In herAction Theater methodology for real-time composition, Ruth Zaporah distinguishes between direct and indirect relationship between performers. Direct relationship is what we would generally call relationship: the persons make eye contact and interact with each other explicitly, it’s a personal frame. This creates a field that can become impermeable to what is going on outside it. Have you ever noticed how different your attention is when travelling with someone and when travelling alone? Or how endogamic and exclusive certain relationships can be? A direct relationship offers close connection, complicity and support. When and how can we make it porous in order not to miss the opportunities to enrich it with what’s going on outside?
Overacting is carrying out an action with more energy than necessary. Leaving aside the possibility of parody, why would a performer do this? It would seem to be an attempt at highlighting what we are doing, as if we thought that the audience might not realize the importance of what we’re doing, so we make an effort to get the focus. We may succeed in obtaining the other’s attention… while losing their resonance, empathy and connection.
Traditionally, performers would travel from place to place to make a living off their work. Only very few would be permanently employed, for example by a person belonging to the nobility, and would therefore stay in the same place. This implied great adaptability to different performance conditions and audiences and also to living on the road. In general, itinerant performers were viewed with distrust and for a long time actors could not receive a Christian burial in many parts of Europe. Although nowadays performers tend to have a base home from which they travel, mobility is still important and still often conditions lifestyle. Collaborations with hosting teams needs a quick coming together, but are only short-lived and this can be both enriching and depleting. Not all relationships can become significant and connections that seemed intense may turn out to be superficial. Most of us tour around the world by means of social media and strike “friendships” with people we barely know. How can we keep these connections nourishing by being real about their nature?