Emerging Perspectives Company Diary | Devising Performance | Louise White

In this session we started to think about the themes and strategies we may like to use to create our devised performance.

Morning Session:

We began, as always, with a warm up – the Go, Stop, Clap, Jump game – which always ends up with me tripping over my own feet!

We spent the first part of the morning revisiting what w e found fruitful from the Forced Entertainment Masterclass. We gave the techniques we had learned another go, to refresh our memory and also to introduce some of what we did to John, who had unfortunately missed out on the masterclass. We did the walking exercise; as a group, we walked around the space and could sit, stop, and start at will, while we explored desire paths, as well as accidental interactions and patterns. We also described photos of potential futures to each other. A couple of us really connected with the walking exercise, but overall the photos came out on top.

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We moved on to familiarising ourselves with the themes that arose from both the Forced Entertainment Masterclass and from Will Drew’s writing session and took time discussing which three themes we thought were most impactful and had the most potential to create work from.

These were:

  • Lies vs Truth
  • Silence vs The Need To Be Heard
  • Choices vs Restrictions.

In pairs we explored the linking attributes and connotations between them such as:

  • Can lies restrict you?
  • Is the truth something that needs to be heard?
  • What are the consequences of making choices or telling truths or lies?
  • Equally, what could be the motivations or intentions for choices made, lies told, things that go unsaid?

And then ‘I like…’ happened!

‘I like…’ was something we explored during the Forced Entertainment masterclass. This is where you could chip in at any time with a statement that had to start with ‘I like…’ – and these ‘likes’ could be either truths or lies. After we had familiarised ourselves with this exercise, we decided that lying on the floor and bouncing these statements between the group created some bright moments and that the exercise had a good structure and strategy to create work from.

With all of the above in mind, we ended the morning session by creating our own durational performance inspired by ‘Lies vs Truths’ and the ‘I like…’ exercise. While creating it we agreed that this durational performances needed rules, or a score that divided up the time and also provided structure. We also explored the ideas of affinity through shared ‘likes’ and how this could influence the creation of patterns when moving through the space.

The ‘score’ for the performance was as follows:

  • The performance will be 24 hours long.
  • Begin lying down. Get up when ready.
  • Walk around the space making ‘I like…’ statements.
  • If you agree with a statement, move closer to that person.
  • If you disagree with s statement, move further away from that person.
  • If you are indignant about a statement, stand still.
  • Reset by lying down again on the hour.

Afternoon Session

The afternoon session began with a quick ninja game warm up where you had to perform a ninja move on another person and they had to respond so as not to be touched. I was terrible at this game!

We then got to perform a shrunken version of the durational performance we had devised for an hour and a half. We adapted it to runf for a shorter time by resetting every half an hour. We adjusted the lighting and therefore the atmosphere of the room to see how this influenced the performance. Things we found interesting were:

  • How far you could push a lie and still get people to follow you – ‘I like fantasizing about kicking kids’
  • Clusters vs. being alone in the space

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With the knowledge that we were going to perform in the space that we were rehearsing in, we began to explore it by using the same rules as before. This time, however, we made ‘I like…’ statements about the space to acknowledge items that were already part of the room that could be of potential use to us for our performance. We extended this by splitting into two groups – one had to create a short performance that told a truth about the room, and the other had to tell a lie about the room. Myself an Lewis created a ‘Misguided Tour’, pretending the room was Houdini’s rehearsal space and workshop. We made up stories of how he would dry himself on the radiators, and died after one of the padlocks in the room malfunctioned during a water escape… Not forgetting his cryogenically frozen body in the cupboard and the obligatory gift shop reference. In contrast, Callan, Mia and John created a metaphorical balancing act exploring the difficulties and pitfalls of lies, truths and making work, using the physical attributes of the room such as the dividing line on the floor as a tight rope.

All in all we discovered lots in the session about the ways we are inspired by themes and strategies of working, the room itself, and our potential to make work

Worn out and satisfied from a hard day’s art-ing, we finished with a good old game of ‘HWAOH!’

Louise White, Performer, Emerging Perspectives Company

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