Writer and Performer Livia Rita speaks to Theatrefullstop about her latest piece, Crystal Me!
Described as being a 4D experience, Crystal Me promises to offer a theatrical experience unlike any other. A walking, talking piece of art, this multidisciplinary performance has drawn figures influential in their fields to help shape it into something truly great. Written by East 15 Alumni Livia Rita, Crystal Me is the proud winner of development time at the Barbican. Read on to find out more about this exciting show.
Your show Crystal Me will be performed at the Hackney Showroom from 29th June to 1st July. How are you feeling ahead of the event?
I am incredibly curious to see what baby we will give birth to. There is a big vision behind the show and we have been working on many little puzzle parts for it, but really it will be a surprise what it will be with an audience in the amazing space of Hackney Showroom. I’m so excited to have such a wonderful cast on board, to be working with Lucy Wray and with such amazing mentors. A special moment. One thing we can promise: it won’t be boring, but hopefully inspiring.. imperfectly perfect. It is a work in progress showing so we allow ourselves to take risks.
Can you explain what Crystal Me is about?
It is about an artist who is uninspired by today’s world and therefore claims himself God over a new world. The artist becomes a reality designer. He says that this whole world is not worth it, an illusion, a lie, and that he can create a better illusion, a better lie.And then it’s just a question of belief… whether we take the new world as a joke, as a new truth, as art…The cast of 14 will challenge and explore different decisions.
You were developing and rehearsing the show at the Barbican. How did this opportunity come about?
I sent off many applications since last year which took me a lot of time and patience. I got involved in events offered for young creatives by different organisations, amongst them the Barbican. I kept pushing for the day I will be lucky, and when it arrived I felt an overwhelming amount of joy. Being able to develop a project at such a prestigious and wonderfully creative place lead to more credibility and confidence. It was wonderful to share this opportunity with the cast, fellow artists and friends and such a push in energy and courage.
How are rehearsals going? Is there a typical day?
As the show contains a lot of extreme material, emotions, words and images, we generally approach rehearsals in a quite playful way and start every day with some dancing and good music.There is never enough time of course! Especially with a cast of 14 it’s quite complex to find perfect rehearsal times, but we stay flexible and creative and work very intensively, sometimes with very few breaks.After rehearsals I generally add two hours of producing, two hours of costumes making and two hours of music composing / practising. The days are long but I enjoy working hard more than ever, now is the time to use all the energy and ideas. Doing exactly what one wants to do gives such a huge amount of energy and sense of fulfilment.
What’s unique about Crystal Me is the elaborate costumes worn by the performers. Who creates them and what’s the inspiration behind them?
I design them myself using all the textiles I found in my mum’s cellar and random corners of London. I sew them with wonderful help of my Costume Assistant Esme Loughrey. I did my own fashion collections and fashion shows when I was young and studied costume making for a year.I love working visually and in ambiances, that’s by the way often where my ideas start. Concerning the source of inspiration, I never had an impulse to analyse it, for now I enjoy keeping it a mystery. I prefer the feel of that, as the reality is probably much more boring…
You’re a graduate of East 15’s Comtemporary Theatre course and also won funding from East 15 to develop the show. What have you learned from your studies? How did it feel to win funding?
I learnt how to shape ideas, feelings and images in a way that it translates onstage to an audience. Over time I developed a feeling of what is strong and what doesn’t work. We trained in skills and learnt an approach to the creative process. It has been helpful and interesting to meet all the people I met during studies and I will definitely keep working with some of them. The funding which the Ugly Collective got for the show is a blessing. With everything being so expensive in London, money stays a big challenge, but any amount of it is definitely a big help. Funders, Producers, we are looking for you!
You perfomed Crystal Me at the Theatrefullstop event, The Christmas Wishlist last year. How has the piece evolved since then?
Much much much! We had a complete team change and twisted around the style and form. The Theatrefullstop event was a great opportunity to explore an aspect of the show, and by performing only a snippet of it one really has to think about what the show is about. It’s very helpful to get any kind of inputs during the development process. What advice would you give to aspiring performers and directors? Don’t be scared to take the lead. You can give yourself the licence to do exactly what you want to do. If you really dare to go for your aim and visions, already the process of trying with heart and soul, independent form failing or succeeding, will give you so much inspiring material to move on with.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.
Crystal me will be shown from Wednesday 29th until Friday 1st July at the Hackney Showroom. For more information on the production, visit here…