The conceptual director and performer shares her creative vision
WORDS: SAMUEL FRY DATE: MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2013
As a conceptual director, playwright, filmmaker, speaker and orchestrator of various disciplines, Natasha Tsakos must be one of the busiest creative innovators on the planet. Currently performing and developing her newest play “Omen”, Natasha spares some time to talk about her creative visions with Samuel Fry.
Four years on from her TED talk, Natasha Tsakos finds herself having written 12 original works and with 300 acting credits under her belt. Her new show “Omen” is as innovative as any other. Some of her current projects include integrating 3D mapping projection on stage and pulling data from real time.
Sat in London, I talk to Natasha over Skype from her living room in Miami, Florida. With a stuttering connection and poor sound quality, Natasha would have been forgiven for being a bit restless. Instead, she is very co-operative as she greets me warmly and enthusiastically with a wave over video.
Accompanied by her manager, Karen Curington, we discuss all things theatrical:
In your talk at La Cuidad de Las Ideas you explicitly say that, “I find titles either too vague or too defined, leaving no room for real exploration.” But sometimes when you meet new people, as you are meeting me today, you need to describe yourself. What do you say in those situations?
It’s a really pertinent question. We are actually trying to come up with a name. We just launched a contest which is running across the whole World Wide Web inviting anybody to come up with a perfect name. Some really interesting submissions happened; which is not so much about the contest itself but again this idea of definition.
A Creative Mind; I’m a hyper-creative mind I guess. I’m an actor, a challenger.
I guess this is developing as we go. It depends on the context as well.
I think it is fair to say that animation is a key part of your productions. You describe your animations and projections as a partner on stage. How are these created? Do you create them yourself or do you have a team of animators that you work closely with?
Both. The ideas come to mind and then incubate inside my head. I then proceed to draw storyboards. I then animate the storyboards. So it is created before it actually exists if you like. At that point I invite my collaborators, my 3D animators, designers, composers, producers. We create. The idea is to take what I have created and bring it into another dimension. Because all these people are contributing.
That’s amazing. So characters like Zero, for instance, which you have used a lot. That is played by you, but a lot of the imagery around the character is created by you and then built on top of by others?
I come up with the concept of the images. Then the animators make them look beautiful and add their own dimension, their own artistic field to it. But I have to have a clear vision in my head in order to invite people in. So the clearest way for me to do it is to create it visually, with the sound already, so that they can get the full picture.
One thing that seems to connect your shows is speed. These animations allow you to move from one scene to another in seconds. Do you feel that through using animation that you can explore ideas in a way that others can’t?
Absolutely. The speed is really important. It is not just for speed’s sake. Using animation and projection, diving inside this world, the surreal environment allows you to operate on another consciousness. Of course it is premeditated, you have created it before, right. You have plotted it. You have designed it. You have developed it loads together. But it allows you to communicate and transform the audience into emotional colours. Which is great.