February 28, 2014

Thinking about space and "Encanta"

I've been giving a lot of thought to space recently.

Aside from the cost of getting rehearsal and performance space for Encanta, I've also been thinking about what kind of vibe I want the space to have, the kind of atmosphere I'd like to evoke.

The closest parallel I can think of is Congo Square, a place I only know about through via description and some photographs. This New Orleans website describes it this way:
Within the park confines is historic Congo Square. Formerly known as Place de Negres, it took its name from the tradition of slaves who gathered there on Sundays, their day off, to sing, beat drums, sell home-made goods, and celebrate.
This is exactly the kind of atmosphere I'm going for. It's crowded and noisy and colorful and the smells of all these different types of food. It's a complete sensory overload with music, food, dancing, conversation, and beautiful Black and Brown people everywhere.

When I think about the kind of space Encanta should occupy, I don't see it in a proper black box theater. I don't even see it indoors. I see it smack dab in the middle of where everything happens.

I don't see the audience sitting still and being quiet in perfectly aligned seats. I see them eating. I see them getting up and moving around, browsing the wares, tasting the food, listening to the music, talking to each other.

And here's the weird part: I don't even necessarily see Encanta happening in one sitting. I can easily split the play up across a three-day event: Act One taking place during the day, Act Two taking place at dusk and/or night, and Act Three happening once again during the day.

The question, of course, is how to make this happen without breaking the bank.