“Laugh and the world will laugh with you; cry and the world, turning its back to you, will leave you cry.”
— Charlie Chaplin
Lucille LaBelle is the latest adventure from the Miseria y Hambre collective. An innovative show that, recreating the imaginative universe of the silent movies, brings us a marvellous love story that mixes live music, projections and the charm of theatre.
IS IT THEATRE, IS IT CINEMA, IS IT A MUSICAL...? NO, IT'S Lucille LaBelle!.
The fascination and charm that silent film awakens lies in its particular and hypnotic staging: through its lens, scenes and sets appear that in each frame form images full of nuances; through the expressiveness of the actors, makeup and costumes each frame comes to life, making the story.
It’s the hypnotic magic that arises, the audacity of the new, of the beauty of experimentation and, of course, the charm of the silent expressiveness, the nuances that we want for our play Lucille LaBelle. So, what do we get from this difficult search for beauty? An old-fashioned love story that leaps from the screen and materializes in flesh and blood characters, and when the imagination and the image are expressed by means of flesh and blood, then, well… let’s say that we are talking about theatre.
Lucille LaBelle is about all these things, an innovative show in which we intermingle several media: silent cinema, projections, live music and obviously theatre. We want to recreate an imaginary universe and the illusion of silent film, giving them the intimacy and magic of the stage and, with all these elements, tell an amazing love story.
QUESTIONS Lucille LaBelle IS ASKING.
Is it possible to mix the magic and illusion of silent film with the singular charm of theatre? How can we recreate a unique experience for the spectator and make them laugh, cry, or leap for joy as in times past? Is it possible to cross the limits of the screen and break the boundaries of the stage? Is it possible to dust off the ways of seeing and doing that cinema pioneers had and recover those islands of illusion and magic that are unknown and rare nowadays both for creators and spectators? Can the illusion, magic and beauty be transmitted?
Lucille LaBelle tells us it can be so!
THE JOURNEY SO FAR.
In March 2012, at the instigation of its directors, David Martínez Sanchez and Jaime Soler Huete, the project of Lucille LaBelle began. The objective was to recreate theatrically the magic awakened in the spectator by early 20th-Century cinema and recover the sensations and emotions that old films transmit when one returns to them. Under this premise and with some clearly formed starting points, Lucille LaBelle has relied on a team of more than forty professionals that have contributed with their experience and creativity to define the initial idea and give it shape.
It has been a complex process as it is an ambitious staging in which several media are mixed: theatre, cinema, live music and projections. The development of this risky adventure has been long: from the pre-production — including playwriting, the script and design for custom projections, and early rehearsals with the actors — to the production phase — sets, production planning, recording, preparing scenery, postproduction and editing — combined with video mapping in rehearsal, composition of the musical score, rehearsals and more…
In short, a difficult path artistically, economically and practically, not made easier by the necessity of following it with almost no economic resources thanks to our philosophy of work-for-work exchange and due to not having any funding beyond our own limited contributions of catering, accommodation and transport for all the team members of the different film shoots.
As a result, the project has taken a long time, but at long last we are close to the end of this journey and we are asking for your help. We encourage everybody who can to help us in this journey. Why? The likes of Lucille LaBelle have never been seen before!!!
SYNOPSIS OF Lucille LaBelle.
-1927. It is the opening night of the most eagerly anticipated film starring Lucille LaBelle to date. The cinema is crowded. Our protagonist, the usher and projectionist of Cinema Fantasio, is in love with cinema, with the silvery darkness of the auditorium and above all, he is in love with Lucille. He collects all her movies, the posters, the magazines in which his beloved appears. But our protagonist has never seen her in person so, when, thanks to the magic of the night, Lucille LaBelle comes alive in his movie theatre, he doesn’t miss the occasion to ask her out for dinner. But the film won’t permit any interference and soon the presence of the actress is reclaimed so that the story can continue. Will our protagonist be able to bring his beloved back to him? Will he be able to save her from the hands of the evil Dr. Madevil, the villain of the story? Will he be able to leave his role of usher behind and become one of the heroes of the films he admires so much?
Theatre is the only art form that, at this point in the 21st Century, has survived the solipsistic form that the rest of the arts have been adopting: video games are experienced in the privacy of the home; reading is above all a personal pleasure; appreciation of visual art can take place in the loneliness of the home, in books or online and even museums are temples of silence and withdrawal that impede communication. Last but not least: cinema. Not long ago, film was enjoyed in the company of not only friends and family but also strangers, whereas now it too is confined to the solitude of the living room thanks to the home cinema, the widespread availability of DVD players, the booming market for DVDs, Blu-ray discs, and of course the internet.
There is nothing wrong with this as such; it’s just different, another world. Miseria y Hambre Producciones has taken the decision to pay homage to the period when people met and in their innocence related to the stories shown on the silver screen and, what is more important, with the people that participated in the same experience, at the same time and in the same place. Theatre, in this sense, seems the best way to rediscover this spirit of community that is at risk of extinction, confined as we are among so much information and such an abundance of culture.
Theatre is the artform that, at least at the moment, remains immune to this massive and general withdrawal of culture from public life. Theatre is performed live by flesh and blood people before a flesh and blood audience that share the same flux of sensations. Cinema, in its origins, was very close to this.
AND WHO ARE Miseria y Hambre?
“Starting from nowhere, we have reached the highest levels of misery”
— Groucho Marx
Miseria y Hambre is a collective who have been working in the world of culture and performance since 2006. Our activity covers all fields: playwriting, direction, music, visual arts, video, technical production, set construction, new technologies and more. In all of these areas we have gathered a great team of professionals. We have broad experience in cultural and creative projects, not only in our own productions but also in collaboration with other companies. In terms of self-funding we have a particular philosophy of exchanging time for time and work for work in all the projects we undertake; this means that we exchange one type of work for another. In this way, Miseria y Hambre have contributed lighting designs, sets, sound spaces, technical guidance and other activities to several projects, for example in exchange for actors’ time. This is always a direct exchange without any middlemen and we always count on highly qualified friends and collaborators.
So no, we are not an NGO.
WHAT WILL WE USE THE MONEY FOR ?
To tackle the scope of this new project, we need the help of a platform like Verkami. Although we have counted on a team of more than 40 professionals, institutions and private companies in the performing arts, and have recycled materials from other productions to build our sets, custom designs and many other props and materials, at this point in the production process we need financial support to be able to bring this journey to its conclusion. Due to the current cultural climate, crowdfunding seems the most potent opportunity to capitalise on all the effort, time and money we have already invested and bring our project, Lucille LaBelle, to fruition.
The project is currently under way and has already covered a lot of ground in which many friends and theatre professionals have collaborated. However, even though the production is already at an advanced stage, some of the most expensive parts remain to be done: costume design and production, the finalising of set construction, renting rehearsal space, graphic design and printing of publicity and programmes, a Qlab software license, the purchase of a portable keyboard for the tour, Verkami costs, bank fees and of course to cover the fantastic gifts for our supporters that they deserve!
WHEN WILL WE PERFORM Lucille LaBelle?
For the duration of the Verkami fundraising campaign, we will keep developing the production. If we succeed in raising the backing that we are aiming for, the project will be completed no later than the beginning of June this year and from then on we will begin the distribution campaign.