Actor, Puppeteer, and Teaching Artist


Planet Rocker Show Stopper (Control of Performance)

We get trained to do what we do in very specific ways. It is VERY difficult to change the ways we do it when the future arrives, or even conceive of how it needs to be done.

I grew up and was trained in proscenium theatre spaces. As I got older, my usual haunts were all black box thrusts and shared spaces. But they were still formal storytelling spaces if less opulent and less formal than the sorts of traditional theatre spaces I considered Real Theatre. I am more than capable of sliding up and down that continuum pretty fluidly. I like to think that the tools I’ve developed work well in lots of forms and forums.

But all of them are in formally designated settings. Even if there aren’t velveteen folding seats and a grand drape, it is understood that we are in a sit silently and watch situation and if that is to change I (the storytelling unit) make the rules of engagement.

Large Proscenium Stage

If the spaces we’re in become less controlled, more democratic, then we need to modify what the experience is in order to accommodate that. If you don’t have the social contract or the formal tools to control your audience you need to build the creation of that contract into the show experience or you need to create tools as part of the created shared space to do that job for you. You also need to build in means for the performers to exercise control beyond the scope of the script to maintain the shape of the experience and possibly safety for themselves and the audience.

I am terrible at thinking about performance this way.

I was playing around with a new platform, kicking the tires on how to best use it for storytelling or readings or what-have-you. But entrance and exit to the space is free flowing. They can text chat to the room while it’s happening. If you don’t acknowledge the folks in the audience within a certain time frame in some way they will fall out of the event.

ALL of it made it very hard for me to stay together as a reader. Because I was trying to maintain the old sort of telling, rather than incorporating the platform into the shape of the event.

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