THIS DANCE, THIS ACT THAT FILLS THE SPACE

Reflections on the final stage of the process and the performance.

THE OBJECTS

We brought in various objects from our process (lens, letters, slides, typewriter) and explored how they could become live through performance. For instance, a typewriter as a medium of writing can transcend its usage through performance; its aesthetic dimension becomes part of the scenography, its mechanism becomes an instrument of sound as well as instigating the task-based movement of the performer. This unlocked a variety of images and sounds that were authentic even within the artifice of theatre.


As a collaborative, we had created a dance sequence inspired by Pina Bausch's Four Seasons - a gestural movement which could be repeated, reversed and deconstructed. Although the gestures we created were based on a letter we received in the process, it was difficult to justify its presence/purpose at first. As a way of grounding the movement, I suggested we perform it with a letter in hand (as this is where the movement originated from). This manifested in me holding the letter in my hand as I orbit it, consuming the memory by scrunching it against my chest. Discarding it, only to pick it up again, smooth it out and repeat the sequence. The involvement of the letter made the movement more 'real', and revealed new potential interpretations of the movement.


DURATION

From the beginning of the process, we were interested in the possibility of the show having already happened, with remnants of it historicized by being presented as a museum exhibition. As our process evolved, we became more interested in the show being a loop, forged to escape the decaying effects of entropy, and the paradox of repetition deteriorating the material regardless. Although because of time restraints we weren't able to perform this as a durational piece, we replicated the effect of it by performing the end of the show whilst the audience was outside, and returning to our starting positions (slumped against the walls) at the end. There is no absence or disappearance; we are all present before and after the ‘show’, there is no end or applause. We wanted to create the sense that we're been performing this piece forever, but how do we achieve that without risking appearing bored and still make it enjoyable to watch? We decided that although we've been performing this piece on repeat for a long time, we'd never performed it to an audience, and to pretend that it was opening night for a show we have over-rehearsed for months. However, in our fiction, we've performed it numerous times with and without an audience. We decided perhaps we hadn't had a full audience in a while, and the presence of one is what 'activates' us - making us perform it with energy, fueled by the desire to transfer that energy to the spectator.


ENTROPY

Early on in our process, I suggested the law of entropy as a possible lens for the work, as the scientific cause and effect of time passing. I recorded myself speaking with my partner about entropy and was intrigued by his comment that ‘entropy is the number of ways you can rearrange a system’ and how the simpler a configuration is, the less noticeable the difference between a forwards or backwards recording. This probed us to look more closely at the relationship between entropy and the act of recording and rewinding. The desire to ‘play backwards’ was embodied in Trevor’s action of going to the overhead projector, and manually reversing the cassette tape which had recorded the performance. This moment was layered by Dana, Alex, Linda and myself performing the verbatim transcript of the chat. This was an interesting example of how the archive became live in our performance.