Theatre Ideas: Resource #6: Impossible Plays:
The Cottlesloe Company was comprised mostly of hard-drinking male artists with a working class background (sometimes referred to disparagingly by outsiders as the "rugby team," and known among themselves as "The Beasts") who focused on the creation of a "popular theatre" using folk music and what they called "promenade" staging, in which the action moved in and around the often-standing audience. If you ever get an opportunity to see the video of The Mysteries, the power of this approach is evident even in recorded form. What comes through the anecdotes most powerfully is a sense of vision and commitment, a purpose to what they were doing, and the faith and funding of Peter Hall necessary to create dynamic work. Unlike our one-and-done system of play production, the ensemble was the source of inspiration, and the ongoing relationships created the means to build on experiments and discoveries. This is truly experimental theatre, in the scientific sense of experiment being the development of a hypothesis and the tesing of that hypothesis in action, then building on what is learned to further develop understanding. "To have a flow of work," Dewhurst notes, "you need control." Indeed, this is the definition of artistic vision: the vision necessary to create something new, and the control needed to see it through.