The Performance.


This module was a hard module for me as throughout I struggled to come up with an idea I was passionate about. I had loads of ideas which ranged from body obsessions to loss to the subject of intimacy and getting close to people; especially the opposite sex. Once I had decided on the theme I wanted to concentrate on I had to come up with an idea. I eventually decided on doing a performance on the person that has influenced (in a bad way) on how I am with people today; especially the opposite sex. My Dad!. I came up with the idea of creating a park (where we first met after many years) and telling a story about the last time he betrayed my trust.


Performance day:: Studio set up

Performance day:: Studio set up. (Thompson, 2014)

I had three benches on either side of the studio creating a traverse performance space. I sat and performed on the middle bench on the right side of the studio. I was going to create an actual park, with swings and slides but it wasn’t relevant to my story, however, the benches where. I wanted the benches as people tell their life stories when their in the park with other parents.  I wanted to set it in a park for two reasons; 1. because the story begins there and 2. because parks are a happy place, I used to go there when i was a child and would be the happiest child there and I wanted to juxtapose the feelings and atmosphere that comes with the park. Adding to the atmosphere I used a sound scape of happy children playing and occasionally an ice cream van playing, yet again highlighting the happy which juxtaposes the sadness and intensiveness of the story being presented.

The story was set near Christmas, however, it was still sunny so i wanted the lights to reflect that. I had blue, yellow, white, green, orange and red, a mixture between autumn and winter because of the weather. To texture the lighting i added a twiggy gobo to represent the shadows from the bareness of the tree’s surrounding.

The performance began at 2:30pm, i had the audience capped at 15-20 as I wanted the audience to sit on the benches, so  could create an intimate setting. I also wanted people to stand as parents are usually stood as well. However, looking back on the performance I could have had more people as I feel there was enough room and it still would have been intimate.

I started the performance being ‘Daddies Little Girl’ the girl I wanted to be as a child. I wanted to start the performance with a sense of naivety, the naivety children have towards the world of relationships and family. Children see the world through rose tinted glasses, free from problems. I then go onto say “That’s the girl I wanted to be” highlighting the fact i didn’t have a relationship with my dad. Throughout the performance I go on to tell a story about my father and how he betrayed me for the last time, the story I feel was intense and emotionally draining on my part. Throughout the process of writing, progressing, rehearsing to performing was an emotional rollacoster of a ride. This makes me think of how much of this process was in fact a release for me and how far would I go to say how much of it was some sort of therapy for myself. I feel may solo performance artists go through this, such as Marina Abramović and Adrian Howells, many of their performances where influenced on their past. Abramović a communist past with little intimacy as a child with parents. Also Howells, he struggled with intimacy we know this as it states, I know how nourishing physical contact can be. I’m creating work about it because I don’t get it in my own life” (LGBTICONS, 2014 online), his performances did influence that, performances such as May I Have the Pleasure…? (2011).

In the performance i talk about the first meeting I have at the park with him, I had a lighting change which highlighted the empty seat next t me on the bench.. I wanted to highlight the empty seat to highlight the fact that although he was there on the bench with me at the time, he was still absent in his physical self and mind with the relationship we had; “all the upset, all the disappointments, all the empty promises”.

The empty seat. (Olerenshaw, 2014)

The empty seat. (Olerenshaw, 2014)

The performance itself went quite smoothly, I could’nt rehearse the performance much during the process as I struggled to get through it without breaking down. However, during the performance itself I controlled my emotion well. If I had to do the performance again i would have more audience members and would animate the different characters more.

Work Cited

LGBTICONS (2014) Adrian Howells: Death of an Icon [Online] Available from  [Accessed 21st May 2014].

Published in: Solo Performance on May 21, 2014 at5:40 pm Comments (0)

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