Theatre in a real world environment, September 2007

By Corina Oprea

In their quest for novel "site specific" locations for environmental theatre, Signa takes audiences into abandoned hospitals, hotels, converted warehouses and camps, with a series of performance-art events featuring downtown artists and involving the audiences as part of the story´s life.

Signa Sørensen started to work on her concept of living installations in 2001; since then she has realized 13 productions.
She does not have a regular group of actors but works with Arthur Kostler and various other performers, according to each project and the country where she realizes the productions. She started to be interested in installations during her studies in Art School. "I had a sensation of dissatisfaction. The public was coming but it was somehow absent: the public was looking at me and it was quiet ", Signa comments. During the same period, she was employed as a dancer in a night-club and she started to experience a completely different relationship with an audience. "Better I was relating and more money was coming. Then something clicked in my mind and I saw that it would be good to combine the installation and the relationship with the public. Then I began to mount an installation to be lived (inhabited)".

Signa calls her living installations “ambient theatre”, or “environmental theatre”, which is a spectacle where the space dictates the script that the performers execute. The group prepares the space to be inhabited both by the performers and by the public. The idea is developed and explored together with her actors and the story takes shape after seeing the space which physically becomes the subject and the character of the performance. The space is explored in its entire variants: architectural-space, psychological-space, dream-space, sound-space, memory-space. The spatial identity explodes through a cumulative event that explores the relationship between histories, cities and memory. A living installation can last between 3-7 days of non-stop performance, 24 hours per day.

Conceptually Signa’s performances explore the limit between reality and fiction, the performance and the audience, audience and artists. The space therefore is imagined as an environment allowing the audience to have individual experiences. In the living installations that Signa creates, the audience does not sit and watch but is invited to walk about and intervene, creating a unique connection. The audience’s experience is absolutely personal and the spectators themselves become part of the performance as they interact with the artists in an organized ambience.

Signa plays with the notion of TV reality shows. The public is trapped in a real performance of fiction. The stories staged become the reality of the space, characters and audience. The magic is drawn by the experiences in real time, the direct communication and audience participation.

Signa’s performances aim to create a new sense of space. Images, objects and metaphors (spaceships, living rooms etc) are being used to express the urge for designing a space for living. In this way, rooms are being organized in order to adapt to a new cultural experience which is related to space as an experience, spaces to live in. 

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