Background

Brisbane

Lead Artists: James Cunningham and Suzon Fuks

‘Initially I thought to provide participants proposals that would allow them:

  • Playful and meaningful interaction with others, the space and objects
  • Improvised performance using movement, stillness, sound and silence
  • Positive reflection as performer and audience in order to develop personal taste and style
  • Opportunity to introduce oneself through a brief description of one’s most recent performance
  • Opportunity to perform solo, and concurrently with others
  • Ways to explore ‘presence’ through body-based awareness
  • And tips in overcoming nervousness.

Each participant was asked to bring a small object of significance for them.’

– James Cunningham

Workshop Plan

Intensions

Much of the ideas and exercises are inspired by Al Wunder’s ‘Theatre of the Ordinary’, a methodology for developing skills in improvised performance, and from my own artistic practice in performance art, physical performative interaction with objects and architectural (built) spaces.

The workshop plan follows for the Saturday and Sunday. The dotted line signifies where I thought the lunch break might occur. Numbers in brackets is the minutes I thought would be allocated each exercise, with the total minutes at the bottom of each day plan.

The only significant change to the plan as the workshop played out was the exclusion on Sunday of exercise 3. ‘Initiator/responder role play in pairs: Yes yes, yes but, yes and, and no way.’ Dropping this was only a time management strategy as I felt that the afternoon exploration of large objects would benefit from having more time.

Improvising with new partners always requires sensitivity and listening. I was impressed with the awareness in which the two deaf or hard-of-hearing participants approached interactions with others. Having one sense diminished means other senses are strengthened, but there was also a strong sense of presence and calm very conducive to performance, and the ‘watchability’ factor of these performers.

Introductions

  1. Opening and closing the space (15)
    1. Within body
    2. Between self and others
    3. Between self and space

  2. In place, still and locomoting (15)
    1. Alone
    2. Initiator/responder: Initiator with eyes closed and in place, free responder
    3. Change roles

  3. One still at all times (15)
    1. altogether
    2. half doing, half watching
    3. Change roles

  4. Non-stop talking (10)
    1. in pairs
    2. Change roles

  5. Groundings (10)
    1. Breath, micro movements, contact, weight, listening, looking directly
    2. Holding awareness of internal and external (Breath and Sounds)

  6. Free improvisation (30)
    1. solos
    2. positive feedback: performers
    3. Outside feedback

Creative Task

  1. In circle, each person speaks and/or shows (40)
    1. a brief description of their most recent performance
    2. explain significance of personal objects and place in centre of
      circle


  2. Each choose an object not yours and find a few different ways of
    using/interacting with it. (15)


  3. One by one show the interactions (20)

Total: 170 (2 hrs 50)

Sunday

  1. Primary movers (15)
    1. Extremities
    2. Spine
    3. Head

  2. Lines, dots and clumps (5)

  3. Initiator/responder role play in pairs (10)
    1. Yes yes, yes but, yes and, and no way
    2. Change roles

  4. Groundings (10)
    1. Breath, micro movements, contact, weight, listening, looking directly
    2. Holding awareness of internal and external (Shape and space)

  5. Free improvisation (20)
    1. Simultaneous soloing
    2. positive feedback: performers
    3. Outside feedback

  6. Belly breathing (5)

  7. Free improvisation (20)
    1. Duets
    2. positive feedback: performers
    3. Outside feedback

Creative Task

  1. Interactions with large objects (20)
    1. pvc pipes
    2. rods

  2. Free improvisation (20-30)
    1. with rods and pipes in space, entering and exiting whenever you choose

Conclusion

Description of things that worked for you and how you were enabled. Each person speaks (15)

Total: 130-140 (2hrs 10-20)