When the participants of our site specific performance join us on our ‘voyage’ they will be undertaking in a part of history themselves. They will experience that the things we do today, in the here and now, reflect towards the future and resonate in the past. Our ‘journey’ along with theirs, will consist of theories about ‘Life=Art’ (Berghaus, 2010, 128). This being that everything we do in life can be constrained down to a single art from, for example, breathing can be seen to be an art as it is so delicate and is ‘performed’ differently be each and every one of us, however together, we all par-take in it. Thus showing that life can be seen as one live performance, for Shakespeare does say
‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players, they have their exits and their entrances’ (Shakespeare,2008). Therefore, who are we to say life cannot be a performance, even when we enter and exit? Gunter Berghaus speaks of a ‘reconstructed universe’ (Berghaus, 2010, 128) the idea of a ‘reconstructed universe’ (ibid, 128). We hope to portray this idea to our participants, as our tour features historical content but it allows each audience member to question what happens and will happen in life. we show them that life is a simple building block that is constantly being removed, re-sculptured, re-imagined and then replaced. Each generation creating a newer reality in which we refocus our ideas for our time and the times to come. Audiences members will become the generational builders for moments when we, as a group will give them insight into what happens after we are gone and what will continue to happen in order to build a ‘stronger’ society.
Berghaus, G. (2010) Theatre, Performance and the Historical Avant- Garde. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
When four of us met on Friday we decided to focus on our repetitive actions which will be performed while the audience is on their audio tour. As I stated in my previous blog post, we wanted some of our performers to blend into the space and not necessarily stand out to the audience members.
Each of us has a given space within the Arboretum where we will have some contact with the audience as they observe or walk past us.
Lee: Plays the essence of a character Henry Hebb who helped design the original cold bath house. Therefore for one of his repetitive actions Lee will be walking around the arboretum looking around the space, then seating himself in different areas in order to draw the cold bath house.
Hayley: Will be a runner who is leisurely jogging around the park at her own pace, who is not concerned with time as she runs. We chose to have Hayley take her time in order to contrast others within the space to show how not everyone is worried about how long everything takes. This links in with one of the monologues which will be spoken while the audience can see the Arboretum as a whole.
Sara: Similarly to Hayley I will also be running but at a faster pace and be constantly checking my watch. Hayley and I will be running the same circuit but at different times and with a different approach. With our constant focus on time and the way some people decide to live their lives ruled by time, we hoped to show this direct contrast by having both Hayley and I doing the same activity with different outcomes and outlooks on the activity itself.
Sarah: Plays the character of a Gardener who has tended to the park for a number of years and was there when the cold bath house still stood. With Sarah’s space being the maze she will be tending to the hedges which make up the maze as her action.
By using these performative actions we hope to reflect how everyone performs daily and by having our group running like clockwork on a constant repetitive cycle, we hope to reflect how time is always an underlying constraint.
One element of our performance involves being able to blend into the space yet still be noticeable to the audience members. Due to the nature of our site there may be numerous people in the park and this will change all day, therefore we have to be considerate of others when planning our repetitive actions and the way in which we will move around the space. We have tried to think about the types of people that will be in the space and the way in which they will choose to move around the park. A couple of ideas that we have had look at runners and dog walkers as we have seen them the most while spending time in the park. Runners, move around the park to try and complete their action within a time limit and we have considered including a runner as they have a set path and time in which to get from point A to B. Comparatively Dog walkers meander round the space and take their time, the only aspect they have to think about is their dog and themselves.
With our heavy focus on timing we have tried to consider movements and actions which would cause us as actors to cross the paths of the audience member without them necessarily acknowledging us as anything other than members of the public. Over time we have tried to visit the park at different times of day to see how the space changes and the people in it change. Moreover when going to the park on the previous Saturday, the weather was nice which attracted many more people to the park and the way in which the sunlight hit the Arboretum made it seem much more picturesque.
Punchdrunk’s 2013 performance The Borough in Aldeburgh is an audio led tour around the seaside town. Their piece like ours is based upon a piece of fiction, theirs a poem by George Crabbe, ours a book extract from The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom. This use of fiction creates a more mystical element, a piece of fiction around the everyday life. This parallel between fact and fiction is a common theme – intriguing multiple people including our group.
The Guardians review of The Borough states “Punchdrunk encourage you to look seawards, finding a place where the sky and sea, past and future, fact and fiction collide.” (Gardner, 2013) this idea of standing in a spot overlooking something and being asked to think is reminiscent of a point in our piece where we encourage our audience members to overlook and think about the affect of time. Punchdrunk’s piece has helped us develop our piece with it’s audio led piece, directing the audience through Aldeburgh as we are guiding our audience members through the Arboretum
Gardner L. (2013) The Borough – Review.The Guardian, 11 June. [Available from: www.theguardian.com/stage/2013/jun/11/borough-review]
Our whole piece is about time, more specifically how it changes, how our lives revolve around it and how it changes as we do. Throughout our walk through the Arboretum we ask the audience to not only view time differently but really think about what it means to us, how the thought of a life without time is completely unimaginable. My part of the performance revolves around how time changes as we age, as children we do not think about it, our days are as a whole endless hours of fun that we either do not know how or just do not find the need to keep track of those hours, it is only when we get older that time and the concept of running out of time comes into play and slowly takes over our lives. The idea that time moves fast when you are having fun but a minute feels like a hour when you are waiting is something that everybody over a certain age understands, but when is that age? At what point do we start caring?
During our walk through rehearsal trying to manage all the timings we came about some issues that might come up in the real performance, the main one being members of the public and specifically to me children playing in the play area where I’m supposed to sit. However due to the nature of my part it works with me being alone in the play area or surrounded by playing children provided that I do not look as though I’m joining in or enjoying myself.