Monday, October 5, 2009

Background on the Chimpanzees in HOMINID


HOMINID uses the documentary film The Family of Chimps,

created by Bert Haanstra in October 1983 at Arnhem Zoo in the largest Chimpanzee colony in history.   In the film, Haanstra captures the actions and interactions of the Chimps in a way that truly shows their carefull planning, empathy and social codes. 

         Because we are telling the story of the Chimps in this film, we are able to personalize our movements, gestures and tempos to reflect the actions of the actual Chimps.  As usual, this begs the question "are we playing Chimpanzees?"  Well, yes and no.  At this point, we are describing it as 90%  Charm School 10% Chimp.  However, having access to the film (and using it in the show) challenges us to make our human version of the story and characters be recognizable in the chimps in the film.  It's tricky, because we don't want to imitate the chimps; there will be no knuckle walking, pant grunting or hairy costumes.  However, the social rules, gestures and curiosity are very interesting.

So, if you want to know more or care to see pictures of the Chimps from Frans de Waal's Chimpanzee Politics or get info on the Bert Haanstra Film, follow the links at the beginning of this post.
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