Interview With…Amit Lahav

Love London Love Culture chatted to Gecko‘s Artistic Director about  the company making its Barbican debut as part of the London  International Mime Festival.  

Hi Amit, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. What can audiences expect from ‘The Wedding’? The unexpected! I actually think that’s a very difficult question in a way, because The Wedding has been built and created to take you inside yourself. I suppose they can expect a voyage of self discovery; a voyage where their own lives will be called upon. They can also expect an incredibly visual, physical, multi-lingual, multicultural piece of expressive physical theatre. Something that asks important questions about our relationship as citizens with the state, and demands a response about what’s going to happen in where we’re moving collectively: do we want more profound connections in our communities and in our society? If so, how do we want this to happen?

How are you feeling about Gecko making its Barbican debut? Incredibly excited. I think The Wedding will work extremely well in the space. The show does need an expansive environment – it’s a big show with huge expressive performances and it’s a show that reflects big ideas about the world we’re living in, so it requires an arena like the Barbican! However, despite its size, the Barbican’s stage never loses its proximity and intimacy, so I’m hoping that it’s going to be a perfect ‘marriage’.

How did the idea for the show come about? It came out of a feeling of frustration and anger, and the feeling of the loss of control as a citizen, in terms of the world shifting underneath us socio-politically. This was fused with a real sense of hope that these wrongs can right themselves in some way. That conflict eventually took me to the central metaphor of ‘marriage’; the idea that we’re in a marriage, or a contract, the terms of which are beyond our control. The whole idea unfolded then that it would be a reflection on how we divorce, or how we create a better marriage.

Was there anything in particular that you wanted audiences to take away from ‘The Wedding’? Energy, and a passion to ask the question of how they would like to change, and how they would like the world around them to change. 

Gecko’s productions place the audience right at the heart of the show – how does that work with this production? I think there’s a reality that people can connect to through The Wedding’s three central characters, all of whom struggle in different ways with where they find themselves in society. My sense is from having played the show in the UK and internationally that people really want to engage with these stories, want to discuss where we’re going, and how we can affect change. There’s no escaping that the audience will find themselves at the heart of that question!

Were there any challenges in the creation of the show? Making a Gecko show in an endless stream of challenges! To pick one, it is the challenge of creating a show that addresses something deeply personal, but also societal and global. It takes you towards enormous questions about what it means to be a human being in 2019, but that it must also be an idea with longevity; something that persistently and consistently continues to be relevant. Added to that, it needs to be generous, humorous, inventive, imaginative, spectacular, and it must be something challenging and rewarding to everyone involved in the production too. Then beyond that, it will be something that provides a whole platform for education and residencies and studies around the world. This is always an enormous challenge, and it takes three years to embark upon each show simply because they need to be done with full unrelenting commitment and integrity.

If you had to describe ‘The Wedding’ what words automatically spring to mind? Human is the most important word! But also: Visceral. Emotional. Impacting. Sensorial. Experiential. Subterranean. Playful. Emotional. Poetic.

 By Emma Clarendon

The Wedding will be performed by Gecko at the Barbican Centre as  part of the London International Mime Festival from the 24th to the  26th  January.

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