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.

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