[Realism Now!]  [Perf Art MAIN page]

Performance Frank (as art/perf object)

See also: [(art) concepts] [Art Movements] [Coerced performance] -[post post-modernism]- [Dada] [Dadaism] (an art "ism") [Fluxus] [Street Art] [T.A.Z.] (Association for Ontological Anarchy) (Hakim Bey, chief janitor) [Frank's stuff] [Performance frank: Realism Now!] [Performed Art] [The Performed Art Act] [The Performed Danse] [The Performed Performance] [The Performed Score] [The Performed Text] [Perf art: Technology] [The Performed UFO's] (and esp, etc) [The Performed WEB (including programming)] [Sampler: Art X Science] (another crummy play by the non-artist)

Performance: Frank (as art/perf object)

On this page: {Types} {Ritual} {ShamanismThe Usual Suspects} {Techniques} {Jerzy Grotowski's notes on Theatre Lab} {Augusto Boal "Theatre of the Oppressed" {Inter-cultural Performance} (Patrice Pavis) {Robert Wilson i/v} {Sinulog} (Phlipine body pulses)

The Usual Suspects

Jacques Derrida


References. "Ritual, Play, and Performance - Readings in the Social Sciences/Theatre", Ed. by Richard Schechner and Mady Schuman, LCCN PN 2049.R5, ISBN 0.8164.9285.9 (Seabury Press, New York, 1976) Konrad Lorenz, P. 5, et alt seq. [Translated by Marjorie Kenwilson] "Shortly before the First World War, when my teacher and friend Sir Julian Huxley, was engaged in his pioneer studies on the courtship behavior of the Great Crested Grebe, he discovered the remarkable fact that certain movement patterns lose, in the course of phylogeny, their original specific function and become purely "symbolic" ceremonies. He called this process [emph mine] RITUALISATION and use this term without quotation marks; in other words, he equated cultural processes leading to the development of human writes with the phylogenetic processes give rise to succh remarkable "ceremonies" in animals. " ... [P. 25] "[Lorentz' pet Greylag Goose, had a normal habit of how it came in the room in the evening, but, one ] evening I forgot to let Martina [the goose] in at the right time, and when I finally remembered her, it was already dusk. I ran to the front door, and as I opened it she thrust herself hurriedly and anxiously through, ran between my legs into the hall and, contraary to her usual custom, in front of me to the stairs. Then she did something even more unusual: she deviated from her habitual path and chose the shortest way, skpinning her usual right-angle turn and mounting the stairs on the right-hand side, "cutting" the turn on the stairs and starting to climb up. Upon this, something shattering happened: arrfived at the fifth step, she suddenly stopped, made a long neck, in gees a sign of fear, and spread her wings as for flight. Then she uttered a warning cry and very nearly took off. Now she hesitated a moment, turned around, ran hurriedly down the five steps and set forth resolutely, like someone on a very important mission, on her original path to the window and back. [ie, her *routine* path: in the door to the window, and then back to the stairs and up them] This time shw mounted the steps according to her former custom on the LEFT side. On the fifth step she stopped again, looked around, shook herself and greeted -- behaviour mechanisms regularly seen in greylag geese when anxious tenxion has given place to relief. I hardly believed my eyes. To me there is no doubht about the interpretatio of this occurrence: The habit had be-come [P.26] a custom which the goose could not break without being stricken by fear."


[Introductory note from Op. Cit. by Richard Schechner and Mady Schuman, P.123 (note: This is an excellent source and i will expand when time permits) ... The paradox of acting is that in watching a Joan MacIntosh play Mother Courage by Brecht, one does not see MacIntosh less, but more, even as you see into Mother Courage herslef. Shamanism is the oldest technique of theatrical performing. Primary shamanism originated in paleolithic times in central Asia (and perhaps in southwest Europe) [Note 1] ... (more rubbish skipped about the proposed authorotative history of shamanism; i *am* a liberal you know) ... Shamanism is found ... -- everywhere. Probably it arose independently in several places. THe techniques of Shamanism are singing, dancing, chanting, costuming, sotry telling. THe shaman goes on a journey, or is transformed into other beings. In any case, multiple realites are super-imposed, much as in the decorated caves of Europe, Africa, and Australia painings are super-imposed upon each other. Like the actor in Western tradition, the shaman is both himself and others at the same time. The audience is engagted at a very deep level; participation is a necessary conditin for the shaman's feats. For the


