David Aubrey, the force behind Lightningwood Pictures, proposed documenting OM: Ten Tiny Epics in an Outlet Mall. This was Grottesco's fifth collection of short plays, the third staged in Santa Fe. The year was 2010. David had the crazy idea of shooting one piece on location too: Arroyo Walk From OM. More on David and his long association with Grottesco in upcoming newsletters.
Transitions between short pieces are a creative challenge, much like the transitions between scenes in a full-length play. An evening performance, whether a collection of short works or a full-length play, is a musical composition, and nothing will take an audience out of the developing rhythm and suspended dis-belief more assuredly than a sudden pause for an awkward blackout or scene change. It’s like having to watch a commercial when you're in the middle of a gripping movie (TG explored commercials as a performance element in a later piece you’ll see in an upcoming newsletter). More importantly, the transitions are the élan for the next scene or short play. They launch the rhythm and are often as important as the scene itself, maybe even more so.
Magicians divert our attention so that we are unaware of something else they are doing. This is what a well-done transition does. Can you direct the audience’s attention so cleanly that they might focus on the tremble of a single hand for instance? It means creating absolute stillness on stage while putting extra energy and movement to the designated hand. How slight that energy and movement is, becomes the difference between attempt and mastery. Movement, energy, imagery: Grottesco mainstays.
In the first collection of Shorts, an actor who wasn’t scrambling with a quick costume change in the wings, walked downstage in a bathrobe, sniffing the air, he gave a few questioning expressions downstage, then turned and walked off saying to himself: “Someone is cooking toast.” This is a tiny theatrical moment - a very short play if you will – a non-sequitur surely, but a moment’s fun for the audience which also bought time for the next act. As that actor was exiting, the next act was entering so that by the time the audience finished watching the exiting actor, the new act was in place and rolling, as if by magic. The audience, then, is constantly engaged trying to keep up with what’s unfolding.