Observe This Gait: Leeds Art Gallery, March 2015.

Leeds Art Gallery Improvisation

This was an incredible opportunity and I am proud of my bravery. I think this is probably the solo performance I am most proud of – I thought it went very well.   I improvised (to a gallery audience) my way out of a short script which headed the show. This script was written from research (and conversation) based on stereotypes attached to gender, and it was wonderful to play with these ideas through improvisation.

I think I successfully: projected some very clear points about my own perspective on these issues – through satirical characterisation, projected some generic views and misconceptions, and posed some questions for spectator consideration. These ideas felt necessary, and the audience relaxed into the performance as I asked: “Do I look like a man to you?”, “Do I look like a woman to you?”, This is of course not a clear rhetoric – for there may have been a differing opinion on this and I encouraged this by performing ambiguous actions which present both, or neither, typically associated female and male traits. Lovely, thrilling day.

“Observe This Gait explores the fixing and objectifying of ‘gender’ that has seemingly occurred in the history of live performance

Historically it could be argued that theatre has, through indicative gestures and assigned gender traits, presented to audiences the idea of gendered qualities being common to/tied to a specific sex.

Through research and the embodying of theatrical techniques for portraying these assumed sex-specific gender traits, the performer will use these along with a scripted text which reinforces the notion, into an arena of critique which explores and plays using improvisation. The improvisation within this performance will bring elements of opposition, absurdity and unfamiliarity, challenging notions of performed gender and playfully exposing the unreality of them.

Through referencing theatrical conventions; using improvisation with physical and verbal script; setting and then blurring boundaries between masculine and feminine, body and voice, perceived and performed gender; this performance will take the audience on an abstract journey of their own witnessing of gender and also reflect the performers own feelings towards the issues surrounding ‘gender’ and ‘sex’.

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