(this section only) [1] What utter bildge! Oh, yes you see a few of us were sitting around the campfire (i think it was a Thursday) and suddenly Grampa Dweezle got up and started dancing around and moanin. We all thought it was some sort of religious experience. Turns out, some ants bit him on the bumm! Obviously, if animals display ritual and dominance and all of the things, it means that Lucy (and her children) had ritual and most probably shamanims when they decided to move to more moderate climes. (Dont' get me started about cultural provincialism! {Back to the TEXT}


In this section: {
Jerzy Grotowski's notes on Theatre Lab}

Jerzy Grotowski's notes on Theatre Lab

[i/v format from Op. Cit. by Richard Schechner and Mady Schuman, Pp.128&ff] [this section translated by Jörgen Andersen and Judy Barba] "The Theatre's New Testament" The very name "Theatre Laboratory" makes one thing of scientific research.Is this an appropraite association? The word research should not bring to mind scientific research. Nothing could be further from what we are doing that science in the strict sense, and not ony because of our lack of qualifications, but also because off our lack of interest in that kind of work. The word research implies that we approach our profession rather like a mediaeval wood carver who sought to re-create in his block of wood a form which already existed. We do not work in the sam way as the artist or the scientist, but rather as the shoemaker looking for the right spot on the shoe in which to hammer the mnail. The other sense of the word research might seem a little irrational as it involves the idea of a penetration into human nature itself. In our age, when all languages are confused as in the Tower of Babel, when all aesthetical genres intermingle, death threatens the theatre as film and television encroach upon its domaain. This makes us examine the nature of theatre, how it differs from the other art forms, and what it is that makes it ir-replaceable. [he then discusses the development of the "holy actor" - ie, one driven by (i would say) almost spiritual devotion to creating theatre. He makes the point, that if the actor *merely* does things (with their body and voice in a public place) that an ordinary passerby could do, then they are "doing nothing new" -- much of this is my prob rather slanted view of G's statements. Near the end of the essay...] How can such a threatre reflect our time? I am thinking of the content and analysis of present-day problems. I shall answer according to our theatre's experience. Even though we often use classical texts, ours is a contemporary theatre in that it confronts our very roots with our current behaviour and stereotypes, and in this way shows us our "today" in perspective with "yesterday", and our "yesterday" with "today". Even if this threatre uses an elementary language of signs and sounds -- comprehensible beyond the semantic value of the word, even to a person who does not understand the langue in which the play is performed -- such a theatre must be a national one since it is based on introspection and on the whole of our social super-ego which has been moulded in a particular nautal culture, thus becoming an integral part of it. If we really wish to delve deeply into the logic of our mind and behaviour and reach their hidden layers, their secret motor, then thee whole system of signs built into the performance must appeal to our experience, to the reality which has suprised and shaped us, to this language of gestures, mumblings, sounds, and intonations picked up in the street, at work in cafés -- in short, all human behaviour which has made an impression on us. We are talking about profanation. What, in fact is this but a kind of tack-less-ness based on the brutal confronatation between our declarations and our daily actions, between the experience of our fore-fathers which lives within us and our search for a comfortable way of life or our conception of a struggle for survival, between our individual complexes and those of society as a whole? This implies that every classical performance is like looking at oneself in a mirror, at our ideas and tradtions, and not meerely the description of what men of past ages thought and felt. Every performance bult on a contemporary theme is an encounter between the superficial traits of the present day and its deep roots and hidden motives. The performance is national because it is a sincere and absolute search into our historical ego; it is realistic because it is an excess of truth; it is social because it is a challenge to the social being: The spectator.

Augusto Boal

Theatre of the Oppressed

Refer to "Theatre of the Oppressed" by Augusto Boal, LCCN PN 2051.B63613'1985 ISBN 0.930452.49.6 (


[P.113] Empathy must be understood as the terrible weapon it realy is. Empathy is the most dangeour weapon in the entire arsenal of the theatre and realted arts (movies and TV). It mechanism (sometimes insidious) consists in the juxtapostion of two people (one fictious and another real), two universe, making one of those two people (the real one, the spectator) surrender to the other (the fictious one, the character) his power of making decisions. The man relinquishes his power of decition to the image.

