By Michael Kirby
Michael Kirby provides a penetrating glance a theater concept and research. His technique is analytically accomplished and versatile, and nonevaluative. Case stories reveal this new angle and checklist performances that differently will be lost.
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Additional resources for A Formalist Theatre
This we could call the "static mode" of motion perception: the image is essentially unchanging through extended time. " Steve Paxton in English, one of his postmodern dance pieces, is performing a series of poses each taken from and based on a photograph of a person engaged in a sport. The image changes, but the action does not develop. Each moment is dynamically and structurally equal. This could be called the "transitional mode" of perception, in which a series of different present moments flow one into the other without creating operative memories or expectancies.
The meaning is the most important thing. There may appear to be another, more recent, model: that of intuition. Yet the fact that some artists work intuitively and some spectators use intuition in perceiving the work in no way modifies the communication model. Perhaps there are no obvious symbols in the work; form and content may be, so to speak, fused. Even so, if what is put into the work is what is supposed to be taken out, we have the communication mQdel. In a performance built upon this model, as most performances are, every element is intended to convey meaning or to aid in the process of decoding that meaning.
Even if the performers believed themselves to be dead, acting would have been involved. Belief would not change the objective fact that something or someone was being represented. This is not to say that belief cannot be an important aspect of acting in certain styles. A principle of the method that achieved the stature of a cliche was the attempt by the actors to believe what the character was doing. If they were successful, the audience would really believe, too. There is no question that this approach has frequently been successful.
A Formalist Theatre by Michael Kirby