BACK TO OUR SENSES
Đ? Handbook for Trainers published by
LABYRINTHEME consortium, 2012 Author: Adrian Ciglenean (Romania) Editor: Lucian Branea (Romania) Publisher: BIVEDA NGO ISBN: 978-619-90033-1-2
The LABYRINTHEME project (510431-LLP-1-2010-1-RO-GRUNDTVIG-GMP) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
The LABYRINTHEME project (510431-LLP-1-2010-1-RO-GRUNDTVIG-GMP) was developed in 2011-2012 by BIVEDA (Sofia, Bulgaria), University of Bucharest, Epsilon III Association (Bucharest, Romania), The Manchester Museum (Manchester, UK), University of Balikesir (Balikesir, Turkey) and ONAGEB.SPAIN S.L. (Zaragoza, Spain). The LABYRINTHEME partnership was supported by a consistent number of associate partners, notably from Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, Iceland, and still counting. For a continuously updatable list of the work done and institutions involved, please check the Labyrintheme web page at http://labyrintheme.org and its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Labyrintheme. The author would like to thank Iwan Brioc for unconditional support and continuous inspiration in the practice and theoretical aspects of sensory labyrinth theatre.
Dear Reader, Welcome to Labyrintheme’s handbook for trainers and practitioners of sensory labyrinth theatre! The Labyrintheme project has brought together theatre makers, museum staff and enthusiasts, teachers, staff of educational institutions and students from a considerable number of countries. We call our handbook for trainers Back to Our Senses because we found during the piloting phase of the project that this is the main resource that sensory labyrinth theatre has to offer: a renewed perspective on the ways we perceive and acquire information through our basic senses. While everything around us competes in terms of getting bigger and louder it also risks becoming twodimensional and, frankly, quite boring. We found that this context is actually a great opportunity to surprise our audiences and visitors by becoming three-dimensional: focusing on creating an image inside the head and not in front of the eyes. The ‘theatre’ element comes in when we learn how to tune the five senses so that we create controlled sensory images and share these images on a human-to-human level rather than through a patronizing I-will-provide-knowledge experience. It also helps objective information to become personal again by means of storytelling. But more of this inside. The handbook is dedicated to all of you who have already found such an experience interesting and are willing to replicate it and/or adapt it to similar contexts. It’s a DIY guide that also makes constant reference to situations we’ve encountered in our Labyrintheme experience and may become subjects for further exploration. We hope you enjoy it, and please help us make it better by reaching us at http://labyrintheme.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/Labyrintheme
Readerâ€™s Guide Back to Our Senses is an educational resource divided into three sections: SECTION A is an introduction to the Labyrintheme project: what the project is and what it sets out to achieve, the partners and our ethos. SECTION B sets sensory labyrinth theatre in the context of participatory arts and outlines the key elements in creating a successful sensory labyrinth theatre presentation. Exercises to support your current experience as a trainer and various case-studies will be provided in the Handbook for Trainees: Itâ€™s all about games! SECTION C contains annexes and bibliography
Labyrinthteme is an international project co-funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Comission. The project’s aim is to explore best practices and develop an innovative model for engaging adult learners using participatory arts, methods and techniques within cultural and heritage institutions. The central outcome of LABYRINTHEME was to configure a training course and a series of workshops that support the use of participatory theatre approaches, methods and techniques in institutions managing and exhibiting heritage across Europe. The development of a project website and training handbooks are integral to the project, while the results and findings of the project are also shared with colleagues in various international seminars and conferences. WHO ARE WE? BIVEDA (Sofia, Bulgaria) has been in existence since 2000 as a nongovernmental and non-profit organization involving in its activities young practitioners in the field of performing arts and social sciences. Until 2005 the focus of those activities was mainly institutions for children deprived of parental care and reformatory schools, targeting young people at risk and using theatre as a social tool. It is the only theatrical group in Bulgaria practising Sensory Theatre – as community work, youth exchange theme, social work, and general public performances. EPSILON III ASSOCIATION (Bucharest, Romania) is a group of people passionate about what can be done with participatory arts and media to transform time, space, ourselves, and many other people around us. We are a voluntary not-for-profit group – so we do various things because they seem to be worth doing, or needed, at a certain moment, and NOT because we have schedule gaps to fill, or because boredom haunts us during long winter nights urging us to go out and do something impressive! THE MANCHESTER MUSEUM (Manchester, UK) is a University museum with a strong and loyal local following, which at the same time has global reach in terms of our collections and themes. Two principal themes drive everything that we do: promoting understanding between cultures and developing a sustainable world. In working on these themes we believe that as a University museum we should take risks and explore new approaches to museum practice. The Museum is strategically connected to the research and teaching activities of the University of Manchester and its collections
are extensively used in academic research. Additionally the Museum has a thriving learning and education department which provides a unique opportunity for students to engage with the collection and experts across a variety of subjects at all school ages. In its work with the wider community the Museum is nationally renowned for its ethical and innovative approach to working with communities – this includes collaborative exhibitions, events, programmes and consultation on Museum policy development and interpretation of collections. UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST (Bucharest, Romania) is a university with academic integrity and concern for critical thinking, a significant point of reference in society. Through its high standards of academic endeavour across all its departments, University of Bucharest sets forth to be the most important institution of higher education in Romania. University of Bucharest is a comprehensive university, oriented towards natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. It is involved in Labyrintheme with its Faculty of Geography. A Geography department has existed within University of Bucharest since 1900, the oldest in Romania. UNIVERSITY OF BALIKESIR (Balikesir, Turkey) was established with the coordination of local higher education institutions within the Balikesir province. It started off with only two faculties and a few vocational schools in 1992. Since then the university has developed rapidly and today, with the establishment of Faculties of Medicine and Maritime, it has nine faculties, five research institutes, twenty vocational schools and ten research centres. The University now has more than 30000 students and some 2000 staff. It is involved in Labyrintheme with its Faculty of Geography ONAGEB S.L. (Zaragoza, Spain) is a young company with entrepreneurial spirit composed of a team of professionals with highly specialized qualifications. Our work is focused on language teaching and adult education.
LABYRINTHEME ETHOS Our aim is to offer institutions and individuals in the educational field an efficient methodology and a simple toolkit which helps them restore interest in relevant content and basic human exchange, as opposed to individual alienation, gender and agebased exile, as well as cultural numbness induced by the bigger and louder forms of entertainment.
