When I saw this video, I thought about a work I performed in 2015 with an actress and friend of mine. Along its creation we discussed a lot whether we would set all its steps and exhaustively rehearse them or build a mindset where the movement would come only in response to each other’s or the audience’s stimuli. (Actually this was my doubt, and not my partner’s).
By thinking over this work, and about a long process of four years of movement improvisation classes with a really gifted teacher, I see that to count with the unexpected is much more akin of our daily experience than its opposite.
For instance, in the act we have here, no matter how fixed and rehearsed, to interact with an object must consider the unforseen. so that the partial control shown in its manipulation is rather a deep understanding of it,
We must know what the object can do, what kind of movements it allow us to do, how long it takes to go from a certain point to another, as for the act to work the performers have to harmonize their movements with all those things so that their bodies and the object they interact with become only one thing.
It’s also necessary to “listen” to the other, to act together. Ultimately, a good collective act requires perception, respect, and accordingly responses. In the artistic set we talk about playing partners.
I think that in our daily lives interacting with other persons and objects demand the same.
For instance, when we walk in a footpath with other passersby even if unconsciously we recognize a pattern. We watch our “partners”, realize when they go to this direction or to the another, gauge the distance between the persons, estimate their walking speed, and so on.
Of course the unexpected can surprise us. When this happens, our time of reading the facts not always is quick enough and the consequent reaction may not be entirely adequate for us to prevent an accident. However, I think that much of these is due to a hasty and superficial observation based in things like fear, anxiety, unconfirmed impressions and misunderstandings.
The opposite behavior seems to us an unreal and icy self-control. Nevertheless, it’s fundamental to the scene, and what is even better, sometime make it look more difficult and superhuman than what it really is.
Thus, weighing things before acting, rather than saving just a theatrical act, often saves life as well.
therefore, it’s wise to breath, relax, feel, listen, watch, analyse and think before taking an action.
Eve Ensler is a playwright and activist and the founder of V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. In Brazil, her most popular play was “The Vagina Monologue”, here the subject of a Brazilian TV show from 2012.