National Theatre Studio
19 April 2009
Over two days, the SPILL National Platform presented 20 performance works by emerging artists, selected from almost 300 applications. The works reflected an incredibly diverse range of forms and themes: durational and installation work, engagements with the conventions of theatre, interactive provocations, and autobiographical narrative.
As writers, we knew we would be unable to respond in detail to all of the work, but we also wanted to avoid imposing any selective criteria, even a random one, on which work was covered. We decided in advance of the Platform that we would impose a constraint on our responses. This would provide a structure for giving equal space to each of the performances and would make the most of our limited time. We decided that we would respond to each of the works, and we would limit our response to the space of a 3x5 index card.
We like the idea that each of the identical cards seems analogous to the opportunity offered to the emerging artists: a blank slot, to be filled individually, but unavoidably to be experienced side-by-side with the rest of the programme, as part of an assembly or collection of material.
Although for the most part we have prepared our cards after the event, there’s also something about this format that reflects the experience of writing: taking notes in the dark, collecting fragments and impressions and responses. Trying to capture not just the event on stage but our internal journeys. Thinking always, at every moment, even before the moment has finished, about how to translate into words the transient and complex experience.
These cards are only scraps, only partial and inadequate records of the events of the weekend, but we hope something of the extraordinary and boundless diversity of work is reflected by these responses. Perhaps they can stand as the beginning of a discussion – please add your own comments below.
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Victoria Pratt - Chasing Next Door's Cat
by Mary Paterson
To read cards from day one click here.
The writers participating were Mary Kate Connolly, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Eleanor Hadley Kershaw, Mary Paterson and Theron Schmidt.