Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Works in Progress: Searching for Sebald with Dina Paola Rodriguez

Name: Dina Paola Rodriguez

What is your role in Searching for Sebald?:
I am the Production Stage Manager.

Tell us a little about Deconstructive Theatre Project?: The Deconstructive Theatre Project is a Brooklyn-based ensemble performance laboratory. The company focuses on creating devised multidisciplinary work. The company explores the relationship between the creative process and neuroscience. This is my second production with DTP and what sets it apart, for me, is how completely ensemble-based it really is. We create together no matter what our official role is in the company.

How is the creation process going so far?: I think it's going really well. At this point, we're several weeks in and the company has done a really good job creating a vocabulary for presenting sequences. As the stage manager, I know storyboarding and sketching scenes has become much more streamlined.

What is the developmental process like for you as an artist?: My process tends to be very different from project to project. In this piece specifically, I am definitely a planner! There is so much content to work with that many charts must be made to make a sequence happen.

What is it like working with mixed media? What are some challenges, benefits, risks etc.?:
I primarily work mixed media heavy productions. For me, it is definitely the most challenging and satisfying! Challenges of course are a big part of the process, especially because in my experience we're trying to make a program do something it wasn't built to do. There are long nights of programming and troubleshooting but once it works, it just fantastic!!! Plus, there's nothing more fun to me than calling a tech heavy show and have it go seamlessly!

Tell us a little about W.G. Sebald and “The Rings of Saturn”: Sebald was such a writer’s writer; his attention to detail is unlike any other author I've ever read. It's really difficult to truly describe The Rings of Saturn. He can be talking about something in the present and from one sentence to another take you thousands of years away. There's an enormous amount of historical facts, so much so that I constantly found myself writing a list of dates upon dates to research.

How does W.G. Sebald and “The Rings of Saturn” inspire you as artist?:
I had never read anything by Sebald before starting this piece and now having read "The Rings of Saturn" and his book of poetry Unrecounted several times, I truly admire his freeform style as well as his ability to not hesitate when writing about destruction. I find myself pushing to share more and get very honest with the DTP team during the process of creating the work. The Impact of the book and Sebald will stay with me long after Searching for Sebald.

What is the importance/relationship of memory and the wandering mind to you as an artist?: Memory is what forms us - whether or not we know it, it forms how we see the world. Exploring memory during Searching for Sebald has become an extremely prominent part of my experience with the book and the creation of the piece. There will be a paragraph or sometimes just one sentence which immediately prompts me to have a very visceral recollection and then completely shifts the way I read that particular part of the book. I think it's very important to allow yourself to wander to those places.

What is it like exploring neuroscience through creativity?:
I sure do love it! It's very interesting to see what the brain chooses to focus on.

Why Searching for Sebald now?: Coming off of the success of DTP’s The Orpheus Variations, this piece feels like the appropriate next step for the company.

What can we expect to see in Searching for Sebald?: I think we're still very mid-process. I can say it is like nothing else I've ever worked on. If you want to see what we're trying out week to week, the company is constantly Instagraming rehearsal photos using the hashtags #searchingforsebald and #dtp.