The durationals find a new shape each time they are presented, within the parameters that are possible. We’re not really interested in them as ways to create outrageous narrative or developmental arcs though! They tend to be quite flat in that sense — to travel is better than to arrive kind of thing. You might best think of them as landscapes of endless variation… but in which no change is permanent. It’s flux.
One aspect of shape that is predictable or recurrent though are physiological or other rhythms. For instance, if a perfomance like Speak Bitterness or And On The Thousandth Night… is six hours long, the performers get tired and there is usually a certain hysteria by hour five. You are generally trying too hard in hour one. So you can say certain things about the shape and rhythm of those pieces, but it’s not written or dramatically forced. What’s allowed to happen in all of the durationals is that the performers step into the space, begin, and then play, and then at the end it’s finished. In a way it’s like football, or any sport: you know what the rules are, you know who the players are, but you don’t know what will transpire inside the set of rules.
Jonathan Kalb, Professor of Theatre at Hunter College, CUNY, wrote a great piece on Sight Is The Sense and Quizoola! that I flagged already a while back. He’s just added to the HotReview site a long interview with me, quoted above and focused mainly on the durational performances that I’ve made with Forced Entertainment including Quizoola!, Speak Bitterness, And On The Thousandth Night… and 12am Awake & Looking Down. You can check out the full interview online. It’s a nice one.
Meanwhile I’m in London for Forced Entertainment’s Spectacular which started its run tonight until Saturday 15th. Looking forward to it – the piece looks really good in the Riverside space.