Discipline-based political theatre solo performance "Acting Alone" - Artist-led research exploring boundaries of performer/audience relationships

Conference Presentation


Hunt, A. 2016. Discipline-based political theatre solo performance "Acting Alone" - Artist-led research exploring boundaries of performer/audience relationships. International Federation for Theatre Research.
AuthorsHunt, A.
TypeConference Presentation
Abstract

Over the last seven years I have been drawn to making solo performance theatre inspired by true stories/verbatim material that both challenge me as an artist and as a researcher but also pose questions to audiences but can theatre contribute to social and political change? Acting Alone explores how solo/interactive performance might create “affect” as a tool for promoting social responsibility and political engagement. This paper will set out some of the responses to the performances from touring the piece both nationally and internationally, theoretical frameworks I have engaged with and what questions continue to drive my research. This piece is inspired by my research with artists and educators in refugee camps in the West Bank. The title “Acting Alone” provides a duality - that of acting vs activism – political intervention against the vulnerability of performing alone on stage - would I be alone at the end of a performance or would an audience join me in the conversation, a response to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Originally commissioned by Amnesty International (Derbyshire) Acting Alone is informed by performance efficacy and participatory engagement theory. In its exploration of the complex situation faced by those living in Palestine, Acting Alone challenges the theatrical conventions often experienced by audiences. It invites them to interact: to cross the dramaturgical divide and create an ending where no-one, including the performer, knows the resolution. In a unique performance style, tales are woven together, personal stories and folklore tales offer insight and reflection but ultimately the piece poses questions -at times of conflict, do we take action? Whose side are we on? What are we willing to risk? And can one person make a difference?

Over the last seven years I have been drawn to making solo performance theatre
inspired by true stories/verbatim material that both challenge me as an artist and
as a researcher but also pose questions to audiences but can theatre contribute
to social and political change? Acting Alone explores how solo/interactive
performance might create “affect” as a tool for promoting social responsibility and
political engagement. This paper will set out some of the responses to the
performances from touring the piece both nationally and internationally,
theoretical frameworks I have engaged with and what questions continue to drive
my research. This piece is inspired by my research with artists and educators in
refugee camps in the West Bank. The title “Acting Alone” provides a duality - that
of acting vs activism – political intervention against the vulnerability of performing
alone on stage - would I be alone at the end of a performance or would an
audience join me in the conversation, a response to the Israeli/Palestinian
conflict? Originally commissioned by Amnesty International (Derbyshire) Acting
Alone is informed by performance efficacy and participatory engagement theory.
In its exploration of the complex situation faced by those living in Palestine, Acting
Alone challenges the theatrical conventions often experienced by audiences. It
invites them to interact: to cross the dramaturgical divide and create an ending
where no-one, including the performer, knows the resolution. In a unique
performance style, tales are woven together, personal stories and folklore tales
offer insight and reflection but ultimately the piece poses questions -at times of
conflict, do we take action? Whose side are we on? What are we willing to risk?
And can one person make a difference?

KeywordsSolo performance; Audience / performer relationships; Verbatim theatre
Year2016
PublisherInternational Federation for Theatre Research
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621717
hdl:10545/621717
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Publication datesJun 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jun 2017, 09:10
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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