Fight Night Gives you the chance to go behind the scenes at a boxing match, meet the characters and try and influence the result of the bout.
Mixing the heady thrills of a live sporting events with the intimacy of interactive theatre. This is an event that you really have an effect on, changing who wins through your actions.
We would like to thank Southwark Playhouse for giving us a week to explore the idea fully.
Characters and Scenes
The aim for this project is to create meaningful narrative stakes that the audience can both invest and exist in. With this in mind we have set out to create characters that are fully grounded in the reality of the world. At the same time this is a fully interactive immersive show that requires a certain level of facilitation of the audience by the performers. With this in mind, the characters developed must be slightly heightened in order to stand out from the crowd.
We came to the decision as a team that the performers would have a large hand in creating the characters that they wanted to portray in the performance. This is so that when interacting with audience they are the best equipped to deal with the situation.
The first step in creating these characters is their physical development. To explore this the performers looked at internal tension and external tension to create physically unique and grounded characters.
Internal Tension: Performers were asked to identify an personal internal tension and use it to drive themselves through space. The more specific the identification of the tension the more grounded in reality the character became. This is due to the underlying tension coming from a place separate to the fiction of the narrative
External Tension: Performers were then asked to identify an external tension based on their personal perception of their character. The aim of this exercise is to develop a perceived physicality of the character through the performers own opinions of who their character is
The combinations of these two tensions should allow for a physically heightened character to be created that can realistically exist within the world of the performance.
The Character Within The World:
Once the tensions were settled on and embodied the performers then looked to find their characters own space within the world we were creating. To achieve this performers developed a series of specific and flexible facts, that could be changed as the development continued. They also created a series of published opinions on the other characters that inhabited the world. These opinions were public and allowed the performers to inspire each other to investigate the potential and perceived negative sides of the characters throughout the development.
Within this phase of development we employed the below exercises:
Day in The Life
Pre-fight Prep Monologue
7 minute writing
The performers were then broken up into relationship pairings and tasked with mapping out their prior relationship from beginning to present. They were then tasked with creating scenes that involved a moral conundrum that would greatly affect the outcome of the fight. The scenes would then engage audiences as an influencer as to what action they take whilst tackling said conundrum.
This way of creating and working on scenes was developed from Commedia Dell'arte and from watching the fighters work on phrases of combat with moments of character based expression between. This was to give scenes structure and direction but also allow them to be malleable enough for interactive audiences.
Before starting deciding what is important about the scene:
What is the moral conundrum?
What are the two outcomes? What is the point of change?
Why are the audience there? Why do you need them there?
What does each character want?
After talking about the needs from the scene, quickly improvise through the scene
Put in points of action. This is the skeleton of events. What needs to happen for the scene to progress. Should be character specific
Speak this through until it is in the head. Fist with the notes, then without when you are able. Add ideas between each read through.
Then perform it through.
After performing discuss and take not of
Do you hit all the points you were aiming for with the scene?
Lines that worked really well?
Add this to the skeleton. All action points are cannon, everything else is added flavour.
Rinse and repeat until satisfaction.
We explored this system for devising and rehearsing in scenes to find a balance between them being set and interesting scenes that serve a purpose in the whole narrative balanced with the ability to change due to audience being involved in the situation.
More news to follow for the next steps for FIGHT NIGHT….