performance doctor

Performance doctor, first aid for performance problems

You know how it works: you work hard on a new performance, and when the deadline approaches you get stuck. You have nice material but the end is not right, the beginning is not going well. You have a lot of good ideas about content and form, but you don’t get it right.
And the fact that time is running out doesn’t really help either.

A director, a dramaturg? You are too stubborn for that..
In short: you need help from someone who takes a fresh look at your material.
Time to call the Performance Doctor!

Who is it?

Gérard Schiphorst has traveled the world for more than 40 years as one of the makers and players of TAMTAM object theater. They performed at festivals in 34 countries with their visual performances without text.

In addition, he also gives masterclasses and workshops with his colleague Marije van der Sande at international festivals (in now 11 countries) in which they create a performance in a short time with a group of theater makers and actors.

One of his specialties is screenplay for visual theatre: arranging the elements of the performance in such a way that the maximum theatrical effect can be obtained. A good scene in the wrong place takes the momentum out of the performance or leaves the viewer confused about the maker’s intention or the course of the story.

Maximum effect

As a maker, Gérard deals with all elements of a performance. He devises and develops the performances, does the engineering for the technical part of the performance, takes care of the scenography, dramaturgy, the lighting plan, composes and plays the soundtrack, makes and edits any videos and often does the final direction. He then goes on tour with it as a stage builder, performer and tour manager.

He can draw on all this experience to get your performance off the ground and help it on the way to a successful premiere.

Working without text has taught Gérard to be extremely precise with the dynamics of scenes, their place in the performance, their strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to the maximum to create beautiful and surprising theatre. In addition, when composing the performance as a series of visual scenes, the power of the image is very important. What can you say in image, form, light, sound, technology that can replace or underline text.

for whom?

Gérard’s services as a performance doctor are mainly aimed at professional (or aspiring) theater makers in the field of visual theatre, visual theatre, puppets and object theatre.

The different options

At TAMTAM we like customisation and if necessary we adjust a location or performance to achieve the best result for the audience, the theatre or the festival.
Below are a number of basic options, and customisation is also the motto here: where necessary, we search together for the best form to improve your performance:

The Kickstart
Duration: 1 day
When: At the start of a new performance or at an early stage of the production
What to expect:
-Go through what is available in terms of material and ideas and what the options are with them
-Look at what you want to say and how you want to realize it.
-Explore the consequences of different choices, both artistically and practically
-Virtually create the performance in a workshop-like atmosphere to be able to think about the end result in order to clarify choices and work process to follow.

Third Eye
For those who are too stubborn for a director…the ultimate spectator throughout the process.
Duration: Several days spread over the production process
When: At the request of the makers.
What to expect:
From the earliest possible stage of the performance, I drop by at intervals for a day to comment, ask impertinent questions and make suggestions at each stage in a working session as a test viewer. This is therefore not a direction in which the director puts his stamp on the performance. Once Gérard is gone, you have until the next session to either process what he suggested in your own way or prove him wrong.

First aid
Duration: 1 day
When: If your performance is stuck or you have the feeling that it is not going to be what you want.
What to expect:
You are already well on your way with your production but it doesn’t progress anymore.
Then a session that is actually almost similar to The Kickstart above is a solution.
A day of hard work on inventorying what is good and what choices you have to get a workable process that takes you to a ready-made performance.

The Polishing
Duration: for example 3 days
When: when your performance is almost finished
What to expect:
A multi-day work session, for example, in the workshop of TAMTAM in Deventer where the performance can be set up or in your own space. This gives the opportunity to dive deep into the performance that is already (almost) finished and to fine-tune everything. We work on the balance between the different elements, content, form, play, technique, light, music and so on, so that you gain control over the dynamics of the performance and can remove the last uncertainties.

Review Charlotte de Lange of Trunk Puppeteers:

“The performance doctor Gérard Schiphorst generously shares his enormous know-how on how to create a performance. ‘Making it happen’ as he teaches you to be guided by the material. The process that TAMTAM objektentheater  itself uses for this gives you to vary the space, create and keep looking until a beautiful whole is found, consisting of story, material and music, sound.If you want to create, improve or perfect a performance, it is a luxury to be inspired by a craftsman with years of experience and mountains of imagination. And it is also simply very cosy.”

Photo top: Josje Eijkenboom >, The Red Wolves.