2003; he is an URTI International Radio Grand Prix finalist (2007, 2009, 2013). He was curator and co-author of the anthropological/contemporary art exhibition “Ambronay: Another Village, Another Story” (2006-2012).
Thank you to all main contributors: Aiurart (http://aiurart.ro/), Irina Budeanu (http://www.ziuacargo.ro/stiri/focus-stiri/teatrul-senzorial-rebecca-file-si-noile-provocari-ale-artei), the entire creation team of Rebecca. File, all enthusiastic parties of Drama. File. Many thanks to featured photographers: Oana Turcu, Valentina Beleavschi, Andrei Popovici. Respect to the creators of the audio and video inserts. Appreciation for the team of actors featured in the attached movie. Copyright: Featured artists & Rebecca. File