The research

The original MAGPIE (1995-20050 used methodologies in rehearsals that supported how they could execute a performance with musicians and dancers that was improvised and yet appeared to be set in time and space. That aim was in critical response toward dance improvisation activities that took place in the 1970’s in New York, England and Europe. As the MAGPIE company became more efficient in how they could do every performance “as if it were not improvised”, this aim began to weaken as a platform for performance for Katie. She could only find reason with what MAGPIE had accomplished in how the methodologies used in the rehearsal processes could be shared in a workshop format.

From 2005 Katie folded MAGPIE.  Her intention was to allow for time to pass so that the reputation of MAGPIE as an improvisation music and dance performance company could be transformed into what she felt was her next artistic, creative action.

Katie met and began to work with Alfredo Genovesi when he moved to Amsterdam in 2008. His use of sound boxes, together with electric guitar, was an instant attraction for how Katie wished to develop a music theatre atmosphere and world. Alfredo’s performance life and everyday life is oddly theatrical and humours. Alfredo’s epic sound designs alongside his behaviour as a musician was an invitation for Katie to reconsider her theatre background, in addition to her dance and music improvisation experiences, as fundamental missing link in the MAGPIE performance platform.

Katie and Alfredo began their collaboration with the working title Duck projects from 2008-2010. Early on in their process they discovered, discussed, researched, deconstructed, pondered and played with the theme: “Crime and Casualty”.

They created scored pieces using film, movement, characters, objects, text, music and sound around specific criminal behaviours (A serial killer, Female murderers, rapist, crimes of love and drug crimes),  developed cult crimes for large group work (Jim Jones and Charles Manson) and questioned the similarity between youthful rock stare life styles and deaths (rock casualty).

These experiments took place in Amsterdam at the OT301 and the Zaal 100 and on tour in Warsaw Poland – October 2008 “Bummer Holiday” and Seoul Korea – Seongnam International Dance Festival – April/May 2009 “Love Ship”

In 2011 they resurrected the title MAGPIE in order to clarify that, though improvisation remains their main practice in how they perform, it is no longer the pedagogy. It no longer matters that a public knows, cares or recognises that the performance is improvised. They discover a crime, casualty or both in whatever situation or place they are asked to perform and/or they can create a scored production around a specific criminal’s story. They transform the theatre space into an ironical platform to highlight how criminal behaviour today allows for rank mercantile opportunism a passive aggressive attitude has gripped, blinded and numbed us socially so that we are not obliged to acknowledge poverty, war, individuals who are mentally challenged and the damage that results; the casualty. Their practice is improvisation as a reflection of what they believe art in the theatre can only be; live.