The notes below are some bits and pieces pertaining to a potential (thus far conceptual) approach to devising performance in a technologically responsive space. As a preliminary, possibly relevant, consideration. Cut, pasted, and edited in anticipation of an upcoming workshopping session.
Note also that these scribbles, having heralded from past experiments, do not take into account the themes this upcoming exploration is ear-marked for. I will draw up more directly relevant notes after further investigation, consultation, and discussion (among thespiancrew as well as coproducers-collaborators-teams)… And/or as we progress throughout the in-studio time allotted.
The general idea.
Not to reproduce the drama inferred herein by the technical language. My intention, instead, is simply to reference-communicate well-known and familiar techniques that we might employ and adapt for our own purposes.
I) Commedia (ish) first then the associated Rasa (ish).
II) Difference first then Repetition of discoveries.
III) Devise from these the Lazzi (ish – not necessarily farcical).
IV) Develop dramaturgical structure first. Then practice the plurality to prepare ground for supportiveness.
V) Further develop dramaturgical content from experience of the evolving supportive practices.
For explanation / insight on the two ancient traditions but quick-like:
Commedia dell’Arte summary on page 8 of: A study guide for kids from Berkeley.
Commedia basics in a series of short videos from the National Theatre in the U.K.
Sunil, Princy. Rasa in Sanskrit Drama. The Indian Review of World Literature in English, Vol. 1, No. I – Jan, 2005.
In-studio Physical Theatre exercises.
Finding the ‘hard’ or furthest ‘edges’ of our own and the eco-system’s responsiveness:
– Stillness and being-there. Warming up and a situated centre of gravity.
Relax, inhabit, absorb, feel, sense, associate, imagine.
– Spatializing and getting to know the immersive ecology.
Taking visceral note of what when and where.
– Maskless mask work. Animate it emotively and individually but physiologically.
Exploiting the obviousness of what when and where.
– Full-bodied engagement among (our own) archetypal characters:
Noting potentially ‘successful’ narrative instances.
– Embodying the intention. Experiment with maximizing and minimizing (go large / be small).
Further refining the attitude, posture, and gesture that (physically) intonates the above.
Discussion and re-focusing ‘coupling’ experiments; from this a possible devising of appropriate exercises or games.
In-studio Grotowski-ish and Grammalogue exercises.
Building upon above character-in-the-ecosystem work and then practice maintaining an embodied complexity. Allow no prop, costume, or signification without personalized meaning. Includes language-communications but sentences are unnecessary. Theatre games:
– From within awkwardness; explore disruption of habit in behaviour and appearances. Noting potential for both mundane and transformational ritual. What when why?
– Vocalizing and individually but not scripted. Layering another mode of communication. What when why?
– Things (props et el) and their emotive, psychological, corporeal relevance to character. Noting any “successful” metaphor-metynomy and symbolism-allegory. What when why or why not?
– Improvising collusion among players. Engaging each other within the sensibility of our characters. Finding the sentiment of otherwise nonsensical things. The intimate ‘sensicality’ of otherwise mundane things.
– Sharing, imparting, needing, competing, eliciting, responding, exchanging, etc. Cultivating a group-think. Taking note of potential layers for an experiential plot.
Discussion and re-focusing ‘experiential plot’; from this a possible devising of choreography and/or recipes.
In-studio playing with participants.
Playing the minimized attitude-posture-gestures, in accordance with above devisings, but then turning it inside-out: Play the reaction instead.
Some will mirror, some will react, some will innovate, some will freeze and/or avoid. How to prepare a supportiveness for the plurality?
– Ask / reflect on that which instantiates (within the world we are apart of and creating); why?
– Ask / reflect on that which evokes (empathetically, sympathetically, or adversely); why?
– Ask/ reflect on that which provokes (activates or motivates or discourages); why?
– Brainstorm a framework not a sequence of precisions (the latter perhaps individually but not as a unified script).
Discussion and re-focusing (our) dramatic themes; from this a possible devising of our own lazzi and/or scenarios.
The performer’s integration in ecology.
– Embodying and/or engendering broader intentions by way of personae and interpersonal (inter-subjective) engagement. For our part, the genre of performance work could just as well be considered conceptually abstract as it could resemble naturalism. In any case, the circumstance requires working it back and forth and not unidirectionally. For example: Opportunities to support participant engagement (with ourselves or in the space generally) would alternate, sometimes coincide, with opportunities to infuse and evoke (among participants and/or the media).
– Ultimately our aim is to explore: Becoming a generative part of the broader aesthetic. In theory, it is from within this vein of inquiry / experimentation that a more appropriate / situational dramaturgical methodology might arise.
– Later: Another phase of exploration for devising the performance pieces or vignettes. Grows from further experimenting with above exercises / recipes / scenarios and/or like-kind experimentation – not to the contrary – and same goes with the spoken word. Would be important to conceive of cue’s in dimensional context, as opposed to a linear or successive taking of turns, and may be prudent to test jumbling our lazzi. Exploring and exploiting the randomness / associative meanings to whatever degree is fruitful.