Sample (2011): Experiment #1 - Freeform

2019-01-30T05:56:57Z (GMT) by Sanjin Muftic
Exhibit #1 – Freeform

Devised as part of the research project on developing planetary theatre through bricolage and theatrical images

Performers:
Dann-Jacques Mouton
Cintaine Schutte
Turdy Van Rooy
Gideon Lombard
Gabriella Pinto

Stimulus & Container:
Monologue – Gabriella Pinto performing a text from Howard Barker’s Europeans, done as part of her voice exam at UCT 2009.

PROCESS SampleTrack (Director, Stimulus, Performers)
Director INVITES Performers;
Director INTERROGATES Stimulus into Container;
Performers EXTRACT Sources;
Director SELECTS Sources TO FIT Container & LAYER into Performance;
PERFORM SampleTrack
LOG Comments on SampleTrack from Director, Performer, Audience

Sources To be determined at performance Stimulus and Container: Monologue -- Gabriella Pinto performing a text from Howard Barker's Europeans, originally performed as part of her voice exam at UCT in 2009. Process: NONE - Actors individually select some (3) live performance Sources to have available to them through the Freeform. Performance: Freeform begins with the performance of the Container (any type of live performance). After the conclusion of the 1st run through of the performance, the Container is performed again, this time the actors enter the space. Actors respond to the Container and each other using only Sources. Freeform ends on the 3rd run through of the Container.
Extract from PhD text:

FREEFORM allows multiple performers within a space, but eliminates the theatre-maker from the layering process by allowing the performers to listen and respond to each other’s samples through their impulses. In this variation of rehearsal work, the theatre-maker simply presents a container that the performers use as a starting point. Props and costumes are not included. The performer’s preparation must include an awareness of their performance history so that it can be extracted during the time in the rehearsal space. The introduction of the freeform variation into my project relied on the stimulus of a monologue from Howard Barker’s, The Europeans, performed by Gabriella Pinto, who sat on a chair in the middle of the performance space. She had initially performed it as a task within her 2nd year actor training course. The other performers in the space responded to her performance, attempting to engage her in a conversation only through extracts from their repertoire, to which she could respond only using that sample.
Two other varieties of sampling dramaturgy were attempted as very experimental versions of the freeform, with both being devised in front of an audience. SESSION adds a further variable by giving the performers and theatre-maker a limited amount of time to generate a performance. A container for the anchor is prescribed, and the audience witnesses the performers and theatre-maker making choices from the samples and their placement within a specified time. COLLABORATIVE seeks to position the theatre-maker as a guide within the actual performance. Through their presence on the stage, the theatre-maker keeps adjusting the stimulus for the performers. The theatre-maker can do this through the manipulation of a variety of theatrical devices, such as adjusting lights, changing sound, giving instructions, reading a text and so forth. This version is not pre-decided but is rather developed in front of an audience.
The decision-making characteristics of FREEFORM dramaturgy evoke a strong connection to the musical process of sampling. What differs is who is acting as the DJ – the theatre-maker or the performer. Within the musical process, Schloss suggests that LP records were made to be sampled and re-arranged in a particular way: their “aesthetic is seen as being… inherent in the records themselves” (2004: 68). Schloss describes this by contrasting it with the blank canvas of a live instrument, which is open to playing anything, but gives no clue as to “a sense of harmonic orientation, a rhythmic feel, or a timbral (or even social) ‘vibe’” (2004: 68). Within FREEFORM, the performer is limited in their choices by only being able to select from their repertoire, and yet their choice is inspired by the “vibe” which was provided by the theatre-maker and is now in play in the performance space. This “vibe” connects to the landscape that their extracts carry. This is similar to Bieito’s directing approach which places emphasis on “the musicality and tonal sense” except that in this process those decisions are now with the performers (Delgado, 2010: 285). Similarly to the DJ, the performers are looking for samples that will work together, that either share something in common, such as a feeling, or may juxtapose well when placed in combination with each other. In the moment of performance, this process is more instantaneous and relies on the performer’s interpretation of the “vibe”. Such a dramaturgy, with the performers making the choices of selection, hints at the planetary dramaturgy: allowing multiple and diverse points of view to exchange in the same space.

Schloss, J. G. 2004. Making Beats : The Art of Sample-Based Hip-Hop. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press.

Delgado, M. M. & Rebellato, D. (eds.) 2010. Contemporary European Directors. London: Routledge.