Candoco Artist Jemima Hoadley has recently spent some time in Italy developing a new piece of work – DEsPRESSO – exploring themes of depression and loneliness. This is her photo diary documenting the process.
I was invited by Director Michele Comite to come to Italy to choreograph a theatre show that he had been devising for the past three months, with just himself and one other performer, Alessandra Carraro, a talented actress with Down’s syndrome.
The performance, aimed at children, confronts issues of depression, loneliness and companionship. It seeks to move beyond stereotypes and look at some of the symbolism of depression.
I was asked to choreograph several sections of the show, using the stage set and props. I was sent some images of the performers in rehearsal and had a Skype meeting with the project manager, where I was asked my opinion on what the props and set represented. I was quite prepared to direct the movement for the whole show, as it seemed likely that this would be needed.
When I arrived in Italy on 14th January to start rehearsals, Michele and Alessandra had an hour-long devised script with plenty of action and ideas, but it was still in need of further clarity and structure. As someone coming in from the outside with an eye for movement and feel for dramaturgy, I was able to help move DEsPRESSO along to becoming a great performance.
In the performance there are two doors, a normal sized door which is the door to the outside world from Michele’s room and a small door that Alessandra brings into the space, which can represent different things to different people, but for Ale has a magical quality. There are also two huge coffee cups that can become different things in play between the two characters – such as seats, stilts, a car, mountains, etc.
Before I came to Italy, Michele had asked me to speak with my daughter about her ideas for the small door, the big door and loneliness. I did this and it gave me the idea to extend my research and work with children from my daughter’s class in Year 2. I was interested to see how they viewed depression and loneliness and how they felt this could relate to movement.
We used ideas gathered from this research and from Michele’s research in Italy with children and people with depression to inform the content and symbolism of the work.
Michele has invited me to return in May to develop the show further and premiere the work for the public in the nearby city and capital of the region, Trento. Hopefully he will be successful in securing further funding and I’ll be able to go back.
It was an utter pleasure working with Michele, Alessandra and our project interpreter Stephanie.