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?
I still remember my theatre teacher Juan Carlos Corazza saying “set design is not the same as interior design”. This is a particular pitfall of naturalistic theatre, but the consideration can be useful for other live arts aswell. The main idea behind this statement is that set design is not about decorating, but about supporting the performance. Stages tend to be as neutral as possible, pure space. Social scientist and philosopher Michel de Certeau in “The Practice of Everyday Life” makes a distinction between a space (which is undefined, open and common) and a place (which is defined, delineated and individual). A space is polyvalent: fit for a greater variety of things but offering no specialized features. A place is specific: appropriate for certain uses but lacking versatility. Finding the appropriate point along the spectrum between space and place would be a decisive step for a set design. This fine-tuning between general and specific, versatile and specialized can be extrapolated to many areas of life. Different situations may benefit from different approaches.
Credits tell us who contributed what to the performance. Even people who contributed but not as professionals may be thanked for it. The performers getting the ovation at the end are the tip of the iceberg, but there’s a lot of other work involved in a performance that would go unrecognized without credits. It is impossible to do something completely on one’s own. We use many things that were invented by others, do things that we learnt from others… Even our life was given to us by others! This doesn’t subtract any value from what we accomplish. On the other hand, it adds a very pleasant feeling of being supported by all those who contributed something and without whom our achievement wouldn’t have been possible.