Put 30 people together
in an empty room
and what will we do?
Is it human nature to help
or to hurt a stranger?
Have you ever felt alone
in a crowd?
Are you watching
When Pontius Pilate presented Jesus to the crowd baying for his blood, shortly before washing his hands he proclaimed "Ecce Homo!"
"Behold the Man!"
The cynically ambiguous words have echoed through the ages, not only in Christian art, but in the titles of work by the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche and George Grosz... and implicit in their use is a deeply ambivalent view of human nature - that divinity and evil, love and cruelty are inherent in us all.
Since 1990 George Dillon has created a series of acclaimed solo productions winning awards and touring internationally. He has also led hundreds of workshops, exploring techniques derived from his work with Steven Berkoff and ideas developed alone.
Inspired by Peter Brook's The Empty Space and very loosely based on one of Jerzy Grotowski's paratheatrical events, together with concepts and techniques developed over Dillon’s nearly twenty years of solo creativity and martial arts training, Ecce Homo is an ongoing workshop programme and experimental public presentation exploring how humans behave when alone and in response to other humans.
Ecce Homo uses a very simple exercise to explore how we inter-act with each other, sometimes making contact but ever alone. The work is physical, but does not require any level of physical training or ability - the vocabulary being explored is that of ordinary everyday human expression.
The main challenge faced by those who engage with it is to embrace a non-conceptual way of creating and seeing theatre - to act and respond instantly, bypassing the acquired filter of rational thinking. The work culminates in a theatrical presentation, but it is not about creating a performance - a core aim is to blur the distinction between audience and performer.
the ‘made up’ mind...
the individual and the group...
watchers and the watched...
inside the outsider...
the story you don't want to tell...
and yet you do...
A culmination of several years of working alone, and marking a breakthrough for George Dillon into a new way of sharing solo discoveries and working in collaboration with other artists, Ecce Homo was first realised in early 2007 as a 2 day public workshop and later, (with generous support and encouragement from The Nightingale Theatre and funding from the Arts Council), as a 2 week intensive training regime with 4 actors and a musician.
During the project elements of solo performance, spontaneous story-telling and physical improvisation were combined into an original creative methodology which resulted in 3 work-in-progress presentations, created on the night, out of nothing, by the company together with the audience.
Of vital importance to the work was the inclusion of between one and four guests participants each day, (including guest directors, performers, visual artists and musicians) and it is hoped that this openness in rehearsals can be repeated in other artistic communities.
VITAL THEATRE is now looking to work in partnership with suitable venues to further develop Ecce Homo in 2008/9 and beyond.
In the future Ecce Homo could take three forms:
1. A workshop for the general public, organisations, professional actors or students, lasting a single afternoon, a weekend or up to 5 days.
2. An intensive training regime for a company of 4 to 6 professional actors lasting between one and four weeks with up to 6 guests (actors, directors, musicians and visual artists) being invited each day, culminating in public showings of work-in-progress.
3. In the longer term (perhaps 2 to 3 years from now) it is possible that the work could lead to the creation of a 'performance', although what form this could take is impossible to determine as this is not yet being planned and is not the ultimate objective.