Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Antony Gormley installation at the White Cube

Saw Antony Gormley's piece at the White cube, as part of our research for the Tearaway Projects devised performance. In this installation, as an audience member you were free to enter the space from any direction and could walk straight through the middle of it.
Journing down the concrete stairs to the installation room, unaware of what to expect and see, allowed the effect of the installation in the dark space to resonate further for the spectator. Led by torch light to the glowing light of the wood beams made from rectangle to rectangle, rectangle in another rectangle, possessed a feeling of being involved in the set of the film the matrix.
As a spectator walking through the space, carefully not tripping on the beams that run across the floor, and ducking so the overhead ones don't hit you. You become in trance to the distance between one beam and another.
A feeling of being lost and restricted within rectangles with no walls was very surprising to me, and effected my confident stride to be demolished into a sheepish tip toe through the space.

A few minutes later and 'bam' the flood lights of more than 50 lamps come barking into the room. (The technical aspect of having to re-charge the paint on the beams to re-glow in the dark) Became the notion of exposing this structure for what it is. It lost its 4D visual effect, I was no longer in outer space or the matrix, but in a room of what could be described as simply wooden MDF beams of rectangles.

For the first time I entered the space I saw the faces and details of bodies of spectators who were also in the same room as me, unnoticed before as only a relationship of dark body in space, not a person infact.

A unique experience of locating which beam connected with which to complete the rectangle. The feeling of becoming trapped and lost within rooms, within rooms within rooms. A 'trip' experience not to be missed.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

How far can an audience member perform?

I went to go and see Jane Munro's piece; Invitations, last night. Which came at a great time within our company's process, as we were reaching the topic of 'how do we as performers interact physically with an audience member?'

The piece consisted of two performers entering and re-entering the space that the audience created within the round setting. Presenting themselves in a prominent stance which was effected by each different style of clothing they wore (Period dress, running gear and bare minimals).
Turning/ walking around in the circle space they engaged strong eye contact with each member of the audience, before 'selecting' one spectator. They approached that one person and invited them (through their gestures and movements alone) to perform/ dance/ move with them in the space, before returning them back to their original seat.

I was lucky enough to be invited to move with the performer, in which I realised the strength in setting up eye contact, from a distance, the subtle approach towards the spectator, then the 'invitation' of the hand/ the kneel down beside them. Continuing this through whilst in the dance/movement the contact between the two people was still connected and strong.

I felt very much safe and unembarrassed whilst I was experiencing this moment (even though I was the first participant) as I felt the connection I had with the performer was the only element that mattered. Even though I didn't know the 'steps' of the dance, I was allowed to be easily guided through the space without hesitation.

Watching back from the outside, I observed the levels in which the performers were pushing with the individual spectators, and even guided one person to lie on the floor, so that the performer was comfortable enough to lie on top of them. Which I thought was extraordinary that this progression of trust and (in a way) manipulation allowed itself to emerge in such a small space of time. Through the performance the boundaries of who lead who started to blur, with a spectator choosing different options and the performer following and vice-versa, was lovely to watch unfold.

Though unfortunately one feeling I expressed to Jane afterwards, was at the moment I had my 'scene' with the performer, and every time they re-entered the space to chose another spectator, I felt his gaze brush over me, with the feeling that; 'he had already engaged with me, and therefore wouldn't be able to react with again'. Which I felt slightly lost, because I felt the relationship we had previously established was then lost.

From seeing this performance it was clear to see the importance of how you establish and build up trust between the performer and spectator. By not rushing straight to them to physically shake their hand or immediately touch them. But by finding that true connection first, establishing simple eye contact, then from their you have captured their attention and trust. (Well in my personal case that was true). Through this idea of stages and levels of trust, then I feel it could be quite possible to guide the audience to doing anything you wanted through a performance.

Monday, 14 June 2010


Why do we question? Can we not simply be and do?