Theatre methodology is a tough thing to encapsulate, even tougher than dance or, for that matter, any other performing arts; and thatâ€™s why in order to get to definite aspects of methodology it is very useful to give it context, zooming in from a more general view to very concrete and specific aspects.
1. What are “participatory arts”?
hat clearly makes “participatory arts” different is audience. It is not enough to allow your audience to walk, comment, interact in order to be able to call yourself a “participatory artist” – you have to make your audience co-creator. Co-author, co-editor, spectactor, you name it – your audience bring in their own ideas, their own material, they participate in the assembling process and they are observers of the performing process as well. In his essay on the decline of participatory arts, Art Alienated (http://cafeirreal.alicewhittenburg.com/art_ alie.pdf, last accessed on 19.11.2012), G.S. Evans states that “active participation in art has been characteristic of human culture for most of its history and the commodification of art is a recent development in history.” The commodification of art began to spread during the 19th century alongside the rise of the “art specialists” and established itself at the beginning of the 20th century. This was when mass-media started to become… well, mass media, music began to be written and sold by a publishing industry as a product, and dance became less a community get-together and more of a “social” event (where one had to pay an admission to participate). This perspective, of course, turns Boal into a classic and Stanislavski into a modernist -- but it also gives karaoke a meaning, since many of us so naturally feel the need to express ourselves artistically in a community but are too often embarrassed about not being professionals, or not having developed a talent to an acceptable level, or even “not being creative enough”. On the other end of the spectrum, still calling “participatory arts” a more recent trend of using community theater as a basis for reality shows or advertising campaigns is a painful stretch. Probably a generally accepted premise (also based on empirical observation) is that any participatory art act should be more process-oriented than product–oriented, increasing awareness rather than promoting ideas.
2 What is Sensory Theatre? 2.1 Context
ll theatre relies on senses. We’re mostly aware of hearing and seeing the performance but there is something about the closeness and the “live” experience that decisively differentiates a theatre performance from a movie. But is that enough to make a performance reach us? Is it the “story” or the “liveness” element? In the middle of the 20th century, as a reaction to the elitist approach of Modernism and its impact in theatre performances, an increasing number of theatre makers started thinking that theatre had become too ‘educated’, too much of an ideas debate brought on stage, and had ultimately lost its connection with the audience. That`s why Post-modernity sought greater connection with broader audiences.
2.2 The post-modernist turn
oday we see the results of that “revolution” in the use of multi-media by theatre makers around the globe in order to widen their message in the performance through a greater variety of channels. The use of various materials from water and smoke to artcollages and live singing/painting also emphasizes this intention of theatre makers to connect. Sometimes, this is criticized as a “crowd pleasing” trend, sometimes it is seen as theatre’s struggle to keep up with its mission. One of the first main figures to signal this new approach was Bertold Brecht. Brecht tackled directly the foundation of modern theatre, Aristotle – as the generator of conventions and structural principles in theatre. Brecht attempted to break the cathartic process by, for example, having the characters remind audiences that what they’re witnessing is just a performance - he didn't want
audiences to empathise with the main character but rather to think about him (or her). He didn’t manage to get this analytical, ’unemotional’ response from his audiences as much as he had hoped but instead opened the way for further experimentation. One of these new directions, departing from Aristotelian premises but also aiming at “removing aesthetic distance”, is the one initiated by Antonin Artaud’s “Theatre of Cruelty”. Quoting the man himself, “the Theatre of Cruelty has been created in order to restore to the theatre a passionate and convulsive conception of life, and it is in this sense of violent rigour and extreme condensation of scenic elements that the cruelty on which it is based must be understood. This cruelty, which will be bloody when necessary but not systematically so, can thus be identified with a kind of severe moral purity which is not afraid to pay life the price that must be paid.” (The Theater and Its Double, 1958). Artaud wanted his audience to be engulfed and physically affected to such a degree that their full attention gets drawn into the performance, leaving no space for distractions and consequently creating maximum impact. In an essay on Sensory Theatre it is said that “in a way, the attention Artaud commanded from his public was only comparable to the raving crowds of the Colosseum during the Roman Empire. For Rome, the mob was power and for Artaud, the mob should have the power.” (http:// www.ukessays.com/essays/theatre/sensory-theatre.php, last accessed on 19.11.2012) Artaud’s approach inspired many theatre makers of whom one of the most prominent was Peter Brook, but for the purpose of this hand-book we mention his approach on theatre merely as a stepping stone towards a contemporary theatre maker who also thinks that a deep sensory impact of a performance on an audience empowers them, Enrique Vargas.
2.3 Teatro de los Sentidos
he sensory theatre developed by Enrique Vargas is a theatre genre that is not looking for answers, it settles for the questions. From a formal point of view this is quite a radical statement, since Varga’s Teatro de los Sentidos is not further developing Antonin Artaud’s “Theatre of Cruelty” but is merely focusing on sensory images, aiming towards a language based on that what is left unsaid. In that sense, Vargas is taking the same leap back in time as modern participatory theatre is, reconnecting theatre to the “ancestral oral traditions where silence is a necessary condition for an effective communication between the piece and the audience.” Theatre de Los Sentidos has been researching the Poetics of the Senses for 20 years, developing an educational platform called Tool Box (Caixa d’Eines) and sharing this ongoing research through workshops and monographic courses. Also a 2 semester Postgraduate Diploma on Sensory Language and Poetics of Play at University of Girona, Spain is introducing students to a process of learning, investigation and creation about game, body memory, sensory languages and the poetics of experience. Essentially, reclaiming the body as a source of knowledge, memory and expression would get the anthropologist and director Vargas closer to a modern dance or mime school approach, but his fascination actually resides in the dynamics of games and archetypes rather than the aesthetics of the moving body. It all started with his interest as a child in inventing new games to entertain adults while afterwards trying to keep theatre audiences as thrilled as if they were involved in a game. It all reached a point in which questioning the source of that thrill became the main interest of his research. Teatro de los Sentidos branched out into different companies inspired by Vargas’ work and set out to continue his research in Italy and Denmark. More about Teatro de Los Sentidos: http://www.teatrodelossentidos.com/eo/intro.php
3 From site-specific performance to the context-oriented theatre. 3.1 Site-specific and site-abuse
ere is an idea: sitespecific theatre is about space but is not always about location. You do have a site-specific performance so long as you’re aware of the physical nature of a context and implicitly find yourself in an artistic dialogue with it, but if you just place your performance in an unconventional location that’s not enough reason to call yourself sitespecific. The essence of this is communication as an immediate step that follows awareness. Lack of awareness means you don’t observe any “specifics” therefore you will not be able to develop any site-specific event. The term “site-specific reached theatre via the dance-movement in the 70’s but was originally used in the sculpture/art-installation scene. It basically means that you take the location into account when you’re planning and creating an artwork and it becomes essential in the process of creating a theatre labyrinth performance. It also brings in the dialogue and interaction between space and body, and that’s where site-specific and body-memory are coming together. The genuine dialogue with the physical space surrounding you has two major advantages: it brings your consciousness into the present moment, living in your senses here-and-now; and creates a dynamic and creative exchange between mind and matter.
