[D-G] theater performance practitioners?

Julia Barclay julia at flyingoutofsequence.org
Wed Oct 19 03:56:36 PDT 2005

OK, so I'll try now to answer your questions...

> (1) What do you mean by "static nature of language, gesture, character, 
> etc"?
>    Can you give some examples of how your pieces accomplish the uprooting 
> you
>    mention above?

By "Static nature" I mean fixed...as in I say a word, such as 'car' and by 
that you will assume I mean a literal car, that one drives around in...a 
stereotypical gesture, such as crossing myself, may imply I am a Catholic 
entering a church ...and say I start refering to someone named Mike who you 
may assume by the way I have made that reference is a 'real' person or a 
stable character on stage...just to give a few examples...
How to uproot these?  Well, a number of techniques I have used include: 
shifting levels of address (meaning to whom statements or gestures are 
addressed) which also can shift levels of meaning, so the words and gestures 
can take on new possible meanings...also cutting them up into each other, so 
by putting certain words with other words, their meaning shifts, as does 
putting different gestures with different words...You can check out an 
article I wrote for Body Space and Technology journal (a Brunel Univ on-line 
journal) called "How I Work" for more details on the techniques and an 
article by Cathy Turner about my work entitled "Cutting It Up" in a 
Performance Research journal March 2002 issue entitled 'On Editing'...which 
also includes samples of the texts I have written...

> (2) What is the postulated psychological mechanism whereby such an 
> uprooting
>    of the static nature of language, gesture, character, etc., would bring
>    about a process of "becoming" in the players/writers/etc?  Are there 
> any
>    empirical data to support that contention?  And what kind of a becoming
>    is being hoped for or accomplished - does it matter?

I don't think in terms of psychological mechanisms, so can't answer the 
question in those terms...the process of becoming however I define as that 
place when a word, gesture, person, the room itself is shifting from one 
'place' to another...or one 'fixed state' to another if you will... there 
are these liminal places that occur...especially when people are addressing 
what I call the 'grid', meaning the rules of the room itself...the words, 
the gestures, the performer's identity, even the perceived dimensions of the 
room can shift...I don't know what you mean by emprical evidence, but I do 
have audience feedback, my own and others' experience of these things 
happening, responding with both oral,  written and visual feedback...I am 
compiling all this for my PhD and when that's done (in a couple years) and 
if you're still interested, I'll send it to you.  Even better, if you're in 
London, stop by and watch the lab itself or one of our shows in the Spring 
of 2006, when we work with techniques using one of my texts "The Jesus Guy" 
(written, as you will see, without line assignments or characters per se, 
but instead unstable voices, cut-ups, dialogues, rants, raves and 
dreams...to be put together each night by the performers using tools for the 
lab but improvised...)

> (3) Who is your intended audience?  I assume they are not, for example,
>    militant neofascists, Christian fundamentalists, career military,
>    or Big Bang fanatics.

I'm happy for anyone to be in the audience...I'm reaching out for our new 
piece, The Jesus Guy, especially to lots of inter-faith groups as I'm 
interested, deeply in our desire to name Nameless experience and our 
seemingly endless thirst, whether owned or not, to have Someone in 
charge...also the conflicts between sacred and secular spaces...I reach out 
as wide as possible, as I don't think this work is inaccessible...it's 
challenging but not meant for 3 'in the know' people...
> (4) What is the postulated psychological mechanism whereby watching a
>    theatrical piece that accomplishes the uprooting you mention above
>    would bring about a process of "becoming" in the audience?  To bring 
> about
>    a "becoming" in the audience, is it necessary to first accomplish a
>    "becoming" in the performers/writers/etc, or are these independent
>    processes?
Again I don't work with 'psychological mechanisms', but as mentioned above 
working with the players, if those moments of shift are happening for the 
performers, usually it's happening for the audience too, since the audience 
is addressed and deeply implicated in this work...we are all striving to be 
'witnesses' to the work, not simply asking the audience to do that, but also 
demanding that of ourselves...I, for example, as 'director' attempt to move 
out of the 'teacher' role into the 'witness' role more, etc... but these 
roles are ever-shifting...

Also, the base material we use, either with my texts or found text or what 
we bring in as part of our experience, with words or gestures, taps into 
both the microcosmic world of our own use of language and deeply felt 
gestures, etc...and then into over-heard language, cliches and other 
people's idiosyncratic gestures, etc...in other words a palate which makes 
the connections, I hear when I read D&G, not to 'mommy-daddy-me' but instead 
lines of flight, desiring machines connecting to other desiring machines, 
etc...and also to our own personal fascisms which come up while doing this 
work...finding our own fundamentalisms, etc.  My assumption is we all have 
them whether they are religious or secular...

OK, so there's the beginning of some answers.  Hope it clarifies.

Best, Julia

> -m
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