Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 31st 2014 Contents B3
This year 3Canal has a brand new per-
formance space: the Big Black Box.
The new space is technically an old
space---Bohemia, at 33 Murray Street, Wood-
brook, the backyard of which has been leased,
renovated and repurposed for performances
from the 3Canal band and other local acts.
The house on the lot is the former residence
and workspace of late local playwright, actor,
producer and theatre activist Godfrey Sealey
and so the space itself has the blessing of a
long history of theatre production.
3Canal s Wendell Manwarren said the tra-
ditional black box theatre space---a bare-
bones, empty space that can become anything
desired---facilitates an ease of transformation
within which performances can change.
"The emphasis is not so much on the facil-
ities, but the technical side of things and it s
really a utilitarian space for experimentation
and the performance of works that you can t
really do in a conventional concert space
because of cost or time or other factors," he
3Canal intends to use its new location as
an incubator space both for its shows as well
as other experimental performance works.
The house is also being renovated as a location
of the business arm of the group s operations
and the entire space will be managed by their
Cut + Clear Productions.
"The idea behind the Big Black Box is: New
space, new time, new possibilities . It s always
been a dream of ours to have a space that we
can operate out of in totality.
"The experience of the office, the stage and
the studio, the gathering of artists on the reg-
ular, and the conjunction of all those energies
is a synergy that is unbeatable. It is something
we have always struggled to create."
They are not new to the space. "We ve been
using 33 Murray Street as a rehearsal space
for our Carnival show for the past three years
and Cyrus Sylvester, the gentleman we ve
been renting from, happened to be around
for Carnival while we were there this season."
A conversation between Sylvester and Stan-
ton Kewley, another frontline member of
3Canal, resulted in the group leasing the space
in an open ended agreement, though it is
their hope to eventually own the property.
The production company has already begun
to approach a team of local professionals who
will hopefully collaborate in the Big Black
Box, including performers such as Ian and
Dion Baptiste, Dave Williams, Cecelia Salazar
and Penelope Spencer, and musical trainer
and vocal coach Glenda Collens.
The ultimate goal for the space is to form
an academy for local theatre and the arts.
"Right now we re at a stage of our careers
and our lives where it s important to mentor,
train and develop other practitioners. The
emphasis is not on us, it is on those com-
He also confirmed that there were many
budding writers, actors, choreographers and
artists who were eager to have an opportunity
to use the space to showcase their works,
where previously they could not due to lim-
itations of time, funding and unavailability
of an appropriate space.
Manwarren did acknowledge that there
were both benefits and drawbacks to moving
the entire 3Canal production into a somewhat
smaller space than that to which they are
Renovations include brand new trussing
for performance grade lighting, an elevated
staging area, full-sound technical booth, a
360-degree staging effect, a production office
in the front, and an all-black-everything décor.
Some of the more practical benefits include
a complete reduction in rehearsal rentals for
the 3Canal group. The Big Black Box will be
a venue open and welcoming to any local the-
atre or musical group interested in using the
space for rehearsals, projects or performances,
More info: 623-7411 or visit 33 Murray
Today is the last show of rapso collaborative
3Canal s latest work in its new performance
space the Big Black Box. It opened August 27.
The title of the show---More Love. Life. Liv-
ing.---is inspired by a new collaborative song
release, More Love, performed by 3Canal and
produced by MX Prime.
"August is a kind of potent month because
it begins with Emancipation and ends with
Independence and the conjunction of those
two celebrations or moments in time is really
too much to ignore," said 3Canal s Wendell
"The idea of freedom and independence as
these ideals, where are we in the context of
all of that, has always been intriguing to me."
This show is a bit different from other shows
the group has staged. Manwarren said per-
formance artist and contemporary dance cho-
reographer Dave Williams "told us that it is
important to remember that this is a yard and
not Queen s Hall. Therefore the work and the
show itself will take on a different character."
Manwarren also drew reference to the
importance of the backyard gathering and the
lime out of which the creative spark can grow.
"It s a backyard. We re very mindful of that
and we re not trying to depart from that at
all because our research indicates to us that
our major cultural forms emerged in backyards.
"The steelband came out of the backyard,
the mas and the calypso came out of the bar-
rack yard and backyards of East Port-of-Spain,
Belmont and environs. That s our history.
That s our legacy."
This theatrical production is also informed
by the Big Black Box space. "There is a mode
of theatre called site-specific theatre and in
any kind of performance, the space, settings
and surroundings inform the performance.
So one of the things we knew going into
Queen s Hall, for example, is that we had to
present a certain kind of show.
"In the Big Black Box there are no wings
and flys, there s no fourth wall; the audience
is right there, so it becomes a whole different
transaction. So we had to find what works in
this context. It s been an adventure, exper-
imental and very exciting."
The show s theme is based on a lyric in the
group s new song: "16 to 25, what a time to
lose your life." The group intends to make a
statement and send a message through its
repertoire of songs, dance and dramatic inter-
ludes on the state of the country.
The show will be segmented into three
parts: What s Going On?, Know Your Rights
and No More, with an emphasis on people
being proactive and dealing with how they
can make a change in their lives. (JCF)
Big Black Box
opens with a bang
Wendell Manwarren, right, directing a rehearsal of the new 3Canal production, More Love. Life.
Living. at the Big Black Box. PHOTOS COURTESY 3CANAL.
A new kind of 3Canal experience
A performer in rehearsal for the new 3Canal
production More Love. Life. Living.
Artist Clayton de
his colour palette
shows Carnival at
Tate in London
T&T actor Paul Pryce
stars in Shakespeare
drama in the US
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