3.2 Theatre of the Oppressed
ugusto Boal was a Brazilian theatre practitioner who created a set of theatre forms used for educational purposes, collectively called Theatre of the Oppressed. In his formal theatre education he found himself deeply inspired by the work of Brecht and Stanislavsky but as a citizen and educator his main influence was the work of theorist Paulo Freire. His theatre interaction with the social context in which it is performed in is best illustrated through Boal’s term, spect-actor. The spect-actor is an audience member who finds him/ herself not only an observer of a theatrical event but actively involved in it, able to intervene in the drama and modify its outcomes. Arguably the most concrete result of the latter implication is the Legislative Theatre form of the Theatre of the Oppressed which was proposed by Boal while he was a city councillor to give his voters the opportunity to voice their opinions and subsequently to propose laws to be passed. Boal’s work inspired and continues to inspire a great number of theatre makers and activists around the globe who see theatre-making as a tool to increase awareness, to involve and empower their audiences towards addressing specific issues in the specific social context of which they’re a part.
More about Augusto Boal: http://www.ptoweb.org/boal.html
3.3 Context Oriented Theatre
ugusto Boal has said “Theatre is the art of looking at ourselves”, but when I look I find nothing… a nothing from which everything arises and into which everything eventually falls. What if theatre, rather than explore the content of consciousness, explored its context?” says Iwan Brioc - applied theatre consulant and director of Cynefin Sensory Labyrinth Theatre Company Having worked with both Enrique Vargas and Augusto Boal and having, for more than 20 years, tested Sensory Theatre and Theatre of the Oppressed in different contexts, both as a director of Cynefin and an independent trainer, Iwan Brioc finds that there might be something in basic quantum physics that is also so very true in theatre. The result of an experiment says something about the observed interaction AND about the observer himself. Therefore theatre as a whole makes us aware of what is being staged AND of who we are/ were at the moment we’re witnessing the performance. In an immersive type of theatre, such as Sensory Labyrinth Theatre, the inner and outer experiences become one, they are not witnessed by anyone, they bring you into the here&now experience which is usually masked by audience/stage convention. You are the audience while you’re being the hero of the story and you are reflective while you’re also being active.
Here’s the original presentation, courtesy of Iwan Brioc: http://www.iwanbrioc.com/index.php?option=com_ content&view=article&id=39&Itemid=9
4 And what is Sensory Labyrinth Theatre? 4.1 The story
ets say that “participatory theatre” and “conventional theatre” are two realms longitudinally united by an imaginary twisted line. Somewhere on that line we find two beautiful neighboring cities: Sensory Labyrinth Theatre and Teatro de Los Sentidos. There are rumours that Artaud’s ghost is haunting Teatro de Los Sentidos and we know that there’s a big bay just north of Sensory Labyrinth Theatre named Bay of the Oppressed. Young people are meeting on the beach during the summer for passionate debates and community theatre. A big river from a mysterious mountain in the Conventional Realm runs all the way to and through Sensory Labyrinth City, and its name is Site Specific Performance. Its waters and abundance of threads nourish an ever-green field named “Context Oriented Theatre” where you can just lie down and be. Many of us have been there, actually most of the people in Labyintheme visited it and are telling stories about it. And this, of course, is just plain story-telling. See Annex 1 map for a better perspective. Iwan Brioc and Theatr Cynefin, the initiators and original developers of sensory labyrinth theatre, are stating that it “is an innovative methodology, inspired by the work of theatre anthropologist Enrique Vargas, for tunneling under generational and cultural barriers within communities. [Sensory Labyrinth theatre stands for] working with artists and volunteers to articulate and represent shared and individual senses of connectedness and belonging. These notions and findings are housed within a specially constructed sackcloth labyrinth through which the whole community is invited on a solo journey, barefoot through the darkened passageways, and to interact with the characters and artefacts enclosed within”.
4.2 How do we do it.
here are many ways to assemble a sensory labyrinth theatre performance, depending on: ● the context ● the theme of the performance ● the assembly team culture ● space and time availability ● goal (what type of awareness do we want to achieve) ● experience ● financial support and available materials Therefore each sensory labyrinth company is developing a unique style and there is no “manual” that guarantees a successful process and/ or result. Nevertheless, with experience comes learning and our learning is what we have set out to share with you in the present handbook. There is only one combination of elements that can overcome any difficulty and can make the difference in the end: the Team and the Coach. Also the Space, Time and Hazard approach is a must. But in the end it’s the Narrative approach that really can make the difference between one type of sensory labyrinth theatre and another, because the use of some Specific Elements and Techniques is entirely up to you. Let’s see:
4.2. a Teambuilding
ince the spectator becomes the main actor of sensory labyrinth theatre, the assembly team becomes everything else from the supporting actor (sometimes invisible during the performance) to the special effects supervisor. The team creates the script and brings it to life, getting ready to improvise, to follow and to adapt to any new
lead the protagonist might bring in. This combination of responsibilities comes with an advantage – everything you do in the performance is sharing: your stories, your set-up, your emotions. It is as genuine a human exchange as life. In sensory labyrinth theatre, almost everything you do, you do it through games. Inspirational speeches are welcomed at times and in small doses, but this is sensory theatre – so put the senses to work. ● use plenty of icebreaker exercises in the beginning to get the team members familiarized with each other’s names, and temperament – so that they get to know each other a little and also get a feeling of the group. ● give people opportunity through games to define themselves - what do they like, what do they dislike? ● give people opportunity to communicate through games what they want to achieve and how they would prefer to achieve it. This will enable you pretty soon to establish three vital elements on which any team is created and which determine any team’s functionality:
Focus – means establishing a common goal which becomes a priority when confronted with strictly personal issues of relatively equal importance.
