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World Day of Creativity and Innovation

Posted by Team APATA | Apr 21, 2021

The United Nations designated 21 April as World Creativity and Innovation Day to raise the awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.

Today is an excuse to try to solve old problems in new ways – with the potential of finding better and more effective methods to accomplish our goals! [and enjoying the creative mish mash in between.]

‘Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes, art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams . . .

Creativity and problem-solving in a new era for theatre

In his essay for HowlRound Theatre Commons’ Devising Our Future Series, Jared Mezzocchi lays down a challenge to Theatre: Stop Making Films. With the Covid pandemic came theatre closures and an industry scrambling to rethink how to offer performance to their audiences. Mezzocchi suggests that instead of putting a live show through an editing suite, theatre makers could embrace a web format by committing to the form of theatre with in-real-time performance.

“I do not believe we are in a purgatory until we return to in-person venues, but instead that we are on the precipice of incredible innovation. The future of our art form will be deeply impacted by the ways in which we respond to the present situation today.”

This is a call to action for technical theatre experimenters to get creative with online production. All the while staying true to the artform and the audience experience. Editing a live performance, Mezzocchi believes, distils the whole point of in-person-theatre.

“Adding an editor to the theatrical process, post-performance, is a curation of the living, breathing moment. It opens up a certain type of liberty in storytelling that is antithetical to theatre’s embrace of time, space, response, and, unapologetically, mortality. Worst of all, it strips the theatre of its strongest currency: imagination in the present moment. The industry is saturated with imagination, where artists creatively overcome challenges of immediate storytelling. We don’t need an editor post-production, ever. In this new digital environment, resisting the post-production process might lead to incredibly inspiring strategies that no filmmaker would ever have imagined. Let’s use that innate tool to crack open a digitally flexible, sacredly human future.”

Mezzocchi sees a future for theatre on the world wide web that embraces failure, playfulness and the creative problem solving akin to theatre practitioners. We must accept that the digital world is in fact just as important as the real world, says Mezzocchi. We are on the precipice of change.

“By embracing theatre making in these new, virtual environments, we can dismantle the inherent hierarchy of process and create a more cyclic and inclusive collaboration.”

Mezzocchi details his own experience of making theatre for the web as a truly exciting energy that he hadn’t felt in years. He discovered three simple truths that became vital to the experimental process:

  1. Technology is an extension of the performers and must be seen as a tool they need to know how to use alongside the story they shape. However long it takes to build that confidence is how long it takes, no questions asked.
  2. Even with time restraints, never surrender from the commitment to performing live. Filming is not an option, because as theatre-scientists filming is not the process to deepen our passion for theatre. Laughter becomes the ammunition against impossibility and will always lead us to reckless experimentation where nothing is off-limits. Releasing ourselves from such anxiety will always lead to unexpected solutions.
  3. Everyone’s point of view matters because no one has ever experienced this process or the struggle before. Voicing points of view from everyone’s perspective is a way to acquire all findings of the experiment and allows for collective discourse that holds no hierarchy.

If anything, Jared Mezzocchi’s call to action for returning to the essence of real-time performance resonates so fully with the current energy of our time.

Fight the patriarchy. Dismantle the hierarchy. Create inclusive, innovative theatre that celebrates the essence of theatre.

“This is an amazing moment to interrogate the processes instilled in us as theatre makers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Our analogue environment is currently inverted into a digital platform, our collaborations are off-balance, and our products are unknown. By embracing theatre making in these new, virtual environments, we can dismantle the inherent hierarchy of process and create a more cyclic and inclusive collaboration.”

Jared Mezzocchi is an American theatre projection designer and director. In 2020, Jared was named in a Top 5 List in the New York Times as a Theatre Artist spotlit for their innovative work during the pandemic, alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber and Paula Vogel. Mezzocchi is currently co-directing and media designing Sarah Gancher’s RUSSIAN TROLL FARM into a hybrid production that blends theatre, cinema and television technique into a live online performance.

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