Inter-cultural Performance} See also: {Sinulog} (Phlipine body pulses) Reference: "The Intercultural Reader, Ed. by Patrice Pavis, LCCN 2049.I58'1996, ISBN 0.415.08154.8 (Routledge, London, 1996). Various notes from that work.

Robert Wilson

"Hear, See, Act" an i/v with Robert Wilson ("CIVIL warS") by Der Spiegel (did the *entire* magazine interview him, a sub group or did (perhaps) the magazine (the corpus) itself do the i/v ?) 1987 No.10. [P.100] RW: ... In the CIVIL warS I wasn't hinking of civil war in America or today's Beirut, where childeren grow up with guns in their hands. i was thinking more of a peacful civil union of many nations and the contest between them in the sense of the Olympic Idea. [the project was intended as part of the 1984 Olympic Games; you will recall "the height of the evil empire during the Reagan Era] DS: The project actually foundeered just before targe. At the end you needed a few hundred thousand dollars in order to fuse the sections produced in Rotterdamn, Rome, Cologne, Tokyo, Marseilles and Minneapolis [see map ;)] together in a global work of art, the CIVIL warS. What did you feel in that moment you realised it was all over? RW: I was sad and disappointed. DS: When you prsented your first work in theatre at the end of the 1960's in New York -- wordless, image-plays, often in slow motion -- it seemed utterly starnge and new. One hade the impression that you had found your style of theatre without following any particular school. Was that so? RW: I grew up in a small town in Waco, Texas. It wasn't possible to see theatre there. And when I came to study in New York, it didn't interest me. I didn't like it. DS: Why not? RW: It seemed to me that the actors wwere rather push, like bad high-school teachers alsways putting pressure on, always lecturing. I found it insulting and unselttling. It was only many, mnany years later that I found afome of theatre which satisfied my aesthetoic sense, the classical Noh theeatre of japan. it earns respect form the audience, it doesn't harras or attack them, it just gives them space. DS: There is, however, one big difference: the Japnese audience is well familiar with the form and ocntent of the Noh theatre, as it has been passed [P.101] down over the centureures. your theatre, on the other hand, seems un-expected, un-familiar, new. RW: That' true. Anyhow, today I htink there was one influence that I wasn't even aware of then: As a student I often used to go to George Balanchine's ballet. I had no idea about ballet, but I enjoyed watching this flow of abstract, geinetruc ir arcgutectonic patterns in a fixed space and to hear the music accompanying it, I felt liberated. DS: Your first productions used no speech and even when you've used speech, it's as a purely rhythmical, musical structure, irrelevant to the meaning. The composer Philip Glass who wrote the music for Einstein on the Beach and parts of the CIVIL warS once said that the nice thing about your theatre is that it is completely non-literary. RW: No, no, that's not true: Or at least not any more. I've changed. I am interested in literary texts, it's just the way that they are usually presented on stage that I find consistently dreadful. DS: Why is that? RW: At home I can read a play over and over again, Hamlet, for example, with great pleasure. I can keep finding an ever new abundance of possible interpreations. In the theare, however, I generally find nothing of these riches. The actors interpet the text, they enter as if they know everything and understand everything, and that's a lie, it's a swindle, it's and insult. I don't believe that Shakespeare understood Hamlet [yes, but what abou Bacon?? hmmm]. Theatre should not interperet, but should provide us with the possibility of contemaplating a piece of werk and reflecting on it. If you behave as if you've grasped layered forms and meanings. I always tell my actors "It's not our job to provide answers, but to raise questions. We must ask questions so that the text opens itself to us, and by doing that we enter into dialogue with the audience". DS: Bu do you realise that actually all directors think the other way round and work from interpretations? Or can you think of anyway who sees the task as you do? RW: No, not really, but I don't go to the theatre, it mostly confuses me. ... DS: You don't want to be tied down. Is that why you set four different possible versions of the text against each other in your Hamburg production of Heiner Müller's Hamletmaschine? [P.101] RW: Yes, that's right.; I told the actors, mostly drama students: "Neither you, nor I who come from Waco, Texas, can really grasp the experiences that lie beneath the work of a Marxist author from East Germany. We have to present it in a way that it can be observed and thought about. Only then is it worthwhile". Recently I was in East Berlin [this would be before the wall came down] and saw an early Müller play, Die Bauern (The Peasants), and after the performance I said jokingly