Structure – a coherent yet still flexible system of sharing tasks and of distributing the means to achieve those tasks. The same goes for responsibilities.
Culture – individual and common values, rules, habits (cooperation resources). If you lack a coherent system of distributing tasks as well as a common purpose, that polarizes the attention and efforts of every group member; then the group is exposed to communication gaps which will eventually give way to personal irritation and frustrations. Setting up a common goal is not always an easy task and might take some time but not having a clear goal will make you waste even more time overall. It is also important to respect every member’s right to choose freely for him or herself when you’re setting up a common goal, otherwise when you need involvement all
you’ll get will be complaisance. Anything related to values, rules and habits can ease or break the working process. In anything one does it is important to have a personal space in which you feel free to express yourself in a personal manner. This has to be taken into account when you set up the team’s schedule. Tuning all these small particular details will pay off in the end generating energy and personal comfort. In the beginning of the Team building section we advised you to use games in order to make clear the next steps in defining and building up the team. Let’s make that even clearer.
Don’t skip any of the following steps: Informing: participants get to know each other, they receive information about the project, about the project’s objectives; a sense of the general cultural context is given, without getting too much into individual or particular details Deepening (investigating): participants are interacting in a free manner, expressing their preferences or their dislikes, they start ‘fighting’ for values that they truly support – overall a stage full of vitality and even conflicts, in which each one of those involved gets involved in the project on a personal level Norming: everybody is reaching a consensus concerning what the work should look like, a working structure is defined, a common goal is set. Work: everybody starts building up. If a team skips the informing stage, priorities will not be known and this will generate lots of pseudo-problems which will find their way into the group dynamics. If you don’t investigate , the team processes will lack energy and genuine personal involvement in the project, and if you skip the norming stage you will have a chaotic team which doesn’t go anywhere because it is held back by egos pulling anarchically in different directions. 19
An artists’ collective A special case is encountered when a collective of artists performing different disciplines sets out to create a sensory labyrinth theatre performance. In the investigating phase it might be useful to talk about the artistic vision of those involved. Someone’s aspirations give us insight into that person’s social living context, its character, its experience and the motivation that brought her/ him here, in this project. Working with a person whose motivation and purpose you are aware of might get a lot of misunderstandings and artificial conflicts out of the way. More than that, the collective has the chance to define a common vision, choose a certain type of collaboration and can then adequately set up the group’s mission. Knowing a group’s mission is a helpful achievement for the group as well as for the outside world. Inside the group the mission is the ground on which coherent communication is set, along with a system of decision-making, of critical examination and evaluation of the working process at different stages. In the outside world the advantage is that everybody will know who the collective is and what they want, giving clear information about the project’s value and utility.
How to get your mission on paper
● why are we here as a group/ collective? ● write down the most frequent key-words answering the above question ● make a selection of the most important ones (based on group’s vote) ● fill in necessary words to make it coherent ● what does everybody think about this? ● adjust towards the final statement The process that leads to putting the mission on paper is as important as the mission itself. If everybody is involved in the process of reaching the statement, then each of the members will understand in a clear and coherent manner the purpose of their efforts along the way.
4.2 b Coaching
s indicated earlier, organizing and coordinating such a team needs a coach who supports and inspires ideas helping the team to define and achieve its collective vision. The following: ● charisma/ good personality, ● original or innovative ideas, ● ability to motivate others, ● being informed, ● being a professional model to others will always come in handy. Which type of leader are you?
Charismaticus Egocentricus – often met in artistic or cultural environments - is the type of leader who tends to make a strong connection between project’s efficiency and his own presence/ ideas. He or she is often seen as an “inspirational” leader.
Technocratus Empiricus – is a cautious (sometimes over-protective) type of leader who makes a decision only if it’s based on his previous knowledge or experience. Always a reliable source for advice s/he is sometimes getting on everybody’s nerves because he doesn’t take any risks thus moving forward reaaaaally slow.
Pedagogus Modestus – is a very supportive type of leader, showing tons of understanding and support to every team member in any situation and always finding the proper piece of advice for anyone having a rough time. Consequently he is left with virtually no time for himself which eventually leads to his death through exhaustion or boredom.
Instructorus Professionalus – from the coach family of leaders - is the type of leader who moderates the group and helps each member reach a peak of creativity while taking care of his own needs. Moderating’ requires many skills and qualities but essentially brings everybody around a common denominator if the teambuilding process is healthy and the motivation and goals are clearly set.
Facilitatus Facilitatoris – more of an impartial observer of the group’s dynamics and processes, the facilitator is not an active creative member of the group. He doesn’t get involved in the creative process and/ or conflicts but provides feedback for the group when asked . Usually this is the type of leader used by collectives of artists that would use an “outside point of view” on their progress rather than guidance. Of course, as one can easily notice, we left out the Dictatorus Tyranicus and Manipulativus Sexualis since these types of leaders instantly compromise any participatory arts idea and cocreative team process. Such leaders are easily recognized because they constantly force their artistic ideas into the team creative process by means of power (physical or emotional) or by means of sexual charisma (they lack vision, knowledge or experience, but there is something irresistible about them). Most of the time a good coach of sensory labyrinth theatre has to be able to handle communication, conflicts and the decision-making processes.
