CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Micro Theatre, the Next Big (Little) Thing in Spain

AMERICAN THEATRE: On a rainy Thursday night in Madrid the bar of Micro Teatro Por Dinero is packed with a young crowd of theatregoers waiting to catch a short performance in one of the five tiny rooms in the venue’s basement. When our number is called, we’re led into a small dark room where the audience sits pressed up against each other sardine fashion on tiny stools. A door is flung open, immediately breaking the fourth wall as a distressed young man stumbles in and sits down on my knee in floods of tears.


Katherine Sharpless said...

I love the weird combination of turning a brothel into a theater- and letting that space alter the type of theatre created. It reminds me of an article I read for another class which was about how vacant superstores like Walmart were being turned into libraries and community centers by one architecture firm in Texas. Paint and lighting did wonders to turn a drab and depressing frozen foods aisle into the non-fiction section. There must be a strong emotional component to working in an old brothel as well which I can't imagine- but the intimacy of the small room remains the same as it becomes a space for the arts. I'm not sure if it's true that the Micro Theatre has "Never before has there been a theatre so close, so intimate, and so open". This is definitely an exaggeration in my mind, but we'll see once the trend hits the US.

Sarah Boyle said...

I love the production photo with the audience watching the scene through hanging blinds. Even in a small space, the audience can be placed inside or out. Though I think that it is interesting that they started out using a building that was a brothel, I do wonder what a building designed for these types of performances could add for lighting options. This form of theatre sounds interesting, particularly that it does provide the option to put on works in different languages, or to take more risks throughout their season. Logistically though, I think it would be difficult. If there is only one entrance to each performance space, then an actor would need to enter through the same door as the audience, so where does that actor wait beforehand? Can actors handle all reset between shows or does each space need a stagehand assigned to it? With audience members so close to the set, I think it increases the chance someone bumps into a set piece or prop that then needs to be fixed.

John Yoerger said...

Besides being disgusted by the idea of ever having to sit so close to audience members and not having enough space to breath or sit comfortably to enjoy the performance (#IHeartCommercialTheatre) I think this is very interesting. It reminds me of the "droll" performance pieces that became popular during the Puritan Reformation when theatre was outlawed. They would, like this, perform theatre underground in places like brothels for only a short amount of time, such as ten minutes. The pieces were summaries of stories or shortened but heightened versions. Very interesting. I am intrigued by the idea of seeing a modern day version of this (maybe a playground piece idea) but definitely not something I would ever pay money to experience...especially with my personal space issues. Though, I have really been trying to say YES to more things. So I'd at least *consider* giving it a shot. The technical aspects to this must also be very interesting. I'm thinking BYOF - bring your own flashlights and light the stage.