During the early days of the rehearsal process of the performance, we knew as a group it was vital to come up with the location for our performance. We decided to explore the element of having a split performance, therefore half the audience within a house, and the other within the Collection in Lincoln. We decided on the Collection as it was a big area with a good performance space area, especially within the gallery as we could use it as an exhibition location. We then looked into having a contrast by having half the performance take place within a group member house. After discussions, we decided that we were going to split the group the audience but connect through skype so audience could speak to one another to solve a problem/game. After reflecting this idea, we felt it may be a risk to split the audience as people may want to be watching from the other location. We also felt this would make our performance very reliant on the internet which we would need to have a very clear resolution if the internet failed on us. Altogether we felt that we would be able to research a better location with more to explore within the building.
Final Location- Tokyo Lincoln
After mind-mapping the different location that we could hold a performance, a group decision came to a set location of TOKYO night club in Lincoln. Tokyo is situated on 18 Silver Street, which we felt was a location which would be able viable for our audience members as it was a simple location within the middle of town. As all of our group members were recognisable with Tokyo, we discussed the layout and options for the building. As this was a 116 year old mansion building, it showed significant signs of an old mystery aspect which our production needed. One of the main aspects of the building which influenced our group the most was the amount of rooms and performance spaces which the building held. We felt this would be perfect for our performance as the rooms consisted of petite behind the scenes location to a massive elegant ballroom with entrance of a wind sweeping stair case. We knew that we would be able to reference different multi-media aspects within different locations of Tokyo, therefore the whole building was relevant for our performance. We felt as a group deciding the location of our performance at an early stage in the rehearsal process would help to experiment and explore the area to its full capacity.
By Christy Asplin.
Above is a very (VERY) basic rendering of the floor plan of the first floor of the ‘Tokyo’ club in which we are taking a keen interest. The first plan is the layout of the rooms with reference to the floor, whereas the second plan is an example of how we wish to utilize them.
To help with describing the plan I have numbered the rooms so that they can be better understood and explained:-
- This is the mixed-sex communal toilet in which we wish to stage the ‘Frape’, it has visibility from the stairwell (9) it would be a nice aesthetic piece as it has action in an less obvious environment and as its one of the first piece of performing the audience would see it would set the tone for the rest of the piece and captivate the audiences attention.
- This is the VIP room of the club and is one of the only places were there is the luxury of a seating area. The room is divided into 4 seating sections. The two ideas for the utilization of the room are; 1 – having the room used as an artistic gallery with projections of social and/or political events that have been heavily influenced by social media and social platforms and, 2 – having the different seating areas separated and delegated to the different and separate social platforms (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Bebo) with different characteristics and traits to accompany them.
- The room referred internally as, room 2, has been decided to represent Twitter. Ways in which we would convey this is by having the room playing the constant sounds of ‘Tweets’ alongside various and countless real and genuine tweet updates for people from our own twitter. The DJ of the room will be the japanese cyberpunk inspired hybrid of man and machine.
- Smoking area. Yet to be assigned/if assigned at all.
- Gents toilets. Yet to be assigned/if assigned at all.
- This is the Main Room. This is the biggest of the rooms and is were we are having the majority of our more significant and relevant action. The projections either side of the DJ box will be either the real-time status news-feed of our fictional person or a live-feed from another camera positioned somewhere relevant in Lincoln. The idea of the music was by having the audience choose what plays through the social file sharing site ‘Spotify’, so that the audience dictate the mood and atmosphere. The crescendo of the piece as well will be performed in the main room under the watchful eye of the administrator/ringmaster.
- Spiral period staircase
By Jamie Downes.
Site-Specific and Audience Problems
The piece we are attempting is going to be unlike the hoard of studio based work that members of our own group (including myself), and other members of the Drama course, have devised and partook within the three years at University, namely for two reasons.