Communication. Communication problems. Tension, fights and endless discussion generate irritation, lack of concentration and frustration. Beside feelings being hurt this also takes a lot of time to deal with. More than that even, each of these will generate a chain of further reactions and collateral actions which will cost even more time and energy. Sometimes the time and energy consumption is so great that the whole group has to settle for trying to achieve only a secondary objective or gives up the project entirely. It happens. But somewhere there is a cause and a solution to sort out this type of problem. And often communication is the key. Misunderstandings are part of any communication process. Being misunderstood is not a problem as long as we become aware of that and take the trouble to fix it. Communication means more than sending a message. The way the message is received sends a message in itself and the way I receive the receiver’s reaction is again sending out information. In every instance there’s
an opportunity of making contact and – if necessary – reformulating the initial message, sending another one or receiving in return a new message. Such communication is defining a relationship. And it addresses senses, thinking and will. At each moment in time we are bound to communicate on four channels: And this is triggering a very complex creative process which is so much more than just putting a message in someone’s mind. During the same process you’re building up a relationship while also learning something. Maybe you find it useful to see communication as a chronological sequence of events in time:
Obviously, it’s too complex a process to be consciously handled all the way. Not only because a message has four layers but because there are so many types of messages - including non-verbal, intonation, pitch, rhythm, etc. Because we cannot control all of it we rely most of the time on intuition in grasping what someone is thinking or truly feeling. But there is something essential that we can consciously do and that is called the management of attention. One should be able to focus on ● my message (what I want to send – vision) ● destination (what she/ he understands – reality) leaving enough room for intuition to fill in and generate spontaneous (authentic) reactions. Just an example of a variation, if while sending a message you’re also focusing on your own behaviour
you’re introducing a new point of attention in the process thus rendering it more complex and affecting clarity. Also, communicating while setting ourselves on automatic pilot places our focus on everything else but the message, turning communication into non-communication.
Conflicts vs. Fights 1. Where there is no communication there is usually conflict. 2. Not listening to someone but interpreting some disparate signals according to our own emotional or thinking patterns aggravates conflicts. 3. When two adults are loudly crying out their unfulfilled needs while paying no attention to the other’s, long enough for it to escalate emotionally, that usually ends up in fights. Now, in-between the three stages, conflicts provide plenty of opportunities to re-establish communication. While exploring that possibility, misunderstandings can come to light, positions held can be re-adjusted, and a bridging process might occur. What might still generate intensity is emotions. When emotions take over all parties of a conflict, they find it impossible to get over the wall of their own emotions and communication is dead. The moment in which a conflict turns into a fight is the exact moment when the emotions took over one of the parties. This doesn’t mean that emotions are “bad”. Rather, the opposite seems to be true, they are a signal, a ticking clock attached to a bomb signaling the time left until detonation if communication will not occur and defuse it.
Learn how to recognize different strategies of approaching a conflict Avoid (participant lacks self-trust, is non-cooperative) Conflicts are not solved since those involved are not taking each other seriously. A good strategy when the general mood is getting a bit too tensed and things need to cool down a bit or when the reason for conflict is trivial or cannot be sorted out. Also a good strategy when there’s a possibility that new information is at hand that might radically change the situation.
Obey (Adapt) (lacks self-trust, cooperative) Altruistic self-neglect. The “let’s make everybody happy” pattern. Repressed negative emotions are blocking the way to finding a creative solution. There’s no feedback, nobody’s offering, nobody’s receiving. Might prove itself to be a useful strategy at first when establishing a new relationship, when you try to get someone to trust you or when the reason for conflict is unimportant.
Fight (Force) (self-trusting, non-cooperative) “All or nothing!” Power oriented. Generates distant relationships, characterized by lack of trust in others and might lead to stubborn and quiet resistance. A good strategy in a crisis situation.
Compromise (self-trusting, cooperative) Brings in calm and some satisfaction but none of those involved is fully happy. A good temporary solution.
Open-confrontation (self trusting, cooperative) Everyone is given the chance to make his thoughts known and also to know what the other is thinking. Win-win solution since frustrations are eliminated and suspicions are clearedout. The emotional and rational facets of the debated issue are openly confronted and secondary aspects are nuanced. Negative emotions towards the current relationship are expressed and misunderstandings are brought to light. This strategy requires openness on the part of all conflicting parties. Each finds new things about others’ perspectives which gives way to change and subsequently an evolution of the current situation. For a start, here’s a number of common mistakes a coach usually makes, which will hopefully be updated in the future by your own: ● If you are a full-time coach, involved in the creative process as well, don’t forget about your own needs, personal space and private time. ● Don’t forget that decision-making is your responsibility. Be informed about the opinions of members of your
group but if making a decision takes too much time, it is up to you to make progress. ● Don’t waste the group’s time on petty complaints but do find the time to address some minor details that would make them happy. ● Always be honest but never be cruel.
4.2 c Space, Time and Hazard
ow that we have a team and a coach all we need is Space, a bit of time and a sensible attitude towards the hazard element.
Space In section 3.1 of this hand-book, concerning site-specific performance, we tried to put an emphasis on the importance of dialogue with space and some immediate advantages one can get from a genuine communication with the performance space. Of course, this is the case with any performing art but with sensory labyrinth theatre it becomes crucial. Why? First of all: because it is a source of inspiration during the process of creating the performance. The features of the space, in terms of luminosity, colour, smell, even – dare we say – texture, are the main and first object of the creative team’s awareness since that space will become their home during performance. Secondly, because in order to be able to improvise safely during the performance and to respond to the protagonist’s (audience) reaction, you have to be fully accommodated to physical features of the performance space. And third, because every space involves a different degree of hazard and that degree influences greatly the nature of the moment that is performed in it.
We have three types of labyrinth as far as space is concerned: ● outside, ● inside and ● mixed. Let’s think of them in terms of hazard, routine and customization.
Outside spaces involve a high coefficient of awareness and observation to be ‘known’ and subject to a lot of hazard: weather, hazards triggered by human or any other living creature or any other imaginable hazard. The customization involves a lot of effort which sometimes doubles with the efforts to keep it stable. Nevertheless, all these disadvantages can be turned around with a good idea that puts the audience on the other side of the fence, where it’s getting really hard to guess what is staged in such a huge amount of unpredictability and what is not. Anyway, getting to know the routines of the space in terms of light, probability and type of activities that are usually taking place in the area gives the performer the confidence to embrace the unknown element. Always observe and take notes on outside spaces, always be prepared to encounter novelty and to improvise around it as if “you meant it to be there”.
Inside spaces are either inhabited, functional or deserted. The hazard element varies from high, in the case of inhabited spaces, towards low in the case of deserted spaces. The customization factor follows the same pattern. The routine for an inhabited space is less predictable than the one for a functional space and very predictable in the case of the deserted one. Generally speaking, the inside spaces are safer than the outside spaces with an accent on the fact that the functional and the inhabited spaces are owned and subject to reluctance or negotiation concerning the customization and, especially, the performance aspect. The owners of such spaces should be made aware in detail about the implications of a sensory labyrinth performance in their spaces.
