Callous Physical Theatre
Callous Physical Theatre embraces the challenge of creating original intermedia trans-disciplinary performance and art works responsive to the 21st century. CPT is dedicated to an arts practice that values integrity, professionalism, diversity and inclusiveness.
Founded in 2004 as the resident professional performance company of Barefoot Studios in Tacoma, Washington, Callous Physical Theatre creates and performs original performance works directed by Joséphine A. Garibaldi and Paul Zmolek. CPT has continued as a pick-up company since Garibaldi and Zmolek have relocated to Pocatello, Idaho. Current members include Bridget Close and Julie Leir-VanSickle.
We continue to explore cross-disciplinary performance as total theatre that values all elements of the production equally. Performances based in movement, text, sound, lighting, costume and visual design deal with human issues in a non-linear episodic montage to create emotional impact. This work is inherently and resolutely collaborative; a text-infused choreographic devising methodology that draws upon the performers to create the source elements of the performance which we then structure. Movement, text, images and sound - created by the collaborators who solve specific compositional problems throughout the process - are then structured into a coherent whole.
Our work is cultured by contemporary modern, folkloric, and classical dance, refined by the traditions and craft of theatre, and inspired by the transgressions of performance art. Spawned in theoretical research and personal experience, these performances work to reveal the transformative power of ritual within a theatrical form that is also entertaining to audiences.
This work does not fall neatly into one genre or another. It is undeniably choreographic yet it is not just Dance. It utilizes text to reveal emotion and create character yet it is not contained by Drama. It manipulates sound and rhythm yet it is not what is typically called Music. It utilizes visual design elements yet it is a time-based art. Throughout our career we have labeled our work as Dance/Theatre, Interdisciplinary Performance, Physical Theatre and Post-Dramatic New Music Theatre. Past work includes investigations of:
- AIDS and Human Sacrifice, the invisibility of death, the paucity of mourning rituals and the Catholic Mass;
- The Market as venerated Invisible Hand, class stratification, the frenzy of The Chicago Mercantile Exchange, medieval trade guilds and alchemical practice, and the shaman’s journey up and down the axis mundi;
- Railroads and America, migrants hopping trains in search of work, the expulsion of Chinese laborers through the Tacoma Method, and personal stories of searching for home;
- Otherness through physical handicap, age and body image;
- The Suprematist, Cubo-Futurist, Constructivist and Zaum movements of the early Soviets;
- Mediated myths of the American Dream, Suburbia, the Cold War, and the Atomic Age.
- The paradox of a vibrant tourist economy built upon the legacy of St. Francis, famed for his severe ascetic discipline and strict rejection of material gain.
- Kafka’s The Trial, the virtual panopticon of the post-9/11 surveillance security state, and the use of religion and patriotism as memes for the creation and maintenance of power.
- The utilization of classical text as source material for contemporary, postdramatic movement theatre.
Once thematic material has been winnowed, connective tangents are cultivated. Collaborators agree upon the work’s parameters, providing a rubric to solve. We cull a cast of collaborator/performers of different shapes, shades and sizes of various ages with unique life experiences and artistic practices. With our collaborators, text emerges from a dialectic process of research, writing, free association and exchange. Text is edited, resonant words are identified and then paired through chance operations to manipulate body parts, movements, pathways, time, space, energy, sound and timbre. By this process, performers create source movement integrating the text rather than pantomiming the text.
Our work attempts to find a synthesis between theatrical events and community-based ritual informed by underlying cultural belief systems. We strive to create entertaining theatrical experiences that have transformative effect upon the performers and the audience members through movement, sound, light, text and, when possible, taste, touch, and smell. We create these works to engage in a fully human act that can integrate the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual in the present moment of creation/destruction. The efficacy of ritual and the entertainment of theatre can join in a liminal moment of communitas between audience and artist. Our practice is to share this with our collaborators, performers and audiences.