Internationally acclaimed physical theatre company, Gecko, head to our theatre with their show The Wedding on Thu 4 – Sat 6 May. We caught up with artistic director, Amit Lahav, to learn a little more about the show, the company and their distinguished work.
Who are Gecko and what do you do?
We make theatre that is visual, visceral and ambitious, and we always aim to create world-class work that inspires, moves and entertains our audiences. Gecko was founded in 2001, and is now an award winning and internationally acclaimed company. With our expanding ensemble of international performers and makers, we create work through collaboration, experimentation and play.
Why is the company called Gecko?
We wanted something that was international and something that implied energy. At that time we were doing a lot of flying on stage and climbing up walls.
For someone who has never seen Gecko’s work, how would you describe what the audience will see?
When you come and see a Gecko show, you sort of fall into a dream – or a nightmare, depending on your relationship to your own dreams and nightmares. This is a very imaginative world, which is full of contrasts. Every part of the show is like a painting: it’s very beautiful, and each moment is crafted very carefully so you never really know what’s going to happen next. There are always tricks; things that will emerge from unexpected places. Someone could fly, so there’s a surprising element. Often there’s a scary element, because it’s dark and the shows are a reflection – and a comment – on life. Beautiful does not necessarily mean pretty. We might explore how ugly a person can be, and that in itself can be a beautiful thing to see.
What are Gecko’s main influences?
I pushed myself to work with visionary theatre makers – people like David Glass, Stephen Berkoff, Lindsay Kemp and Ken Campbell. I worked with these people and I discovered that what infected me the most was their passion, and the way they threw themselves into their world.
When I started the company, this gave me a license to be confident. I didn’t become influenced by any one singular person, or any one singular style, I just had a burning desire to make work and to express myself. I am influenced by everything I see and everything I experience – the relationships in my life, by film, theatre, dance; I think that I’m influenced all the time so I could definitely not say any one particular thing.
What is your relationship with physical theatre and when did it first interest you?
All I know is the theatre that I make, I don’t have any other way of expressing myself – the fact that it happens to be globally called physical theatre never really crosses my mind. I suppose one way I could express this is to say that I am committed to finding ways to engage people imaginatively without the use of text – this means that all ideas I have pass through the lens of Gecko theatre, which happens to be called physical theatre.
When did you first encounter physical theatre?
I made theatre with street children in South East Asia, and our shared language was physical, visual and expressive. We had no shared spoken language or cultural reference, therefore I realised this was the kind of expression I wanted to explore in my own work.
Describe a normal rehearsal day
The performers need to be connected to each other and they need to be able to produce fantastic, profound work. That doesn’t just happen by entering a room and starting. We will spend an hour, sometimes two hours, getting the performers into a certain place where they are absolutely on green in terms of being alert and able to respond and produce a phenomenal movement. Sometimes that movement is about how they respond to each other and what they give to each other. A lot of the preparation is making the performers be in a certain state of readiness, to give, to receive, to respond, and to be freely instinctive about what they are doing. A lot of Gecko work comes from an instinctive place, and that doesn’t just happen when you walk into the room; you need to do a lot of preparation to be ready to do that.
Gecko’s The Wedding at Warwick Arts Centre on Thu 4 – Sat 6 May. For more information and to book tickets, click here