Extremely restricted by their environment, the space.
In a pair - they have to respond directly to one another. They are mostly always in contact, physically or with eye contact.
Clear directions, forward, back, left, right, nothing in between.
Serious expressions throughout. They are past the laughter they may have experienced at the beginning of the process due to a rigorous rehearsal period. They don’t find it funny anymore!
Clear definition between sequences, often stopping to pause, placing hands together by either side.
Confined to a small area on floor. They always have to kind of dance around each other, always having to be aware of each other.
Straight arms, clear angles.
Clear and decisive role-play - they really want you to know whats going on. They view this as something essential, almost as if it is their duty.
Use of left and right religiously, there is not really an in between. These strictly allocated positions, example of implementing a structure that was not there before.
Use of levels - always clarified, organised and structured.
Role-play round 3
First group to initiate the use of a prop. Just one prop - the blanket. All groups so far have asked if they can use props but haven’t actually gone through with it.
Routine usually involves two people doing the same movement and a third person doing something completely different OR two people doing an interconnected movement and the third doing something different.
Each segments seems to flow into the next so that it would be difficult to decipher which movements were part of section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Group of 3 - but each role is integral to the articulation of the cards. No one acts as a ‘filler’, no one is stood around waiting for the others to be completed.
Using a prop but also using each other’s bodies as props.
At points, each doing the same thing but completing it as THEMSELVES.
Surprising that each routine flows into the next so well, despite the fact that they were constructed separately - maybe they had these transitions in mind.
Things I need to think about after these experiments
Firstly, I need to think about the implementation of more rules. Would this be more restrictive? Or would it give the participants more room to explore/display their creativity? I need to find out, by working with multiple groups, whether more rules equals further exploration or whether it stunts this exploration.
My prediction is that the participants I work with will think that the new rules are restrictive. Any extra rules will be viewed as just another thing they have to consider and think about throughout. The rules initially may appear specific - but really they are unlimited, completely open-ended.
The continuation of these exercises with various groups confirms for me the importance of repeating the activities with different people. It is through this repetition that I am able to record patterns in behaviour, patterns in the ways that people build structures that enable their performances. Building up a collection like these is important for me whilst making explicit comparisons but I think more important in allowing me to see where the actions of the groups correlate as they put creative mechanisms in place to ensure that they can produce material and function smoothly whilst performing as a group.
I have found that throughout the activities there has been a consistent emphasis on co-operation and supporting each other. There have been no solo performances within the group performances, no performances have been centred around a single individual. This has been the case in groups of both twos and threes. Perhaps this wouldn’t be the case in much larger groups, as it may become more difficult to include everyone in a single, all-encompassing movements.
The spaces don’t really matter to me but they still need to be considered - especially the way that they are shot. If I’m not going to be too strict about the actual locations, then I need to be strict about their presentation, valuing symmetry and balanced composition. These factors are all essential in the creation of a neutral environment - anything within the environment which distracts, trigger a conversation about anything other than the actual content, in my opinion prevents this neutral environment from being achieved.
I need to consider and plan the possibility of working with a large group, ten plus people : this is the next obvious step, along with workshopping this in a public space with people I do not know. I am thinking about the ways by which increasing the number of participants would affect the dynamic of the whole thing. I predict that there would be have to more unison, more simplification so that all movement could be easily monitored. There would have to be a much more complex organisation of individuals within the plots, the routines would also probably have to involve much more layered and lengthy plots so that they could involve more people, more characters. And there would almost definitely have to be a stronger sense of leadership so that the rehearsal and performance wouldn’t be too chaotic - perhaps there would have to be more than one leader, perhaps there would have to be a distinct allocation of roles.
When introducing individuals to the activity, I have found that they are initially apprehensive - either because they do not totally understand whats the activity is, what I am envisioning, or that they can’t really seem to grasp the point of it. I always really enjoy the moment at which they begin to embrace it, as they realise that the outcome does not actually matter at all, it does not matter what I am envisioning as a director, it is their project not mine. The outcome is inconsequential for them (its only consequential for me) and because of this, they can lose themselves in the creation and construction without fears of doing the wrong thing. I hope that this same attitude is present when I bring the activity into a public space.