a performance dialogue

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Notes on Dramaturgy

Each performance inaugurates a language of its own. But what is the 'language' waiting to be born with The 19th Step? Reading through our blog to date there are a multicplicty of deas, images and themes. Given we have a relatively brief time together to develop these research materials into a preliminary performance I would like to propose a dramaturgical shaping as a preliminary way to think about the overall gestalt of the work. Dramaturgy can be considered as a writing of the 'text' of the performance, its sequentiality of images and content. Dramaturgy is also about the creation of atmospheres and the overall rhythm of the performance; in particular, how one figure or performance state reverberates against another. I am thinking of the three stories which have mostly informed the history the project as a way to shape the dramaturgy.These are 'The Circular Ruin', 'The Library of Babel' and 'The Aleph'. Each story carries its own image of the universe and of dreams and reality but each, to my mind, shapes a vision of how we could potentially organise the array of materials we are exploring. The Circular Ruin explore the formless, chaotic state of dreams, of bare life and the pulse of nature: "he dreamt of a beating heart, in the dreamer's dream, the dreamed one awoke". I see this atmosphere as the opening state of the performance. This is the primordial state of the performance, a state which recognises rhytym as a foundation of biology. The second state or scene is the one where we 'build' the idea of a culture, through exploring the relationship of words to bodies, of bodies to instruments of sound/music/voice and language, of a library around us through the use of the books, of vocabularies of movement and music, and of construction of walls and floor (the architecture for the body takes shape and is shaped by the language of performance its vocabularies becoming more complex). The final state or scene relates to the atmosphere of the Aleph and is a precipitous dizzying, hallucinatory state of overwhelming complexity in its simultaneity of times and spaces. This is the atmosphere of the dizzying dance of tango or other dance style which takes hold of one's reason and powers of knowledge and twists this into new configurations through multiple processes. The three performance states relate to three different spaces: an exterior ancient ruin; a densely configured hexagonal library; an architectural fragment in the form of a staircase. Each of these architectures suggests a different atmosphere and relationship to time and space for the performers, as well as performance language. Can we 'map' a different 'mathematics' for each space, spatialisating the configurations of performers through this and creating a dramaturgy of place, of where you are in each moment of the performance?

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