THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF MONSIEUR SPACE
Video Presentation featuring the architectural transformations designed by Jean-Guy Lecat, the world-famous French scenic designer and architectural consultant for Peter Brook’s Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris, BAM Harvey Theater, La MaMa ETC’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (formerly the Annex Theatre), and consultant to Jeffrey Horowitz’s Theatre for a New Audience.
Prepared for “Creating a Theatre for a New Audience, Part 1” (Sunday, January 5, 2023 at 5:30pm) at the Theatre for a New Audience at Polonsky Shakespeare Center, 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn. Created by In the Culture of One World. Music Credit: “April March-Garcon Glacon”
ON BUILDING THEATRE TODAY:
“The difference between a true space and one that is not lies in the criteria that favours or disfavours life. That which favours this concentration is thus legitimate while that which shies away from it is not. In order to have this concentration, we must have a true relationship with the actors in the theatrical form. What we call presence: the feeling of being very close to someone who is in fact far away from us.
“A theatre space cannot have a pre-conceived definition. If the space is defined, the whole performance already encompasses a particular ideology. What is indispensable is that the chosen site does not simply narrate an anecdote, but rather that it favours this concentration — that the site has appropriate acoustics while remaining neutral — not sterile but neutral. Neutral in the sense that all of the events, the relations and the definitions attributed to the site can then be erased.”
— JEAN-GUY LECAT
Jean-Guy Lecat devotes himself fully to the transformation of space for performance. He is untiring in his exploration of the interaction of theater and architecture, design and performance, space and storytelling.
Lecat’s guiding hand can be gleaned in the construction of Teatro Azul de Almada in Lisbon, the building of the New Young Vic in London, the major renovation of the historic Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the conversion of an old Norway factory into theatre spaces and schools, the remaking of the Naves del Antiguo Matadero into a performing arts space in Madrid — and now the construction of Theatre for a New Audience’s new home at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn.
Prior to the Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Lecat was known in New York for transforming a literally crumbling 1904 space, two blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music (formerly the Majestic, it had been boarded up for 20 years) into the BAM Harvey Theater. The newly refurbished Harvey was built specifically to house Peter Brook’s nine-hour production of “The Mahabharata” and his subsequent “The Cherry Orchard.”
Read an award-winning profile of Jean-Guy at: “The Further Adventures of Monsieur Space” (American Theatre, January 2009)