This year has been a challenging one for theatre companies, and Adelaide’s beloved No Strings Attached Theatre of Disability is no exception.
Rising to meet the challenge of COVID, No Strings will be presenting a unique collaboration, Same-Same, this weekend.
Same-Same is an online, inclusive collaboration between No Strings and Diverse Abilities Dance Collective from Singapore.
Glam caught up with director Emma Beech to talk about this exciting project.
“Kari [Seeley, Acting CEO] met [director] Jeffrey Tan at Brisbane Festival. He did a show called Homes where the audience went into people’s homes and heard a story that that person had prepared. The special COVID organizational grants got released from ArtsSA and Kari thought it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate with Jeffrey and a dance theatre company in Singapore [Tan is Singaporean]. So COVID became this great opportunity to use his skills which are very much about being intimate with people, and my arts practice where I make theatre shows having deep and meaningful conversations with strangers.”
Beech admits she has always had strangers come up to her and tell their stories.
“I’ve had this thing since was quite young where people just come up and talk to me for seemingly no reason! And I’ve turned that into an arts practice, travelling the world and around Austraila, making shows from talking deeply with strangers. So we thought Jeffrey and I would be a good hook-up!”
Same-Same is a massive, online collaboration between No Strings, Maya Dance Theatre, which works exclusively with people living with Down Syndrome, Beech, Tan, Subastian Tan and Michaela Cantwell, popular No Strings artist.
“We’ve been developing the whole project on Zoom, and it will be shown on Zoom. We will have a live audience but Singapore won’t. And although we’re not together in the same space, Zoom can be quite intimate. People are in their homes, and you are quite close to the other person in terms of the face: you’re seeing people often that little bit more vulnerable. There’s a mask that’s not there. All those little parts of the puzzle seemed to fit to create the project Same-Same. “
The show itself will be quite different to the standard theatre performance. Beech describes it as being like ‘a long date”!
“The Adelaide audience will see the screen on large projectors, plus they’ll see the performers using Zoom in front of them. We’re trying to emulate, theatricalize and make special and poignant, our journey as people working together. So we go through the process of getting to know each other again: the kind of things we began to reveal to each other, which started very simply. Our process got deeper and deeper until we got to know how everyone was really feeling. The journey the audience goes on, whether live or on Zoom, is getting to know us, and our relationship with each other , with covid , our work as artists, and our countries as well. Some people have written pieces of poetry, others have written diary entries. There will be a little bit of dancing, a little bit of music. There’s a strong sense of authenticy. Nobody has to step into another character.”
Concurrent performances will be held in person in Adelaide and online in Singapore.
Same-Same is being performed at Quartet Bar, Adelaide Festival Centre,
on Friday 13 November at 12:00 and 6:30pm, and Saturday 14 November at 2:00 and 6:30pm
To book tickets, click here.