Non-digital Open Rehearsal Performance

Q: How would a short personal anecdote create a larger narrative of a group when presented collectively? How do people feel about contributing and becoming a part of the performance instead of just being a spectator?

To investigate the overall concept and responses of an audience participatory system, I held a concert at Share, a weekly event held at the Issue Project Room in Gowanus, Brooklyn. This was a collaboration project between Adam Kendal on visuals and me on sound. In this open rehearsal, I proposed a theme, ‘I like her because / I hate her because’. Prior to the show, Post-it notes with the phrases ‘I like her because…’ and ‘I hate her because…’ were distributed to the audience members. When people returned the Post-it notes with an answer, they were asked to record their responses to a portable voice recorder. During the performance, the Post-it responses were sited by the performer (me) and turned into text, which became the source for live visuals. The voice recording was also processed and played back along with background music. By performing everyone’s personal note of ‘I like her because / I hate her because’, a larger collective narrative was created. Incorporating the voices of the participants added additional layers of self–reflection and perspective. The result was quite successful. People were willing to participate and did not seem to mind their voice being recorded and used in the concert. They were engaged and enjoyed their participation being performed. Surprisingly, one audience member commented that hearing his own voice integrated in a performance made him more self-conscious than having an Figure of himself projected on the screen.