Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Twenty Sixth: The Limits of Performance

I am a member of the ACC Experimental Student Performance Lab. Usually when that phrase is uttered it is followed by the words basically the Drama Club. Thankfully I hadn't heard those words until after I had joined. At the time of the first meeting I didn't know what to expect and didn't have more than a mild interest in theatre, other than improv, I'd heard they were interested in that. That's why I showed up,I was an improviser and I like the experimental. I figured it was worth a shot.
Right away I was offered the opportunity to perform in a concert reading of a student written play. I did. It was good. It was very new. Still, when I thought of theatre I thought of cliched, boring blocking and atmosphere, shitty bright lighting, and rehearsed-til-not-unlike-the-living-dead painful performances. In short a waste of my time. However, its the Experimental Student Performance Lab. I had hope. I was encouraged to audition for a play. I did, and got in. I was greener than grass. It was hard. But it was experimental, and it was good.
Now, faced with a semester that will very probably be chalk full of free time, I look for new opportunities, and I've been plotting. At this point the concept I have of theatre still stands, as there haven't been many times its been contradicted. Also it seems pretty easy to slip into that swamp of shittiness - gotta be weary of this theatre thing. I want to take that little disclaimer that follows behind the ESPL and light it on fire. Completely fucking destroy that shit ...that is if the club's constitution will let me. I believe the club chose than name because drama club has been played out, not because they meant many of the words. No matter, it's filled with an awful lot of talented creative people that are interested in stretching the bounds of performance. Maybe.
I'm really fascinated with the idea of performance parties, like Warhol's factory used to hold and like that crazy scene in Midnight Cowboy. Parties where reality is turned on its head and the audience is thrown into the performance. They don't know what will happen to them next, and they aren't strapped to a seat so they can always have that slight impulse to run if need be. I want to have performances that invite strangers to join the troupe in playing and be accepted. With projectors and stuff crunching under your feet and shit hanging above your head and art grabbing your eyes and people laughing and strangers talking to you and the entire fucking thing challenging your perceptions to be sharp as tacks.
Wouldn't that be beautiful? Wouldn't that be an evening worth more than yet another rendition of something by Shakespeare?!

1 comment:

ryan said...

Yes, it would be beautiful.

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