Where do I even begin. This style of work of improv is sooo imbedded in my bones it's hard to say where it originates. Is it something passed down from an elder or exorcised out from the center of one's soul. Rachel Rosenthal, artist, shaman, activist, animal lover, has been enacting and directing this kind of work for decades up till her passing in 2015.
Luckily, I was able to cross paths with her in 2004 as I was at the tail end of working with a couple other theater groups. Rachel created a space where artists could dive deep into the surreal world of abstract theater and find a universal, yet personal, expression that taps into the universal language of dreams and archetypes. She honed our sensitivities and skills to create live improv evenings for the public on a monthly basis.
The costume and prop room were just as large as the stage, filled with anything one could imagine and more, that in a split moment could be put on or pulled out onto the stage. Music, be it either live or recorded, accompanied the constantly changing lights that followed the action on stage. Rachel spoke of the Tohubohu as being a relationship between the actors, staging (costume, props, lighting, and music), and the audience. The music would inform our action on stage and vice versa.
The energy that the audience brought to the studio influenced the outcome of the evening. Every audience member came away from the experience with something unique and different from the other audience members. We were creating a dreamscape in the moment that was sensitive to the audience's influence, able to move them on stage, and give back something unique to the evening.
As I look back at the experience, I’m blown away with what was accomplished. Luckily the evenings were documented through photography and also video. Here are some images to perk your interest.