Research-creation lab for Louis Patrick Leroux’s scholarly and artistic activities into resonant response.
After having explored and engaged intellectually and creatively with the largely forgotten gothic/romantic drama Witchcraft by Joanna Baillie over the course of three years, Louis Patrick Leroux alongside a new team of collaborators (Paul Yachnin, McGill; Jeanne Bovet, Université de Montréal; Meredith Evans, Concordia; and Patrice Aubertin, National Circus School), will read and experience works of Shakespeare and Racine through a process of resonant response. Why resonance? For its responsiveness and for its deep-rooted echo of an original impulse. These projects engage in a resonant response to imperfect and sometimes frustrating source works, allowing for a fundamental reading of the work, a dialogue with it — if only to play up misreadings, playful appropriations, and deconstructions.
Scholars, artists, and undergraduate, graduate, and professional students of theatre, circus, and literature will work collaboratively on three literary and theatrical objects (Shakespeare’s Cymbeline and As You Like It and Racine’s Britannicus) from two distinct literary traditions within a clearly defined process of resonant response, a creative dialogue which avoids pastiche by engaging in what we might defined as postmodern ethnography—a charting of the creative process through experiential research. Scholars and academic students will be involved, alongside artists, as active artistic participants in order to fully engage with and understand the material.
The theatrical source texts will be examined and considered through three distinct explorations in as many performative modes: deconstructive performance, circus, and voice/sound work. Cymbeline and As You Like It will be studied as story, through the lens of narrativity, but will also be confronted to postdramatic dramaturgy, allowing to strip away Elizabethan conventions to better tease out the fundamental story and narrative tropes present in both works. Cymbeline Materials will challenge storytelling assumptions through a series of deconstructive performances using multiple media. As You / Transform will be a wordless exploration of Shakespeare through the circus arts which have resisted Aristotelian narrative, yet allow for parataxical feats and image construction not foreign to the Bard’s own method. Racine(s) résonant(es) will be a rhyzomatic exploration of French diction and conventions in Racine’s Britannicus drawing from contemporary voice technique allowing for distortions of tone and sense and thereby contributing to a more nuanced understanding of the classical French play. Throughout all three explorations, we will continue to ask ourselves: How do these works resonate with us today? Not as contemporary debunking, but rather as strangely familiar objects to be deconstructed and experienced.
In addition to scholarly preparatory work, laboratory explorations, conference presentations, and publications of papers and creative work, at least three full interdisciplinary theatrical productions will emerge from this research-creation program through Concordia’s Resonance Lab (in collaboration with matralab and Hexagram). Productions should be held at McGill University (Cymbeline Materials, 2013-14), Université de Montréal (Racine(s) résonant(es), 2015-16), and National Circus School (As You / Transform, 2016-17).
We expect that the unconventional exploration of classical French and English theatre through the deconstructive processes of postdramatic installation, circus, and voice work will allow for unexpected and stimulating connections between colleagues and students normally working in their own specializations. Experiential engagement and the understanding of creative process are at the core of this five-year resonant response.