Anne Ku writes about her travels, conversations, thoughts, events, music, and anything else that is interesting enough to fill a web page. She has written and produced two chamber operas, premiered in Utrecht, Netherlands. See her publication list for more.
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In Viaggio with Carla Regina
Just before leaving Holland for Taiwan at the end of March, I attended the premiere of a new production by the multi-talented Carla Regina, artistic director of the new foundation "Voice Actually." "In Viaggio" which translates to "on a journey" fits in that category of "musical theatre" --- a story with music and acting.
As traveling was on my mind, I was interested in what "In Viaggio" had to say about travellers and travel.
"In Viaggio" is a story about a journey in which an independent traveler meets a woman. The traveler carries a monologue until he meets a local woman who sings. She is tormented by something. This makes him curious. She cries, "I cannot go back. I cannot stay."
"In Viaggio" is told through just three people: a male actor, a female singer, and a pianist/accordeonist on an empty stage for 75 minutes. There are no stage props, no furniture, no decoration --- just a grand piano and an accordeon. It is not a concert though there is music aplenty, from folk to classical. The dialogue and singing are carried out in different languages. Yet there's no need for translation.
Watching from the darkness, I sat mesmerised, for it was not what I had expected at all.
I had grown up with musical productions and musical theatre. I expected a crowded stage with many costumes and props. Without those, I had to focus on the acting, the dialogue, the singing, and the music. Perhaps it was deliberately so.
The message of "In Viaggio" was clear. While a traveller may encounter much (colours, sounds, and smells of different people and places), he can equally be aware of his aloneness. Until he meets someone he is intrigued enough to stay and have a conversation, that is. And then the story begins.
"In Viaggio" used music to illustrate the story. The music was beautiful. That alone would serve a concert performance. The dialogue and acting made it theatre.
Key to this minimalist setting, and infinitely important to make it work, was the lighting. Light served as curtains to start and end the show. It guided and directed our attention. It changed the mood. It was the only decor for the stage.
"In Viaggio" reminded me of the many trips I made on my own and the dialogues I had with the strangers I met. We're attracted by those that are different from us. In the end, we discover that we are not that much different from each other.
"In Viaggio" is the first project of the new foundation "Voice Actually" which centres around the voice. After the premiere in Woerden, the production was repeated in Het Parool Theatre and Amstel Church in Amsterdam.
Carla Regina: concept, text, dramaturgy, voice
Bert Wagenaar van Kreveld: text, dramaturgy, acting
Nettie Krull: piano, accordeon
Jaap van der Woude: lighting design
29 April 2010