2001年01月

2001年01月14日

WORKSHOP

Workshop : The phase of the performance process where materials found, invented, and played with

Workshop is the active research phase of the performance process. Some artists use workshops to explore processes that will be useful in rehearsals and in making performances.  For example, I led in workshops in the 1990s at New York university, I developed an exercise roughly based on the eight fundamental emotions described in the Natyasastra, the ancient Sanskrit manual for performers, directors, playwrights, and theatre architects. The rasaboxes exercise takes place inside a rectangle of nine boxes, each of which is the “place” of a basic emotion. As performers move from one box to the next, they must instantly change their emotional expression from, say, karuna (sadness or compassion) to bibhasta (disgust), or raudra (rage), or snnsara (love). But these words are not the key- each rasa is an entire range of feelings clustered around an emotional core; a flavoring and savoring of emotions, rather than anything fixed or “texted”.

The ultimate aim of the exercise is to help performers compose, control, embody, and express emotions as nimbly as athletes are able to rest on the sidelines and then, when asked to play, plunge into the game with full intensity. Antonin Artaud once called for actors to be“athletes of the emotions,”and this is what the rasaboxes exercise trams them to become.
But this kind of exploration and training is not the only thing workshops are good for. Workshops maybe used to dig up materials from personal, histoncal, or other sources and then find ways to express these in actions and interactions. These materials may find their way into actual aesthetic or therapeutic performances. Or they may remain inside the workshop, a means of exploration only. In New Age venues such as Esalen or Naropa institutes, workshops focus on meditation, whole-body healing, and the integration of many different religious and philosophical systems. In the performing arts, workshops cover a very broad range of activities. Some workshops bring together persons from different cultures and/or genres to exchange techniques, ideas, and approaches. Other workshops introduce people to particular skills or techniques. Probably the most prevalent kind of workshop is used to “open people up” to new experiences, helping them recognize and develop their own possibilities. (L2) Workshops have become popular in business and as recreation. Some workshops, often sponsored by businesses, help people acquire certain social skills such as learning how to be at ease in public or how to assert oneself without being overly aggressive, and so on. Plainly, the difference between training and workshop is blurry. Generally, workshops look toward ''the new” both personally and artistically.

Many activities are “workshopped” before they are produced. To workshop something is to produce a prototype or experimental model. This is true not only in the arts but across a wide range of activities. For example, in auto manufacturing, new car models built in prototype by teams pooling resources in an atmosphere of workshop. Designers and engineers play around with new ideas leading to the making of a single prototype. The prototype is built not on the assembly line, but on an individual basis. Of course, such a ''new car” is not really wholly new. A prototype combines already proven engineering and design along with what is really new. But sometimes, auto companies go far out, trying to imagine what a “car of the future” would be. Such a vehicle is called a “concept car.” Sometimes it is not even really finished. It may have a very advanced exterior design but no comparable motor.
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But by means of concept cars auto manufacturers can familiarize them- selves and their customers with possibilities.(P200) Often elements from a concept car will find their way into the proto- type, which, in turn, serves as the basis for what comes off the assembly line. The process goes from workshop (concept car) to rehearsal (prototype) to production (performance). Similarly, in the performing arts, the workshop phase is where possibilities that may never be performed in public are explored. Only when a project achieves a certain level of solidity is it moved out of the workshop and into rehearsals.


Architects Lawrence Halprin (1916- ) and Jim Burns (1926-94), working closely with Lawrence's wife, choreographer Anna Halprin (1920- ), developed a collective creative workshop process they called the “RSVP Cycles” (see Halprin and Burns box, see figure 7.11). The RSVP Cycles are both a theory of the workshop process and a very useful technique;
(L2)
Lawrence Halprin (1916- ): American architect who, with his wife, dancer Anna Halprin (1920- ), and fellow architect Jim Bums (1926-94), developed a set of workshop processes known as the RSVP Cycles.

Resources - all the subjective and objective material used in the creative process. These include space, people, money, things, etc.; and objectives, feelings, fantasies, open and hidden agendas, etc.
Scores - what I have termed the proto-performance: scenarios, instructions, plans. Scores can be either open or closed. A closed score controls the action; an open score allows for a variety of options.
Valuaction - where the group considers feedback about the ongoing creative process. Scores are revised on the basis of the feedback. Halprin and Burns coined the term “valuaction” to emphasize the action aspect of the feed-back. Scores are revised not just by talking about what happened but by means of new actions.
Performance - the most optimal outcome possible using the scores within the given circumstances.
(P201)
RSVP Cycles: A workshop technique developed by Anna Halprin, Lawrence Halprin, and Jim Barns. RSVP is an acronym for Resources, Scores, Valuaction, Performance.

In the Halprin-Burns method, the RSVP cycle is repeated several times during workshops. There is no right place to start. The group may enter the cycle at any of its nodes. Nor is the performance phase necessarily a public performance. Often the performance is for members of the workshop only. At some point, a public may or may not be invited to experience the results of the workshop. This kind of workshop is not designed primarily to find materials out of which public performances are made. The primary objective of this kind of workshop is self-discovery and/or the building and solidifying of a creative group or team.
Insofar as workshops are where new ways of doing things are explored and resistances to new knowledge are identified and dealt with, they are similar to initiation rites. As discussed in chapter 3, van Gennep called initiations “rites of passage” because by means of an initiation rite a person passes from one social identity to another. According to van Gennep's theory, initiation rites consist of three phases: separation, the liminal or “in between” phase, and reintegration. During initiations, persons leave their ordinary lives behind (separation) , undergo ordeals by means of which old behaviors are erased and new behaviors and knowledge learned (liminal phase), and emerge reborn as new or at least profoundly changed beings ready to rejoin their society but at a new level of responsibility (reintegration).

Workshop participants follow a similar path by isolating themselves from their ordinary lives, putting aside old habits, delving into themselves, and learning new ways of doing things. (L2) As in many initiations, the journey is not undertaken alone. A group sustains individual efforts just as individual contributions strengthen the group.
If a workshop is successful, participants re-emerge as changed beings. Sometimes these changes are minor, sometimes fundamental. For a workshop to succeed, the participants must do the hard work of not only mastering new skills (training) but opening themselves up to others and to new ideas and practices . This is not easy. But once participants are able to be receptive and vulnerable, they are ready to grow and change. Workshop and training may overlap in function, but they are experienced very differently. Training is a long, slow, repetitive, immersive process . Workshops are relatively brief, intense, and suddenly transformative. Some workshops use “ordeals” as a way of breaking down resistance to learning and as a way of incorporating new knowledge into the body. Fasting, long hours, strict discipline, and difficult psychophysical exercises are just some of the techniques used to push people beyond their ordinary limits

(c)Richard Schechner "performance Studies"

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