Is it not interesting to have bodies in space which can be, and allow a spectator/ audience to decipher the meanings through all the elements presented? I.e. space, location, body, time, tone, rhythm etc?

If you as a performer have a clear idea of what action you are doing and why? But then the audience has a different meaning, then does that mean the performer was unclear in their options? Or that actually more than one meaning can be interrupted, and still make coherent sense?

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Talking about puppets....

4th June 2010, I was involved in a performance at SHUNT Lounge called Lautes Licht, Directed by Adrian Figueroa and Designed by Kristen Gilmore. The concept of the performance was that the audience had the power to control the performers actions, by controlling the intensity and presence of the lights that were pre-rigged in the space.
Simply the higher the intensity the 'bigger' or more erratic the performance was, and the opposite when the lights had a lower intensity.

There were moments when the operator would erratically play with the lights in quick succession by turning them on and off, meaning the 'performance' couldn't really be understood. But then there were careful and thoughtful moments, when the levels of intensity between 0 and 100% were used. Then moments of slow dancing, whispering speech and muted violin playing would happen, when exploring intensity's of 30% 40% 80% etc. This then created micro stories and narratives that were devised from the spectator controlling and manipulating the lights to control what performance and performer were being exposed when.

So the idea of roles had to be clear and in place for the performance to happen. The performers were performers acting from the direction that the intensity the lights gave. Whilst the spectator acted as operator and 'puppet master' of the performance.

I guess in this clear example the idea of the performers being used as puppets worked, though whilst performing in this piece, I didn't feel like I was being exposed as merely a puppet, doing what I'm told.
The challenge came in one of my moments, where I was drinking a beer. The low light setting meant I could look at the bottle, hold it in a particular way, whilst the full intensity meant I had to drink the beer. Which for the 'puppet master' became interesting to play with that action with myself, as the idea that I was really being controlled by the lights, by the operator, by the spectator, was clear. The audience could see I was drinking, they understood the rules that I had fixed in place. Which made it interesting, and also for myself to perform, because thoughts and reasons were naturally being made and presumed by this action of turning the lights on and off, which controlled how much beer I drunk.

A really interesting experience to be apart of, by allowing the intention of your performance to be in the observers hands to control your rhythms.

Lautes Licht SHUNT Vaults

Photographs by Minyahil K. Giorgis
Shunt Lounge, 4 June, 2010
Lautes Licht
Directed by Adrian Figueroa
Designed by Kristen Gilmore

Friday, 11 June 2010

Are we all puppets?

From reading a peers blog about a recent devising process that we are both going through; about the idea of hierarchy within a theatre company, got me thinking also about roles which we fulfil.
The question I ask is do we need these roles to function to create new work? If roles are given out and appointed, then are we actually in danger of merely becoming performance puppets? Should a performer think or just do?

Though I realise the strength in improvisation and devising work is to have boundaries and structure, and the possibility of instruction from the 'outside'. After our last improv. session I felt vulnerable as that control was taken out of my hands. The rule was to 'just be', but with that construction I felt I lost the power of being a practitioner in making work, and became a puppet performer.

Thinking about this I do see the need to have a company structure to allow work to follow a path of moving forward, but I think I do agree with what happens to the chaos? When we are told to do, not think, then the option of going against the 'rules' and to challenge becomes non existent.

I feel within a performance company the strength is in the individual and their practice to disrupt and irritate the norm and flow of the work created. To juxtapose the the ideas to create a 'new' new.

The word is now...

Welcome to my blog, set to be a web presence where ideas, thoughts, inspirations and ideas can be highlighted and discussed. I welcome you to share and debate your ideas with me in an online collaboration that will push the practice of portraying the 'real' life, if that can be?

What is real life?
And how do we show if not expose it?
What makes performance work hold the reality of thoughts?
How do we show the real?

These are some of the questions I have been asking myself through this year in terms of my performance practice and to make work for a contemporary audience.