Thanks again to everyone who attended, volunteered, or provided in-kind donations to We Players 2016 Annual Gala, this past Saturday. A highlight of the evening was announcing our Annual Award, honoring a member of the community who has made a remarkable contribution towards We Players’ mission of connecting people with place through site-integrated theatre.
Deep gratitude for our inaugural Annual Award Winner, Ruth Tringham!
We Players site-integrated theatre means two things to me. Firstly, by profession I am archaeologist whose focus has always been on the life-histories of people, places, and things. This means that the old places that abound in different forms (buildings, trees, lagoons, gun emplacements) in our public spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area (and beyond, of course) go through transformations both physically and in significance. We Players transforms these heritage places forever by their productions, giving them renewed meaning, bringing them back to life for the community. Unlike the preservation of historic places as frozen in time, this is prolongation of their active life, strengthened by the clashes and harmonies between the past and present.
I love being part of We Players’ process, watching a place transform from the first planning and early rehearsals of the production to the final performances. To participate in the production and transformative process gives me the ultimate creative high – whatever my role (production assistant, crowd control, and even as actor – though that was a bit scary), and I have done something in almost every production since The Odyssey on Angel Island in 2012. I am so appreciative of We Players practice of accepting dedicated volunteers as full members of cast and crew.
I realized the second significance of We Players site-integrated theatre in 2010 when I twice travelled on the ferry to Alcatraz to become totally absorbed in the performance of Hamlet. I experienced that play and all subsequent We Players productions quite differently from an interior-staged play. There is something about the multisensoriality of these performances, created by my moving with the action, the rhythms and cadences of the voices, instruments and dancers, the weather, and the light and shadows of the landscape and buildings themselves, that focus my attention and gives new meaning to the famous words. Above all, the proximity to the drama immerses you in the action and words in a way that cannot be replicated in the traditional context of theatre productions. A sideline here. I watched 50 or more We Players performances of Macbeth at Fort Point as a “guide” in 2013-2014, and I never wished I was somewhere else. The same cannot be said for some other Macbeths I have seen……..
I am interested in these qualities of participation, multisensoriality, and close proximity that I see are important contributors to the success of We Players’ site-integrated theatre. I think there may be a lesson there for me to echo in my CoDA life, in drawing visitors into experiencing digital heritage places.
More on Ruth: http://ruthtringham.com/