A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to represent DNA at a really inspiring workshop led by Andrea Buzetti of La Barracca Theatre Company, at Horse & Bamboo. I attended with Sarah Hicks, fellow DNA artist and the ideas Andrea shared around La Barracca’s earl stages development process really resonated with me and Sarah – both of us having seen and participated in DNA’s development process.
Andrea creates his one-man shows by working closely with early years in the research and development stages of an idea. However, he is also a lighting technician, so his artistic work is actually a fusion of light manipulation and audience interaction for early years, so he tells us.
He recounts the first time he ever saw a ‘Moving Head Light’, he got so excited that he spent 82 hours programming an exciting bang whizz of non-stop movement! He showed it to the children in the nursery that La Baracca visits… and they all cried. The light was too scary. So he went back to basics and realised that the way to make the light not scary…was to make it scared.
Andrea creates a persona for the light, whom he calls ‘Spot’. At the start of the show, Andrea walks around the space, occasionally saying a little hello to the audience filling the auditorium. He introduces us all to his friend ‘Spot’. Spot is a light. And Spot is a little scared. Andrea tries to coerce Spot out of his corner, to convince him to come play.
“Spot, are you scared?”
“Spot, would you like to meet the children?”
Spot shakes his head.
It’s entirely magical. Spot, who, seconds before was an inanimate, lifeless object is transformed into a totally believable, cute and shy little personality. His nervousness at meeting the children makes him vulnerable and believable, there are no tears and no fears from the audience.
What’s massively impressive as a theatre makers is that Andrea has pre-programmed all of Spot’s movements to the second, yet still delivers a performance that is playful and in the moment. Despite needing to keep to time, he is aware always of the audience and entirely engaged.
At first we see Spot, and then we see Andrea try convince him to come see us. Whenever Andrea tries to take hold of his light, Spot flips away. The audience are delighted. Finally Andrea convinces Spot to meet us and wheels him over. Everybody likes Spot, he gets more confident and flicks his light about everywhere, giving us a little dance.
Andrea likes the light, he jumps into the pool of white light, then out, then in, then out, then… Spot moves the light. Andrea chases the light in a quick and fun comedy routine, one of several to come.
Andrea changes the colour of Spot’s light, holding a red balloon in front of the white light, but Spot has other ideas – and changes the colour himself! A colourful little dance ensues with Andrea ducking, chasing, pushing and blowing the light, which Spot changes the colour, pattern and direction of.
They are a perfect pair, Andrea and Spot, Spot and Andrea.
The show is just long enough, with time at the end for everyone to go on stage and meet Spot. We all get to pet him, and say a hello, which is really fun and quite a tender moment – one I’ll certainly hold for quite a while.