As Free Theatre continues to develop a key project, How Not To Be Hamlet?, which explores the effects of the 1984 social and economic reforms on New Zealand society, it is instructive to consider this formative Free Theatre production. As with so much of Falkenberg's work, like Fassbinder, there is a prescience and unflinching gaze at contemporary political life via the personal experience of the collaborators. Perhaps even more so than Fassbinder, who famously replicated his personal life on stage and screen (Bitter Tears a prime example), Falkenberg is closer to Brecht in finding through a conversation with his collaborators a political perspective that does not rely so heavily on his personal perspective. This is not to say Falkenberg is without a personal view but it is his ability to inspire questioning in the collaborators that allows the work to come into being, making it relevant and important to everyone involved in producing the work. This is evident in his theatre work and his foray into film with Remake in 2007.
In a culture famously reticent when the subject of politics is raised, Free Theatre's approach to theatre elevates the experience to be a relevant gauge of the time and place. The company finds ways of provoking discussion that may not always be popular but that are nevertheless appreciated as essential by those that view art as a means of resisting the conformity of the status quo by making visible ideological perspectives that are hidden as seeming natural or inevitable.
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Free Theatre ChCh
Free Theatre Christchurch. Intermittent blogging. Thoughts. Enjoy.