The Subversive Theatre Collective:

2002-2017: Now in Year #14 of our Kamikaze Journey!
Subversive Theatre: Where pissing you off is only the beginning

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  "The Arts are the 
locale for a kind of guerilla warfare . . . they're subtle so the Establishment gambles that they won't lead to anything threatening.     
   But the Establishment often loses that gamble." 

-Howard Zinn

About the Unique Development Process of 


     OUROBOROS is an unusual project in that it had no pre-existing script when the rehearsals got underway.  It began as a fairly open-ended idea conceived of by Director Brian Zybala.  The performances of OUROBOROS that audiences will see are the result of the evolution of Zybala's original concept throughout the collective development of that idea with his ensemble of actors, designers, and choreographers.

Click below for more info...
-- About the Cast 
-- About the Crew 
-- Directions to the Theater
-- Director's Notes 
-- Publicity Photos
-- Return to the OUROBOROS Mainpage
-- Subversation Sundays
-- Buffalo News Review 1/26/09
-- Download OUROBOROS Interview on ThinkTwice Radio
-- About the Unique Development Process that was Used to Bring OUROBOROS to Life

     It is exciting to see a project take shape through such an experimental, non-hierarchical approach.  We at Subversive Theatre are very proud to bring life to a production that is "subversive" not just in terms of content, but style and development as well.
     We thought audiences would be interested to know more about this unusual approach.  Therefore, a detailed description of the various stages of the rehearsal/creation process is provided below.

OUROBOROS takes from the style of 1960's experimental theater.  Tipping our hats to the notorious Hippie-Era anti-establishment troupe, The Open Theatre, we worked from a concept outline to create this piece.  Rehearsals for this production consisted of improvisational games, movement exercises, and extensive discussions.

A typical rehearsal would begin with a movement exercise.  The director would talk the actors through the process of changing their bodies from prone positions on the ground to tall standing trees, animals, airplanes, or other creations.  

The exercises would run about 30 minutes and would hold relevance to the area of the production that would be blocked that day.

Once the actors had become familiar with the type of movement that would be asked of them on a particular day they would sit with the director for discussion.  The discussions for this production ranged from the nature of work to biblical writings to existentialism.  Discussions would last about 30 minutes and then the actors would take a break before crafting the next section of the piece.

Music was instrumental in the creation of OUROBOROS.  There was seldom a moment when the actors were working that music was not being played.  The music is seen by the troupe as the 9th actor in this performance.

Once the director explained what he wanted the actors to experiment with and the music was running, the actors would set about on improvisational movement.  The improv sessions could run up to 30 minutes.  During this time, the director would choose pieces of work that the actors were creating that fit his vision.

After an improvisational session, the director would gather the actors together and shape the basic structure of each section.  The actors would then use that more defined outline to recreate the section.  This process would repeat until the director and the actors were pleased with what they had created.

After the first week of rehearsals, the different sections were joined together and adjusted to give the piece a flow that would be create strong responses from the audience.  It was at this point that the sound designer (John Shotwell) got much more involved in the process.  John would meet with the director about three times a week working on selecting and creating musical pieces that would compliment the movement of the actors and the goal of the director.  The actors would then make adjustments to the new music and the designer would continue to make adjustments to what the actors had changed.

Once the piece was blocked by the actors and director, two new choreographers get involved with the piece, Monica Karwan (dance) Candice Kogut (fight).  Even with the presence of dance and fight choreographers the sections were not dictated to the actors.  The choreographers came to rehearsals with a general idea that was developed with conversations with the director and worked with the actors to make it as organically suited to the actors' bodies and movement styles as possible.

In the last week of rehearsals, the troupe ran the performance as it will be seen by the audience.  Although OUROBOROS was created out of improvisation, the director made the final decisions as to what the audience would see and hear.  

The director, Brian Zybala recently explained: 

"Ouroboros is not a play in the conventional sense.  I like to think of it as a physical poem.  A poet attempts to create strong images with words that will cause his or her audience to feel an experience that is trapped within the heart and mind of the poet.  With Ouroboros, I was honored to have a cast that allowed me to use their talents to create the images that I believe will allow our audience to experience the emotions and ideas that are trapped within my heart and mind."

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