A change in performance approach


As previously mentioned, there must be a reason why improvisation has always been included in my work. It is certainly not a laziness for performance preparation – improvisation takes just as much preparation. I think this can be explained (if I can explain it) through the understanding that public performance pushes you into a place in which you are bringing out your performative best, presenting your sensibility for performing arts using the approach/work intended. Surely in this public place of ability, vulnerability and energy, improvisation (action that works with instinct as oppose to rehearsal) is now ‘silver-lined’ with these sensibilities: a search for, a grappling with emotion, a conscience for aesthetic qualities. Surely this results in moments of that unfamiliar self being un-earthered occasionally as more characteristically poignant – a refreshing point of interest. I have been told (and hope to be true) that some of these moments in my own work have been viewed as refreshing and meaningful for the spectator. I hope these moments have also been observed as being refreshing for the performer as they arise (that sense of sharing a moment)…However, now is the time – FINALLY – to move on from improvisation…

I last performed Cafe Repartee at Free For Arts at the Penthouse in Manchester (a great layout of conceptual and visual art work). This performance is partly script which leads into the improvisation. I was aware (before, through and after) that I didn’t give myself time to re-learn the script, to make the best of the words and actions – this vastly (of course) affected the performance – particularly the Ball and Heulsenbeck sections. During presentation I had the mindfulness of that fear that what I was delivering might not be what conceptual/visual artists would want to see, mainly because of the forced and shifting energy involved in my work/a moving body in a space.

I later understood that aside from ill preparation the work was affected by my not enjoying it, because I hadn’t done/used enough research in the last two of the three dadaists that featured in the script. Perhaps I also didn’t spent the required time embodying the men that fascinated me, though this was avoided as it seemed very anti-dada, regrettably I felt I failed to inflame the performance with the idea of their brilliance. Also the last two sections were not composed as interestingly as the first (it was commented, “the first was alot more powerful”). Perhaps I am just trying to involve too much in one performance – probably!

The grapheme element was a little better than the previous showing, the graphemes were used and slowly develop from sounds into actual words (from out of nowhere – unexpected). I understand now that having a script presented before the graphemes are spoken and improvised with doesn’t work in favour of the grapheme experiment. I use the script information as a reference point during improvising and the improvised section becomes more about the rearranging and playing with script rather than the idea of the graphemes being the instigator for new language – the sound leading to new words, implanting new image and taking these to a new place accompanied with new action – different from what had previously been seen

To do this again I would need an appropriate and willing venue which was specifically about sound, language, and the use of the body in this. Because it is (why didn’t I accept this before – perhaps I didn’t care) a difficult thing to do. The body and the voice has to be properly prepared for this, patience is key, and not the idea that performance always have to be entertaining – this is not the point here. It is about trying to present the idea of improvising from very little and improvising from sounds…improvising FORM… (an abstract idea) and an aesthetic idea. And how this can make new ideas lead to, perhaps, the poetical, the non-literal, the literal…whatever – it doesn’t matter because there is nothing set in place – it has to be a minimal and organic experiment! To do this again I need to view it differently, and I need the right, not necessarily but partially sympathetic space. I shall look and hope.

However, for now a NEW approach…I am researching and devising a short script which will be presented as a durational piece and will be concerned with the psychology of the comic Fool…more soon.

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