alt + F4 for normal screen

page 226

print this page


1.      The Audience in Performance The presentation of the work to an audience was something of a gamble. We always felt that the work would present difficulties for an audience though we would have strongly resisted the idea that it was purely an internalized activity for the benefit of the participants. The Sense of Being in the Audience First impressions to the audience were often that things were in chaos.  It would take a while, for what was going on, to become intelligible. Performances were so arranged that the audience would come in after the beginning and leave before the end. The choice to come and go at any time in between was also left free.  The impression, therefore, was intended to be of something that might have had infinite duration and was in continuous transformation.   One looked at one part of the event, looked away at another, and then looked back to find the first had changed meanwhile.  The rather slow and organic tempo (as someone remarked, like the tempo of breathing) added to this impression of something continuously, but gently, on the change, which one could sample or select from at ease, without needing to take in everything that happened. …We noticed that a key stage in our development was when we could catch each other’s eye, even laugh, without breaking concentration, as if the imaginative world could survive contact with the everyday world of actual relationships.  Once this possibility existed, the presence of an audience became much more possible and the feeling of being comfortable as an audience, probably stemmed from that crucial transition.   Perhaps communication with the audience is often best achieved, not by addressing that audience, but by a real, felt involvement of the performer in the action taking place. The Sense of Having an Audience During the six weeks of working time there was no particular idea that something was being prepared or rehearsed.  There were simply working sessions in which people explored and from time to time developed new capacities or horizons.  There was no feeling that the “real” event would occur in performance and therefore our work sessions were mere preparation.  It was always on the cards that there might be a public event but this was only decided definitely at a fairly late stage. The positioning of the audience often gave one a sense that there was a “back and front” to the work.  One suddenly became aware of moving behind someone, or something. Also the direction of gaze of the audience sometimes gave a sense of a center of action.  On spectator mentioned that, conversely, the gaze of several performers often focussed on particular events and gave them implied status.  Certainly one was very conscious at times of being either watched or not watched, and of both having an impact on the feel of what one was doing.