What are the revealing threads, connections and relationships?
Step into the work
The goal of the co-creation of yesterday's score - between Gert-Jan, Siebren and I - was to invite the workshop participants to step into the work immediately and immersively. The invitation for this 'direct introduction' was incorporated in the welcoming procedure of the workshop. We decided to not address the group as a group, to not welcome them collectively, but individually.
You came in, I said hi and introduced myself. I told you to put your bags in the wardrobe, but to keep your coat with you as we were going to start the introduction outside. We made a little chat about where you were coming from and how the trip up to Pakrante had been. People gathered in the foyer, some of them grouped together, others not. You probably didn't realise the workshop had allready started.
Then everyone was individually invited to walk outside with either Gert-Jan or me for a 3-minute personal introduction to our work, or just a spontaneous chat. As much different conversations as there were people. I would like to address two 'mechanisms of staging': (1) the personal welcoming and (2) the immersive introduction. (I will elaborated why I'm addressing these small relational interactions as 'staging' on a later moment). Let's start with the welcoming ritual. Taken in account that most participants were students with different ethnic backgrounds, operating within a rather hierarchic educational frame, the act of making personal contact with every participant had a grounding quality. At least for me, as one of the 'workshop leaders', I valued it as an act of acknowledging every participant as a person, and at the same time an acknowledging every one-on-one-relationship as a basis, a first building stone, of a greater network of connections. I believe that the consciousness of this intersubjectivity is a condition that is to be installed meticulously within the frame of such a workshop, considering that every step in our practice is a part of the allover relational dramaturgical strategy.
Moving towards the score itself, as a second staging mechanism,... (elaborate) A participant declared afterwards that the 'spontanious step into the unknown was stimulating an opennes for unexpected things to happen' during the whole workshop.
Key moments in the workshop dramaturgy
4. Welcoming the individual participants
In our first encounter we need to first esthasblish that you're a workshop participant and I'm the workshop host. There's immediate contact, no in between moment of arriving at the space, adjusting to the situaion, find your own rhythm. Who am I to invade that private space? Hi, welcome. We don't make it a big thing. We're walking around, greet people and explain what is necessary to explain at that moment.
5. Making pairs/ introduction with pairs
How do I choose? Did I register who were together or not? Who has been waiting the longest? What (fluid) characteristics decide on the 'succes' of the match? The second thing is to esthablish that I am really just talking with them. This is not an act. Is there a difference between an introduction and an act? I customise each introduction, testing a little bit how people respond, what they show/not show, to what extend they are willing to jump in, waht do they need in this moment? Where do I position myself?
6. Participants return to the Lounge
They were supposed to reflect in the workshop-space. But some magnetic force drew them back to the lounge. Was there no sense of safety in the workshop space? Was it not clear that this was the exact spatial surrounding they needed to be in? And/or what information did it give us to know appeal of the lounge. We let it happen. And invited everybody to the workshopspace when everybody was there.
7. The introduction of the 'fictional other' opens up space
This happened in two steps: First, the sharing of everyone's fictional workshop participant created a sense of relaxation: sillyness, artyness, the personal, the intellectual, the emotional, everything was obviously allowed to be there. Second, doing the LA-exercise gave permission for a very playfull approach to the exercise. Adding to opening up a field of possibilities, the fictional others also connected the group/process with a larger audience, a larger consciousness
8. The moment of organising outside (1st prototype)
We had to give the responsibility to the group. Obviously, that turned out to be a big responsibility. After a slow and ackward start, and some subtle intervention, they got to doing. This way they ran into all the bigger and smaller challenges that are part of creating such a walk. It was great to have them experience that first hand.
9. Overruled: Rain is not an issue.
We had an alternative programm ready in case of rain. But anything less than creating a walk was clearly not accepted. This was a beautiful and powerful moment of the group taking responsibility for the process.
10. Closing circle
I wonder if we choose the right position for this closing session. In a way we went back, we tried to link the beginning of the day with the present. But the process had already moved beyond the initial walk.