Getting to Know TPO

This summer Monkeyhouse has been honored to interview some of the incredible artists performing at Jacob's Pillow.  Here is our first interview with the artists of TPO.  Check out their interactive performance at Jacob's Pillow today!

NH:  I love interactive work.  I am very curious about what you’ve noticed about how different communities react to and interact with your work.  I know you are primarily geared towards children, however I would assume many adults also take part in your work.  Is there a difference in how those two groups behave?  What are circumstances that get adults involved that differs from how you work with young audiences? 
TPO:  There are some differences in behavior, of course.  Adults (apart from dancers) have less spontaneity or agility in moving on the ground, but they seem to feel comfortable interacting together with their children. Sometimes indeed it is important for the kids watch adult acting or playing with sensors [in the work] since they don’t like to be just observed.  In any case we consider our works oriented for kids. 

NH:  Your work has traveled all over the world.  Have you found that different parts of the world interact differently?
TPO:  Yes, kids could be quite different.  Generally speaking there are kid that act naturally without thinking so much and other that need to “understand” how the relationship of cause/effect is working.

NH:  Since your work is so multidisciplinary, how do you get started in the creation of a new work?
TPO:  Our process is reminiscent in some aspects to cinema. We work as a team, we starts from a storyboard than we develop the concept of any single scene considering the limits or the potentiality of the devices we are using. So, first we discuss a lot about the interaction images/sound and how it could work then we do many improvisation sessions with dancers and kids. So normally we need four months to prepare a new show.

NH:  What is your collaborative process between the disciplines?
TPO:  We are a polyhedric team: directors, engineers, video maker, musicians, scenographer.  We all work together without any hierarchy

NH:  You are performing at Jacob’s Pillow.  Can you tell me a bit about BLEU! and where it came from?
TPO:  This story of the sailor’s encounter with the forces of nature is inspired by the legends and mythologies that the Mediterranean Basin has treasured since the beginning of time. Two dancers take their place on stage: he is a Sailor, She is a magical character. 
A few at a time groups from the audience will be invited into the stage space, as little sailors, to take active part in the games that mark various situations arising during the narration of the story.  The mysterious woman figure is at times the sky, at others the wind, wave, sea. She will lead the Sailor – and the many little sailors in the audience – on a journey through landscapes of nature and of fantasy. 


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