A Room to Perform | Like this and then like this and then like this...

Wall 1 / A Proposal / Inside

What if we brought the walls in close? If we built a performance where the room wasn’t only a setting, but also a performer? How do you make room for the room you’re in?

A Room to Perform is a performance as proposal. Through movement we wish to explore how a room, as a structure, might become part of a performance, letting its shape and form determine the way our movements are framed. By bringing forward that which usually recedes, the ‘background’ becomes both visually and physically something to respond to.

Our research for the past three years has focused on making performances in response to spaces, more specifically the spaces in our lives, the rooms, gardens, kitchens, and studios where we practice and live . We have been thinking about how each of us as performers takes up space in the world, with our bodies and movements, words and actions. For us, thinking about these rooms means considering what types of spaces are available to us as artists to work in.

Wall 2 / Door / Diegesis

Throughout the process, working around a yet-to-be-built structure has meant constantly negotiating an invisible room. Making movements that in-the-future and on-the-stage would be drastically affected by this imagined structure, fabricating an inside and outside and a now and then to everything we did. The space we imagined and talked about has always been an 8 x 8 foot structure, similar to a small room in a house. Its dimensions reflect the occupied space when we lay down with arms stretched out, or extend one leg back and one arm forward, fitting in just so.

The imagined structure we were building became an experiment for thinking about looking, for recognizing that the way we were working was both real and unreal. Always anticipating that much of our work would change when we got into the theatre and had our ‘real’ structure before us, we tried to imagine what would be obscured. What would no longer be seen and what would be highlighted? How would the room create partial images out of whole ones?

Wall 3 / Floor / Moving

Moving together requires negotiation, translating shapes, timing and actions into words and then back again into movement. Instead of simply doing, we find ourselves describing a slump or a flip-flop and saying repeatedly “like this? And then like this?” All the while knowing that parts would be lost in translation because our bodies don’t move exactly the same way and our words don’t always mean the same thing. The process starts to be about how to create movements that play with the space between us, folding up a phrase like a piece of paper, or letting breaks in the frame become another part of the body.

Wall 4 / Windows / A Room with legs

We are making a room with legs, where an obstruction of a person or a wall means expansion. A colander instead of a bowl that holds us and lets the light through. Where the openings reference a domestic room, windows and doors floating up to the ceiling and low to the ground.

We are a book with holes, the hole of the o, p, a, two holes in a B. Other letters chop up the stage like a V or a T, dividing and shaping the page into sections, positive and negative space. Language as a system with parts that can be configured and reconfigured. A language as a room, or the size of a canvas. Also a room with lives, where performers waddle and stretch; weaving between structure, grace, and tiredness.

- Katie Lyle and Shelby Wright