The first being, that it is a ‘Site-Specific performance’. Site-Specific performances refer to theatre that, “allows the performers’ ideas and bodies to interact with the place. Sites have peculiar physical features to interact with: a big, open space tells different stories to a small space with many hidden corners.” (Acty Tang, 2012). This quote, whilst attempting to clarify his own performance ‘Meet Mr. STRANGE’ (2011) at the National Arts Festival inSouth Africa, exemplifies the reasoning for having our performance site-specific. With the performance within the confines ofTokyo (the nightclub withinLincoln) it has relevance to the youth culture theme, whilst, also being a strong assertion of the social context we wish to convey. By having the performance withinTokyo, also, it meant we could devise a performance specifically for the site (Site……Specific). This meant that with the increased amount of space and the variety of the rooms’ structure and layouts, we could attempt to devise a piece that would not only utilize the space but would maintain the audience’s interest.
This brings me to my second reason, the gallery-like (tour-like) structure. Whilst giving the piece a narrative (common to that of many traditional performances), the way in which the narrative is unraveled and given to the audience, I feel, is dynamic with regard to tradition. The audience will be taken from room to room, and in doing so, eventually being spoon-fed more and more information with regard to the plot. Whether or not the entirety of audience will fully understand the narrative by the end of the performance is questionable, for the reason, as mentioned earlier, the prevalent themes within the piece are that of youth and current popular culture. But the audience, all, are given the same narrative and, depending on how much they fully understood of what was conveyed, derive their own meanings. It is the audience’s involvement, however slight and unaffecting to the plot, that I feel can perhaps pose the biggest problem.
Whether or not the audience fully understands what is happening within the performance, or even during contemplation, is irrelevant; as most of the technological jargon and processes, that are now commonplace, are misunderstood – if at all. The problem I feel is the ‘follow me aspect’ of the piece. Problems that could arise from this piece include costume change issues, the hassle of moving from room to room and the confusion when leaving when room and entering the next room mid-dialogue or action. It is these problems that we are addressing and paying express attention to when devising.
Elena Cologni’s ‘Mnemonic Present, Unfolding #7’ (2006) employs various devices we hope to use with in our performance such as the live performance aspect and addressing individual people within the audience, alongside the use of video recordings and CCTV representation via projections and television monitors. The difference however, is that within Mnemonic Present, Unfolding #7 the audience are themselves the performance, and it is their self-awareness and consciousness and the reactions of themselves watching themselves that makes the piece. Whereas with ours, they are aids to the performance – to be an addition aesthetically, and a representation of the technological age of which we are in.
A problem with directly acknowledging and addressing the audience, as Peter Lewis discusses within the British Journal of Aesthetics, is that ‘by changing our relation to the characters, renders them
seemingly fictitious’ and that by ‘achieving a distanced state is what enables us to accept the existence of the characters during the course of the play even though we know they do not really exist.’ (Peter Lewis: 1985, Page 276). To summarise this quote; by maintaining the divide between audience and performer it maintains the illusion of ‘the characters’, but, by having the characters interacting with the audience it could reassert the recognition that the audience are in fact watching a performance.
This is why I think the need to treat it like a gallery is necessary, as it would assert the experience that the audience are guests in our domain. And that any notion of characters are dismissed as this is a new environment (outside of the University campus) and in doing so separate individuals, much like the attitude, and common turn-of-phrase, of people being ‘different’ outside of the workplace. By showing/taking the audience around the venue it asserts the impression that the characters are comfortable in the location and that there is a sense of familiarity, like one would find with a host when being shown round their home.
P. Lewis (1985). British Journal of Aesthetics.OxfordUniversity Press;Oxford
A. Tang (2012) A physical theatre body search; National Arts Festival. [Online] Available from: http://people.ru.ac.za/sdct/site.html (Accessed 2nd May)
Cologni, E (2006) Mnemonic Present, Un-folding #7; Elena Cologni. [Online] Available from: http://www.elenacologni.com/memory/ (Accessed 2nd May)
Jamie Alexander Downes
Submitted on 2012/05/10 at 9:48 pm
Thank you, Alena, for showing an interest and im sure we all will make an effort to see your new project (in anyway we can). You are more than welcome to see ours also (however amatuer when compared), a ticket will be reserved :-p.
Submitted on 2012/05/03 at 11:13 am
thank you for your reference, and congratulation on the blog, there is a Book publication if interested as well Cologni, E, ed, Mnemonic Present, Shifting Meaning, Mercurio Edizioni, Vercelli, 2009 (with texts from Jones, Auslander, Lissoni, Andrighetto…) and my new project which also addresses issues of space/memory/time is athttp://www.rockfluid.com
By Jamie Downes.