While providing safety, the inside spaces are inviting the protagonist (audience) to improvise or to express more freely due to the same safety element. Therefore the performer should be ready for hazard elements coming from the protagonist and make the inside space his well-known ally and support.
Mixed spaces imply an increased awareness of the mixed nature of hazards and therefore require adequate solutions to deal with the timing of the audience journey through the labyrinth.
Time It was already demonstrated to you in the training course during the Doodling Senses Exercise that even an in-experienced team of labyrinth makers can set up an improvised performance in less than an hour, so time is not an issue as long as you have the proper coaching available. A more interesting implication is that of timing during the sensory labyrinth performance. In this context, timing is the fixed period of time that passes between an audience member and the next entering the performance. During the final rehearsals everyone should be aware of how long every moment lasts and what is the timing of the performance. Only the coach can make adjustments to the timing during the performance since any other memberâ€™s decision would force other performers to stretch or to condense their moments which may create accidents such as one protagonist meeting another. The performance duration is entirely up to the team to decide;, usually, the average sensory labyrinth theatre per audience member lasts somewhere around 40 minutes. Please be aware that time flies and, with time, light changes so plan your moments/ performance time carefully.
Hazard A beautiful implication of Nassim N. Taleb’s “Black Swan” on sensory labyrinth theatre helps us make a difference between prediction and prognosis. While it is stupid to predict how things will develop during a sensory labyrinth theatre performance, it is absolutely mandatory to make a prognosis based on observation and experience during the preparation phase. There's a huge element of the unknown and of hazard in our daily life but that doesn’t stop us enjoying life and we advise you to take the same approach towards the unknown and hazard in the labyrinth. You should reduce the risks of putting your audience in genuine danger as close to zero as possible; that is the only hazard we cannot afford. Anything else is open to your creativity, and one of the reasons we love this type of theatre is that it offers enough unpredictability to stir our imagination and to provoke our ability to tackle difficulties.
4.2 d Narratives
ny sensory labyrinth theatre performance is based on sensory images, a concept extensively researched by Enrique Vargas and Theatro de Los Sentidos but on which one can find references even in Hindu traditions of 3000 years ago. Since we call reality the totality of impulses and processed signals we receive through our senses, the reality is in all of its aspects composed of sensory images. Again, awareness and oriented attention are the elements that make a difference and the way we choose to share that awareness leads us to different ways to tell a story. The epistemologist Nassim N. Taleb again provides great insight at this point, defining the narrative fallacy as “our tendency to construct stories around facts which, in love for example, may serve a purpose. But when someone begins to believe the stories and accommodate facts into the stories, they are likely to err.”
It is indeed our experience as theatre makers that, when we translate a story into sensory images and share them through a sensory labyrinth performance, those images become sensory impulses which connect into a narrative a story that the audience member follows through. Since this is art, we’re basically not concerned if the story the audience get is “true”, as long as it has relevance for him/ her and he/she deeply connects with it. But artists are aiming differently with this and here’s just a few such approaches, based on the material of their narratives. We’d like to emphasize that this is not a classification of sensory labyrinth theatre into sub-genres but an attempt to identify different types of narratives based on existing information about performances and research developed by sensory theatre and sensory labyrinth theatre companies.
Enrique Vargas connects sensory impulses in a very controlled way, based on empiric observation during his decades of research combined with philosophical studies on senses and poetry. As you might have experienced during the piloting sessions or the main training course, such exercises as the “sensory haiku” are challenging the recreation of an image from memory into a combination of sensory impulses which are eventually translated into a short written poem by a virtual audience. In order to be able to create a sensory poem you have – as in the case of a written poem – to master the language (of senses in our case) in order to be able to share not only one image but a sequence of images tied together by very fine knots. In this case the narrative is a poetic narrative, as abstract and refined as it gets. Another path initiated by Teatro de los Sentidos and further developed by Cynefin in Wales and Biveda in Bulgaria is the classical narrative of storytelling. It relies on characters and/or archetypes who are becoming part of an interactive story deeply involving the audience on a sensory level but also on a psychological one, since archetypes provide the support for a more personal narrative through their universal nature. This variety of sensory labyrinth theatre is also one of the most
entertaining since it offers the audience the opportunity to embody a character who maybe he previously identified with while reading a story or seeing a movie. An even more unsettling experience can be triggered by a more ancestral type of archetype, from the primordial variety spectrum defined by Carl Gustav Jung as rooted in the collective unconscious and reflected throughout the entire history of humankind. The narrative relies in this case more on symbols, rituals, and nonverbal communication â€“ since a sensory experience that allows us to connect these dots has greater chances of immersing us into an anciently inspired experience narrative and a mystical narrative. An approach developed by Cynefin Sensory Labyrinth Theatre Company and embraced further by Epsilon III in Romania is that of a theme-oriented narrative or community-oriented sensory labyrinth performance. In this case the co-creators are members of a specific community, the preparation stage collects relevant stories or experiences that define that community and offers them to an audience from outside or a mixed audience (community representatives and outside individuals). Again, the sensory element offers an increased and deepened awareness of how it is to be part of the community and the narrative is just the support for emotional continuity or a coherent thread to support the sensory experience. The storytelling chapter will provide further information on creating an efficient narrative using different types of languages and characters inspired by various classifications of archetypes.
4.2 e Specific elements and techniques
t this stage of sensory labyrinth theatre methodology development a couple of elements are constantly brought in to the performance without actually being mandatory in any way. It is as easy to explain sensory labyrinth in practice as it is difficult to define it on paper, but the next
trademark elements will perhaps give a better idea of it than the rest of this handbook.
The Blindfold Blindfolding the audience is the most simple and efficient way to immerse someoneâ€™s attention into the reality of his own senses. The outer visual sense fades while the inner visual sense becomes more active altogether with heightened sense of smell, touch, deep hearing and even taste. The performers and co-creators of the labyrinth should undertake intensive training on becoming more aware of their senses so that they can get accustomed to the perception of reality through the blindfold and tune their sensory impulses accordingly during the performance. Any study of the senses is useful since by alternatively focusing our attention on them we activate them. This should not sound pretentious because we claim no scientific expertise to support this, but we noticed that there is a different degree of intimacy in the way reality is reflected into our brain through our senses; referring to this gets really useful during exercises.
