Drama and Performing Arts alumnus Emiliano Troiano writes about his experiences rehearsing for and performing in the opera The Colour Blue.
During the month of October 2018, I have had the pleasure of taking part, as a performer, in the opera The Colour Blue, a music-theatre performance put together over the years by composer (and Course Leader) Dr Simone Spagnolo and librettist Giordano Trischitta. The piece is a brilliant combination of dynamic energy and postmodern extrovertism, bound together by punchy, powerful music and lyrics. The main theme of the opera regards the infinite possibilities of truth, along with a debate about the manifold shades of the colour blue.
The entire piece revolves around a boxing game, presented in a philosophical and farcical key, and it has been designed for an ensemble of four singers, four musicians and two actors.
The performance came together as a puzzle, in which all the pieces, the acting, music, and vocals eventually joined to create the final work. Over the four weeks prior to the performance, I and the other actor, Vlad Catusanu, developed the boxing game’s acts, following the directions of Simone and director Nigel Ward, so to harmonically amalgamate with the rest of the cast.
During the process of building the boxing rounds, in a farcical crescendo, we have been working to find the balance between the tension of the acting and the physical coordination with music. For example, we tried to match the constant rhythm of the percussion with our skipping on the ring, and the "musical punches" of the violin, bass clarinet and cello, with jabs, hooks and lead rights. At first, the tension of the match led to an aggressive and incorrect fight, switching in the last round to a comical series of chaplinesque, silly attacks, to finally end in a whole cast laugh.
The process of working on The Colour Blue gave me a new awareness of my body and a mental opening to different directions of acting. Working with Simone helped me improve my physical skills in relation to music, because of his energetic way of work, always pushing us to new limits and to the discovery of new bizarre "commedia-like" tensions. It was great to share thoughts and lines of work with the other artists, to contribute to the project. It was such an inspiration to work with professional musicians and singers too. Thanks to the experience a variety of new "blues" enhanced my artistic palette.
I am currently studying the Jacques Lecoq training, and working on a new performance with theatre practitioner Marina Pallares. In the next years I would like to travel Europe and explore the world of pantomime, clowning and acrobatic theatre in conjunction with some conservatoires, as for instance the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris or the Moveo Physical Theatre in Barcelona, making treasure of the experiences this amazing discipline can offer, like the one of The Colour Blue.