The old, the new, the re-invented
The name Gerald Thomas we know – or at least those of us who have some basic knowledge on contemporary theatre will do so…
His work we are also very likely to know, or in the least we’ll have heard about it, since it’s renowned for pushing the boundaries of conventional performance, plus it’s toured in more than fifteen countries. Finally, his company’s name may sound familiar to those of us who know about the theatrical scene in Brazil and New York, where he’s previously established earlier versions of his Dry Opera Company.
Despite so many familiar facts, for Thomas himself the time is due for change. He has recently launched his London Dry Opera Company in the country where his mother was born and yet which he never felt he belonged to. By investing in this ‘love and hate’ relationship with England, according to his comments for Brazilian newspaper O Globo, he steps into a phase where he gives birth to a new identity and rediscovers his own work. This is particularly relevant given that nine months before starting his company in London, when feeling completely lost and even cynical about the world we live in, the director and playwright wrote a manifesto saying goodbye to the theatre.
Such attributes of darkness and uncertainty are present in the whole of Thomas’ work and not differently, are promising to be the creative universe of his new work, Throats, which will premier this coming February at the Pleasance Theatre in London. In this production, he explained to the online magazine The Stage, “that territory of inbetweeness comes from Beckett, from this absurdity which I have created in these years of travelling and directing over the world”. This way, he makes clear that Samuel Beckett has greatly influenced his style, also pointing out the years when he worked alongside this dramatist as his protégée.
Another key collaborator to Gerald Thomas’ work is composer Philip Glass, who in an interview found on his website here (www.geraldthomas.com) warmly suggests that the word “outrageous” would be appropriate to define this director’s work. In this talk, the musician also observes that Thomas’ “whole life is about the theatre”, remarking his “authenticity, passion and commitment to his own work”.
For the production of Throats, the director selected seven actors after a lengthy process that started with 600 candidates. He now believes he’s found the company of his dreams – which is very important since usually he works in very close collaboration with his cast; sometimes even completing his characters by influence of the life stories of his actors.
The setting up of the London Dry Opera Company, marking Gerald Thomas’ return to the theatre, plus his arrival to the English stages, are only a few reasons – amongst many – why people should go and see Throats. The work from this director and playwright is a kind of theatre that constantly updates itself, always inviting his audience to experience new ways of engagement.
By Mafê Toledo
Throats by Gerald Thomas with the London Dry Opera Company
18 February — 27 March 2011