Seeing Our ability to see (and to imagine/ activate inner landscapes) defines our most outer limits of interaction with space, defining the outer limits of the perceivable Universe (we cannot imagine the unseen). At the same time it is the most volatile perception since only by seeing space you’re not interacting in any way with it, you’re a passive observer of coordinates, approximate distances, shapes, colors, textures. Of all outside phenomena, seeing is strongly connected with light, being able to travel great distances in an instant while also being, virtually, ungraspable.
Hearing is a totally different situation, the sound wave being physically propagated through gas/ liquid at a certain frequency and thus activating (or not) a set of bones which translate the wave into a physical signal - decoded by the brain in terms of distance and direction. Both seeing and hearing give us a sense of where we are placed in the surrounding space.
Touch is where the inner space (inside the skin) gets to be separated by the outer one, defining clear(-er) limits and gets more direct/ concrete information from the outside.
Smell is where outer space in the form of volatile chemicals gets to become part of the inner space in a friendlier manner; the separation between outside and inside gradually fades.
Taste The final frontier, taste, decides what spaces are more suitable to enter our space, to be assimilated, to become us. Tomato space, a cube shaped piece of chocolate, you name it. The Taster is the king’s most trusted man, having a final word on what’s edible space and what might just have tricked eyes, ears, skin and nose. Various examples of exercises on the senses are provided in the handbook for trainees.
The Maze A spiralling tunnel with walls made usually out of cloth (fire-proof, if you intend to use open fire sources), the ‘maze’ is hanging by a solid grid made out of wood, wires, or other materials. We call it ‘maze’ in a metaphorical sense, since the physical structure is a very simple labyrinth design. But in this simple structure your imagination jumps back and forth bringing out subconscious fears of failure or dead ends, archetypal characters that connect archetypal active figures in your life and - most of all - the fear of getting lost in your own life or endlessly running in circles. While your life can be looked back as a single sinuous path from entrance to the end (a labyrinth), the experience of being alive puts you constantly in the position to choose correctly between a left or a right turn (the ‘maze’), exercising your free will in the process of creating your own, unique path. There’s a way spiraling in (A), a central passage and a way out (B). The ‘maze’ is a space for intimacy, a great place to encounter characters, to deepen the mystery, to “pass an ultimate test”, to find a better question.
A ‘maze’ in the labyrinth? Is there any difference? Yes, you may plan your whole performance as a huge ‘maze’, but for the rest: - The difference between a labyrinth and a ‘maze’ is usually pointed out as being that a labyrinth is a one way in - one way out twisted path, while the ‘maze’ has many alternative routes. That seems to be true in the case of sensory labyrinth theatre since, indeed, overall the labyrinth performance is one adventurous path from an entrance to an end and the ‘maze’ – as you could experience it yourselves – is a somehow trickier part along the itinerary.
- Another difference is that the ‘maze’ has a core, a central piece. After that there’s still a long way out, sometimes the same as your way in but from a changed perspective. While in the labyrinth you keep going and most of the time don’t know where the half is. - But the labyrinth is a challenge in itself, the ‘maze’ has a ‘boss’, a central challenge, a bottom or a peak. - Compared to the labyrinth, the ‘maze’ is more often associated with false walls, altered perceptions, the subconscious.
Labyrinth Think of the whole performance as a journey every member of the audience gets to experience in a unique way, individually. (Sometimes performances are built to be experienced consecutively by small groups or by individuals at a very fast pace.) The quest can be more concrete (rationally moving from a point to the next based on new clues) or leaving more leeway to personal interpretation and shared experience.
Guidance While driving the spect-actor by holding hands is a common practice - especially on a blindfold section of the labyrinth â€“ providing confidence, calm and building trust, it might also get boring or obstructive at times. Thatâ€™s why using ropes or fake walls, or sound signals or even smell is always appreciated as an alternative or diversification.
hat makes a good story and what does it take to be able to deliver it properly? Content and delivery. Message and channel. Communication. But it is apparent that telling a story is so much more than just delivering a message. After all, yes, you come out of the experience with a refreshed insight into a topic, with a perspective or with something you learned – and you find yourself more or less capable of putting that ‘before and after’ difference into words. And it is in this ‘less’ where we find storytelling relevant for the sensory labyrinth experience, since senses – as a theatrical language – are, too, detached from the rational mind which is in a constant process of making sense of what you feel. To put it simply , we will not limit our understanding of the “telling” part of the word ‘storytelling’ to something that is being said but rather we expand it to the more general, dynamic side, the “in progress” character of telling a story.
5.1 Creative writing to modern theatre genre 5.1 a Creative writing
nde r sta nda bly, storytelling is the bread and butter of any creative writing endeavor, since the discovery of writing. Before that, we know that stories were living on by being told, memorized and retold. And before that we imagine that they were probably told by inarticulate sounds and vague gestures and simple lines drawn on caves walls. We don’t actually know that, so this is a story in itself But let’s start with this, because this never changed. In terms of supporting a story, the language doesn’t have to be precise and articulate – it rather has to give way to free associations and stir images in the mind of the audience. If it is a good story, it also needs to trigger feelings, to move an audience.
As the need for a good story increases we lose track of so many various ways stories are delivered to us on an hourly basis: drama, novels, advertising, blockbuster screenplays, children books, twitter messages, 5 o’clock news and even effective slideshow presentations: creative writing is shaping our reality faster and on a bigger scale than ever. In our new global village era, the internet makes it possible for us to continuously see and hear stories from all over the world. But regardless of how viral a clip or a meme can get these days, we still need story masters to explain why it works:
“[…] stories are important. People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around. Stories exist independent of their players. If you know that, knowledge is power. Stories […] have evolved. The weakest have died and the strongest have survived and they have grown fat on the retelling… stories, twisting and blowing through the darkness. And their very existence overlays a faint but insistent pattern on the chaos that is history. Stories etch grooves deep enough for people to follow in the same way that water follows certain paths down a mountainside. And every time fresh actors tread the path of the story, the groove runs deeper. This is called the theory of narrative causality and it means that a story, once started, takes a shape. It picks up all the vibrations of all the other workings of that story that have ever been. This is why history keeps on repeating all the time. So a thousand heroes have stolen fire from the gods. A thousand wolves have eaten grandmother, a thousand princesses have been kissed. A million unknowing actors have moved, unknowing, through the pathways of story. It is now impossible for the third and youngest son of any king, if he should embark on a quest which has so far claimed his older brothers, not to succeed. Stories don’t care who takes part in them. All that matters is that the story gets told, that the story repeats. Or, if you prefer to think of it like this: stories are
a parasitical life form, warping lives in the service only of the story itself.” (Terry Pratchett, in Witches Abroad) But there’s no point in stories being told if there isn’t someone to listen to it. A listener. An audience.
