JULIAN MAYNARD SMITH (STATION HOUSE OPERA, UK): ABER BACKWARDS - A DIRECTORS' FORUM LABORATORY

Event Details

JULIAN MAYNARD SMITH (STATION HOUSE OPERA, UK): ABER BACKWARDS - A DIRECTORS' FORUM LABORATORY

Time: April 9, 2010 to April 11, 2010
Location: Centre for Performance Research
City/Town: Aberystwyth
Website or Map: http://www.thecpr.org.uk/proj…
Phone: 01970 622 133
Event Type: laboratory, directors', training, workshop
Organized By: Centre for Performance Research
Latest Activity: Apr 2, 2010

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Event Description

Life should go in certain patterns, but it rarely does. The opposite of the expected often makes psychological sense if you run it backwards. Someone thinks of their partner - never having met them. At first the thought pops in their head occasionally, but then it comes to mind more and more often; it becomes stronger and stronger until it is as if the thoughts themselves summon the partner into being: the two meet, although amid great arguments and recriminations. But it appears the relationship is destined for success; they become closer and closer, more passionate – though perhaps shallower. They are in love; neither can imagine ever arguing, they can see spending their lives together. Then quite suddenly they part, quite arbitrarily it seems, and forget the other completely. They never see each other again.

Our culture enforces a forwards-looking view of life. We believe in progress. We believe in a temporal sequence of cause and effect. All our emotional and social lives, our notions of justice, morality and logic are founded on forwardness. We punish people by removing them from time and throwing them in a cell where nothing they do can have any consequences. Strangely, many people also choose voluntarily to escape from the tyranny of sequential time through meditation, chanting, dancing and drugs. No matter that forward time is an illusion, it is as hard to escape as those persistent optical illusions that insist that one line is shorter than another or that a distorted room is square even if it means our admitting the people in it are of massively different sizes.

By definition backwardsness confounds our expectations, while illuminating the illusions that sustain social and emotional form. The architecture of behaviour is revealed. The possibility that success is actually failure, and vice versa, is given obvious, practical clarity.

Unlike other media in which notions of reversed time have been explored, in film and literature in the main, backwardsness in performance gives a live audience the experience of a familiar yet disturbingly different world that they are obliged to engage with directly, unmediated by a technology that may be used to reverse its content without reversing the world of the viewer. A backwards world performed live is uniquely powerful.

This laboratory will oscillate between practice and analysis; participants will work alongside Julian Maynard Smith in exploring themes such as backwards action, backwards thinking, backwards emotion, backwards politics whilst developing strategies for more extended performance ideas.

Julian Maynard-Smith is the Artistic Director of Station House Opera (UK).

http://www.stationhouseopera.com/

For more information or to book a place at the Directors' Forum please contact CPR


Email: cprwww@aber.ac.uk Phone: +44 (0) 1970 622 133

The Directors Forum has been made possible with the support of a project grant from the Arts Council of Wales. The Centre for Performance Research at Aberystwyth is a joint venture of The University of Wales Aberystwyth and Centre for Performance Research Ltd, working in close association with AU Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies.

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