to Heiner, "Why don't we put this play on in Waco, Texas for an audience that doesn't even know where East Germany is? But, seriously, I mean, it would have been a kind of test to find out what the play is really about and what it might mean in centuries to come. DS: Do you mean to say that one should avoid any interpretation on stage: No answers, just questions? Bur how? You can't end every sentence with a question mark. RW" I know, that's why people criticise my theatre for being actor-hostile, metchanical, machine-like. But, it only seems like that because we in the West are not so familiar with formal performance art as it has developed, for exampole, in Noh theatre. I tell the actos, "Don't push your feelings on the audience, leave everything you've everf thought about the play back in the dressing room and walk freah onto the stage as if you don't know anything". DS: What is it then that our actors do wrong? RW: It's these abrupt gestures and this pre-conceived sentence melody that always drives toward the period. [NOTE WELL!!!!! Zound!s!!! Ach du Lieber mihne Gott, he *is* such a genius; beauty, beauty squared] the full stop. Instead, everything should be a continual movement, a continuum. Einstein was onced asked by a student to repeat a sentence that he hadn't understood. Einstin said, "I don't need to repeat it, because I always asy the same thing, it's all one thought, one continuum". That's what I mean. ... [P.103] RW: [about using Franz Kafka lines/thoughts in a play ] ... But, I thought a lot about Kafaka, in fact constantly, about Kafka. Of course, i didn't want to just illustrate Kafka, but I had the feeling that I must destroy the Kafka within me, in order to get closer to him on my own terms. DS: Your theatre consists of architectonic structures, images, language, dance, music; it is -- in a very german word -- a Gersamtkunstwerk. But, what are the origins, what comes first, the images? RW: I think everything should be of equal value. It always surprises me, when people characterise my work as "image-theatre" because hearing is just as important to me. Hearing and seeing are are our principle means of perception, of communication. In the teharter, generally speaking, language rules. What one sees is just the trimming, repetition and illustration. I would like each to come into it's own: hearing and seeing. DS: Independently of one another? [P.104] RW: No, each should alternately stengthen the other. Let's take an example. We see a news-reader on the television and he says, "Gaddafi has just bombed Washington DC and New York City [and this was written in 1987!], there are 11 million people dead and Washington is in flames..." We probably woulddn't take any notice of the news-reader, his gestures, mime, clothes, because we are just listening to the words. If how-ever, we turn down the sound and put a Mozart record on, then we actually *see* this man first and then *hear* the Mozart even more clearly than without the image. NOTES ON VIDESO #VT2953 "The Making of a Monolouge: Robert's Wilson's Hamlet (again with the hat!) sponsored by the Coddell & Conwell FOundation for the Arts Shakespear's text is indestructable rock, that you can't really destroy. and re-thinkingg it as a monlogue, a flashback, to think about the text as something that hamlet Ibsen's "When we did awaken" "Danton's Death" by Buechner image text movement (titles) how dense/light/dark the space is pile of rocks that diminishes Next: Sinulog. (Phillipine body impulses).
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(Phlipine body pulses) "Body, Movemment and Culture" by Sally Ann Ness, LCCN GV'1796.S57'N47'1992, ISBN 0.8122,3110.4 (U.Penn Press, Harrisburg?, 1992). [P.1] Imagine gentle currents of energy, flowing freely through and beyond your body, forming warm pools of movement in the space just around you. Your hands are brought to life in this softly pulsing current. They wave around in the watery space, leaving invisible traces of their movement hanging in the air. The current spreads down into tyouer legs, which begain to bear your body's weight alternately, subtly shifting your body from side to side throught the liquid space in a slight sway. Your knees become invovled, bending alternately as they adjust for the arrival and departure of your body's weight. i Unless its pulses are so gentle that they die away within your body's centre, the reslilient current will eventually reach through to your feet, which balance, each in turn, yoru swaying body. You step lightly, as though you walk, or perhaps softly job, upon a smooth surface of silken pillows filled with sand. Your dance continues for a timeless internal, until the current dies away. ... "Santo Niño de Cebu" (Cebu City), an image of Jeus as Boy King. The figure of Santo Niño is venerated as the Almighty and Most Merciful Defender of the Cebuano people. May the spirit of Tamara Karsavina bless us and guide us in these troubled times, -- Frank Leeding, 2005.11.22, 5pm CaDST