Natasha Tskakos Interview – Part Two

Natasha Tsakos

The conceptual director and performer shares her creative vision


WORDS: SAMUEL FRYDATE: MONDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2013

Continued from Part One

 

I love your use of language. “Emotional colours” is wonderful.

(laughs) Thanks. Well, I think the speed too, because there’s no need to linger too much. I just see a lot of performances which dwell a lot. Where a scene goes on for too long. We have already got it. The idea is to trigger the core, the gut of those emotions and then let these emotions explode for themselves.

You have talked in the past about the need to embrace what makes us human. How we should investigate what it means to dream and imagine. In your TED talk, for instance, you say that “Our ability to imagine is what makes us explorers”. Would you say that “dreams” are one of the major themes throughout your work?

Well, yes. The subconscious dreams to some extent. But really the dreams that constantly live with us in this reality. So, not necessarily the dream state; which is extremely important and magical. But this reality which we live in. Most of the time we are automatic; we operate in a different state. That daydream state right?

Sure.

That is the fun state for me.

So when you talk about exploring a gritty-ness, for instance, you are exploring what it is like to get away from that day-dreaming: to awaken yourself?

To awaken the imagination. To shock the automatic state. That’s what I like to explore. And the speed helps to make it a little unpredictable, or not unpredictable. So you have to stay on your toes as you don’t know what’s coming.

Your new show is called “Omen”. What is that about?

Omen sprints through 5 Billion years of history in 20 minutes and 13 seconds through the eyes of a character who loses his head. The idea is to take the history of the world, as a concept. (laughing) Which is a bit of a challenge in itself. Then try and fit that in a very short period of time. Then use projection to map it and theatricalise the whole context. As well as use mnemonic techniques, which I will be going over it as we remake Omen. There is a lot to be done with how spatially the brain remembers things. So when people leave the theatre they are not only entertained, but they also remember the story and the importance of this piece.

Explain this decision to explore memory further?

I was reading Joshua Foer’s book, Moonwalking with Einstein. I don’t know if you have read it. It is an extraordinary experience in learning mnemonic techniques in order to remember. In one year, for instance, he becomes the world champion of memory.

Oh, sure I’ve heard of Foer. I’ve listened to his TED talk and to him on the TED Radio hour.

Right! So reading his book was really inspiring and it was right in conjunction with developing Omen. I thought, “That is really fascinating.” What if we used mnemonic techniques within a space: which is the stage. So we are choreographing our animation, our big data projections, specifically so it stimulates your memory core. That concept, especially, needs to be worked more thoroughly, but it is definitely one area where we will go. The idea is that we are now remaking Omen. We are keeping the concept. We are keeping the story. But we are going to remake the animation of the show. My team of designers and engineers will make the data live. We will pull the data from real time. So if you see the show at 7pm, it will be different than the show you see at 8pm. Because if we are talking about data and information we ought to be accurate. We are going to launch a Kickstarter campaign for that.

 

[Continue to Part Three]

[Go back to Part One]

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