Contact, conflict, and risk

Anyone who reads blogs surely believes in trying to benefit from the wisdom of others, yes?  Besides, isn’t stealing sharing what social networking is all about?

While these are only peripherally related to the stage combat, stunts, and prop weaponry that are the usual thrust of this blog, they are relevant.  First the visual:

Touching Strangers

Isn’t this what we’re often asked to do in the theatre?  Especially in scenes involving domestic or sexual violence- or passion, for that matter- we get to see and deal with all kinds of baggage, all kinds of levels of comfort, etc.  This photo project shows many of the same truths that I’ve run in to over the years with actors.  Given that I’m usually there to choreograph physicality, I’m usually working against any inhibitions the actors bring with them, but from a purely acting/directing/writing/non-combative angle, there’s truths to be mined in them thar hills.  One nice thing about some of the interaction I was choreographing for Pterodactyls – it was supposed to be awkward for one or both of the characters.  Nice to be able to play the truth in that instead of having to pretend it doesn’t exist.

On a related note:

The Solo Show: A Risk-Averse Artistic Administrator’s Best Friend


Theatre is dialogue.  Not as part of the narrative, like in a novel, but as all of the show.  Even if no words are spoken, dramatic action takes place in a framework of implicit dialogue: people doing things to other people. This is why our collective audience hackles go up whenever a narrator starts telling us the story instead of enacting it.

Dialogue breeds risk like flowers bloom scent, and risk is the fabric of theatre.  Because two or more people on stage can never know with certainty what an other is about to do, no matter how many times they have done it before, the audience attends the action with a sense of the innate exposure.  “Anything could happen, and we are in the same damned room with these agitated people.”   Risk is not a by-product of drama.  It is the main ingredient.

The importance of dialogue is something all good acting I think needs to keep in mind, whether verbal or ferric.

Drama is conflict… which taken to the extreme, is war.

David Tucker gives an interesting answer to the question on the Responsibility of Artists to Respond to War. It felt like a loaded question to begin with, but his background as a veteran gives him a perspective many theatre artists lack, and I appreciate his value placed on filling the unbridgeable experience gaps.


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