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A Beginners Guide to Performance Art - by Gareth K. Vile

A Beginners Guide to Performance Art by Gareth K. Vile

Do you like a good script, but sometimes long for something more personal and intimate? Are you interested in contemporary performance, but wonder what on earth is going on up there? Have you read the programme, but still aren’t clear about what the show is about? Then worry no more: here’s the eightfold path to performance art enlightenment.
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Musical Sushi by John Harris

I know how you feel. Why would you go to a contemporary music concert? No tunes (or only rarely, and then rather grudgingly). Peculiar, occasionally laughable noises from perfectly normal instruments. Nothing you can tap your foot to. And – probably worst of all – the nagging idea that everyone else in the audience, if there is anyone else in the audience, is coming from somewhere slightly alien. From somewhere where random peeps and parps make sense, and are maybe even found to be enjoyable. I mean, what on earth are they getting out of it?

As I say, I know how you feel. I wasn’t born with the contemporary music gene. And nor was my Mother-in-Law (most definitely not alien), who hated contemporary music when I first knew her. So much so that not so many years ago she would - although supportive to a fault - come to the contemporary music concerts I put on out of a sense of sheer, overwhelming pity.
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Rough Mix 2010 - Ruth Barker looks back

Looking back on the project, Rough Mix has certainly been influential. Although pinning down exactly how it has influenced me is somewhat more complicated.

I think that Rough Mix was my first step into the theatrical as a sphere of specialism – theatrical as opposed to performative. I learnt a lot about the differences between these two frameworks, and about the similarities of concern. I’d never worked alongside actors, choreographers, or playwrights before. I’d never seen actors at work and I knew very little about the most basic processes of development. And so at a purely knowledge-based level I learnt a lot of skills, as well as feeling privileged to be given an insight into others’ working methods.

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Rough Mix 2010 - Harry Wilson looks back

'It is impossible to make a piece of theatre that does not quote, borrow and reference from other artists. I believe that this act of quoting is not only present in the final product, but can also be mirrored in the processes of making theatre. This is not an act of plagiarism, but rather a form of collaboration, and act of skills sharing and represents a complex web of influences. How else can we learn about the processes of making theatre without borrowing from others and trying these ideas out in new contexts? I believe this has been the most useful way that participating in Rough Mix 2010 has helped me develop my practice over the last year.

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Rough Mix 2010 - Linda McLean's starting point

In an empty space any presence is remarkable.

A box
An empty box
Or a light, an unexpected light
Or sock
Or really any form at all
In the empty space, it’s a focus for the eye
And the eye will watch it to see if it does anything
For quite a while
And even when the eye stops watching
It’ll still check it out every now and again
Because the eye is the secret agent of the HEART/SOUL/BRAIN

If there’s a puzzle to be solved
It has to go through the eye (in the sighted of course; it has to go through touch and hearing in the unsighted and touch alone in the deaf mute)

One thing on its own IS every single one of us.
Without words, before words, words which will instantly classify us as
Without words it’s everyman.
Every single person who sees this form in this space
Owns it
Invests in it

If it moves, even infinitesimally, as in Japanese NO theatre, it’s still worth watching.

Somewhere beneath all our learning
All our punishments
All our fears
Is a form that fascinates us.
Wordless, maybe
Inarticulate, for sure
But always, always surprising.

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Latest Comment

J. Sharp Taking A Walk
07 September 2014
Very much enjoyed your show at the Brunton Theatre last night and the silent walk to start was an excellent addition, creating the perfect atmosphere....