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If, While Rehearsing, You Should Find

Yourself In Another Performance Words by Anthony Romero

Part 1: Dare to Dream


Mmmmm. Ha Ha. Mmmmm. Doesn’t that feel good? You guys look really good. Why don’t you go ahead and give yourselves a warm round of applause? Yeah, don’t be shy, you deserve it! You did manage to make it here after all and that’s worth at least a warm round, don’t you think? You made it, hahaha, right? I mean, WE did it! Goodbye work week! Hello Weekend! Hahaha wow! I have to be honest guys, the last time I gave this seminar was at a retirement home and I have to tell yah, they were dying to get out of there! haha I’m kidding, I’m kidding, I took a public speaking course and they always tell you to start off with a joke, so feel free to laugh if you want to. Just looking out I can see that half of you are really excited to be here tonight so thank you for that and please don’t be afraid to leave the performance if you’re bored. But seriously folks, we have a lot of work to do today and I know what some of you are thinking EWWW! WORK! BLEGH! Right? You in particular maybe? But it’s not that kind of work, we’re not punching in a clock here. We’re punching into life. HAHAHA RIGHT?!?! Ugh, paging Dr. Audience there’s a call on line 3. “Oh I wonder who that could be [?] Hello, this is Dr. Audience. Oh? What’s that you say? This is life calling?”. That’s what I wanna talk about today. I wanna talk about picking up the spiritual phone and saying yes to life!


Let’s go all the way. Can we do that? Why don’t we take a moment and just introduce ourselves. Go ahead. This is a very important step in the process and we need to be sure that we feel safe and comfortable with each other. Yeah, so just introduce yourself to those around you. I’ll wait.


OK! Doesn’t that feel good? It feels good to be amongst friends, doesn’t it? So what I want us to do now is just close our eyes and we are just gonna do a quick visualiza- tion exercise. Don’t worry, I’m here and I promise I won’t do anything weird, OK, I just want to remind you that if you feel something, like a tingling sensation in your lower extremities that its perfectly naturally, OK, so were just gonna feel that and let that hap- pen. Now I want you to imagine that you’re on a park bench.

Part 2: When Given The Privilege, A Shadow

Please allow me to clarify a few things. The play that you have just witnessed, of which a portion is reprinted here, uses the language of self-help seminars and new age consumer culture to investigate the place of ritual and spiritual belief in contemporary

What actually happens is that you arrive at a museum to see artwork and you en- counter two mounted police dressed in their uniforms, on their horses, who are actu- ally using all the techniques they learned in the police academy and through their ex- perience as policemen to control the audience of the exhibition. You have these police who are coming toward you and giving you directions of what to do, where to move - if you have to stand or if you have to move somewhere - and they’re actually using the horses to make this happen, as they usually do in their everyday job. The people do not have to know that its art and for me this is very important because, once you know its art then you start … you can do all the associations that are not exactly what you would do in your everyday life. So the fact that they are using and having the same reaction they have in real life when they see the police controlling them for me its very important. I am working in a way in which I like people not to think its art so they can really enjoy it as a live event and not as a representation of a live event (from an interview between the artist and Tani Bruguera for Tate Shots Issue 11).

society. This is typical of my work to date. What may not be present in this particular text is a preoccupation with shamanism and the performance of gender and sexuality in the kind of ritualistic theater often associated with contemporary new age practices. So, when I was asked to condense this particular piece, of which a portion is reprinted here, I opted instead to take the transformative quality of the visualization exercise that the audience is led through as a starting point to choreograph a dance. Working in partial collaboration with dancer and performer, Georgia Wall, we sought to move the program beyond a simple ritual pantomime. Instead we took an approach that used the basic mechanics of the animal impersonation as a starting point to choreograph a series of generic horse movements that could be combined in a myriad of ways in an improvised dance. During this process, I began to understand the dance not just as a play on shamanistic ritual but as a form of live documentation of the longer play. In some ways, by abstracting the performance, I was giving myself license to take the original in new directions. In the way that photographs of canonical performances become stand-ins for the performances, so to would these movements occupy a space in which they not only represented the performance, but also defined and, to a certain extent, overpowered the real time event, at least as far as the public memory of the event is concerned. This exploration was further complicated by the realization that in the dance there was an opportunity to question the limits of re-performance, when a re-staging of Tania Bru- guera’s Tatlin’s Whisper #5, with the performer as horse, was accidentally thrown into the mix.

As I ‘wrapped’ rehearsals I found myself asking these questions: 1. How is that which is archived performed, and can the body be a document? 2. What are the politics of re-performance when the actor and staging lose their focus; i.e. what can be learned from a movie when it is re-filmed by the co-star?

Part 3: Concerning the Cowardice necessary to finish

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