Training in Germany
I recently come back from Bamberg, Germany where I spent two weeks training with a master of shadows Nortbet Götz at the International Shadow Theatre Centre.
Speaking no German at all the class was an adventure. The first week was mostly in German with some helpful volunteer translation, but the second week the "master class" was in English. The whole experience was extremely useful to my practise and skill set. Norbert teaches from such a technical point of view and with such a scientific and creative understanding of light that I learnt so much.
We covered topics that I had only understood theoretically before such as polarisation, three-dimensional shadows, lasers, prisms, coloured shadows...the list goes on.
What really struck me about Norbert's approach compared to other shadow artists I've met is that the light was the most important thing. The light came first, not the shadow. I had lots of fun exploring the possibilities of different light sources and manipulation.
For me, it was so wonderful to learn from someone for whom shadow is their main medium. To learn not just from a puppeteer who has done one or two shows using shadows the way they have been traditionally used, but from someone who's practice is in shadow.
The last two days of the course were with Joachim Torbahn a director and dramaturg in the puppet and shadow theatre and I really, really enjoyed the time with Joachim. After playing with shadows for two weeks and the possibilities of the art form it was wonderful and rewarding to work on stories and small shows to talk about the narrative and dramaturgical meaning and purpose of different techniques and approaches.
Bamberg is also the most beautiful city! Over a thousand years old and it looks like a postcard. Having never been to Bavaria before I was so in love with the beer, the country side, and the architecture. The whole course was a wonderful experience and I feel it added to my practice as a theatre maker a great deal.