5.1 b Storytelling Theatre
s in Western theatre a modern form of the ancient and widespread art of the cult theatre: story with a social learning value: theatre as a mirror for society and a catalyst of its moral and aesthetic evolution. It all started with rituals being staged for better understanding of the relationship with the divine or for exemplary, heroic manifestation of human qualities in various stances. From the actor embodying an African god of fertility to the one embodying the Christ on the cross – cult theatre started as a vehicle for catharsis (cleansing of the soul) - and its actor’s main ability was to empty his body from self and become a manifestation of Divine in his various aspects. As beliefs moved on, every generation’s ideal shaped the protagonist further , moving through martyrs, heroes/ heroines, kings and queens, exceptional characters tormented by doubts or psychological dramas and, eventually, fully relatable characters telling autobiographical stories or archetypal plots in a very plain and simple manner using only voice and gesture – which is what modern storytelling theatre stands for. Also, storytelling theatre is the point where two major audience threads join: theatre audience (select, ritually spaced, intellectually inclined, ethically and aesthetically oriented) and private audience (secular, domestically spaced, emotionally inclined, praising instincts, common sense and emotional intelligence). The genre became remarkably popular in the last 15 years all over the world involving contexts in various forms.
5.1 c Storytelling in the sensory-labyrinth theatre performance Referring back to the 4.2.d section of the present Handbook, concerning the various types of narratives used in sensory-labyrinth theatre, there’s a brief initial remark to be made: storytelling gets to be more important in the grand scheme of things than storytelling theatre. Even when the narrative is following a more rational pattern and develops a story around a conventional display of theatrical characters or archetypal figures - the personal aspect of actor/audience one-to-one encounter makes it so that it becomes personal above anything else. Skills are more than welcomed but they submit to authenticity as you still use discipline and passion as means to support presence of spirit and inspiration. The bard, or “the gift of the gab”, takes over not because the bard doesn’t need a cultivated talent, but because the bard is always expressing his true feelings. A brilliant actor performing inside a sensory-labyrinth performance in the classical theatrical stage/auditorium convention makes this convention a theatrical element in itself, part of a private theatrical convention. The actor’s main ability is to become context since the protagonist is the ‘spectACTor’ himself. The actual story is as personal and unique as the experience of reading Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Back to Terry Pratchett’s quote, the story “once started takes a shape” and “warps life in its own service”. Which adds up to the experience: while becoming the protagonist of the sensory-labyrinth theatre performance, you also witness yourself becoming the storyteller. This is all so mind-fogging. If the spectACTor is the protagonist, the storyteller and the observer are all one at the same time.
What is the actor doing in a sensory labyrinth performance?
All of the above. In order to create a relatable experience with emotional depth, the actor ● creates a listening space within himself. Is centering himself within his breathing, embraces his inner context and starts listening to his own resonance; then
● observes his own reactions towards the theme of the performance. Focuses on “how it feels like” rather than “what I think of”. Translates it into sensorial stimuli (inspired by the feelings). ● intuitively finds a physical working-space and materials suitable for the artistic expression of all his observations ● creatively embodies that material or expresses it in a repeatable act or a welcoming space by getting inspired by objects or situations that “resonate” with the “atmosphere” previously observed ● expands his awareness towards other members of the creative group and - based on affinities or through the coaching process of the trainer - finds where the experience he is facilitating “fits”, or not, in the given context ● adapts it so that everything gains the desired flow from the previous to the next moment of the performance, without compromising the personal content ● shares that content with the spectACTor as if he is just a reflection of self, an alter-ego experiencing it while also enriching it with his observed reactions (instant feedback) ● repeat a), b) and adapt d), e), f), g). We think that these steps are to be taken into account during basically any storytelling experience since so much information is communicated through non-verbal language. The success of a public speaker, for example, depends so much on his body language, emotional involvement, context and adaptability that we would rather train awareness in these areas rather than focus on the linguistic skills. Each part of the “told” story - regardless of the verbal or non-verbal language - will have a beginning, a development and an end. While the development is fully adjustable, the beginning and the end have a more permanent character, since they are connected to the preceding and following elements of the labyrinth.
5.3. The “lost” story It is often being said by sensory-labyrinth theatre practitioners that being in the “labyrinth” is a metaphor for your sense of being alive, and the feeling of being lost experienced directly in the performance resonates with the feeling of being more or less lost in front of the unpredictability of life itself. As you cannot counterfeit the AUTHENTICITY of being alive, you should aim at facilitating, sharing or genuinely offering an experience rather than inducing, controlling or exhibiting a behaviour. Also the presence, the ability to be aware of the present moment on simultaneous different levels – the full experience of NOW – generally addressed as awareness, contributes greatly to the relevance of the experience. The mind-set (actor’s and equally spectACTor’s) should be opened as much as possible to free associations without over-stimulation or blockage. Regardless, you can increase expectations or send the mind on a mystery-track, or whatever you think might be an elegant flow of thoughts. So, as a general rule, PLAYFULNESS is the best underlying tactic one is safe to use during the sensory-labyrinth theatre performance. It is our shared understanding, from experience, that the mind gets freer with education, so we strongly advise aesthetic and practical education of the mind which will greatly benefit the quality of the sensory-labyrinth experience. If anything stated before might seem to suggest otherwise – that is not at all meant to diminish the importance of the rational. It is only meant to enhance the importance of other dimensions to life, not least those of the irrational or unknown, which are so often ignored. As any lost experience seems to need some consolation, mental or physical, COMFORTING is welcomed whenever the spectACTor shows signs of frustration or impatience.
SECTION C S ANNEX 1. MAP OF PARTICIPATORY THEATRE
ANNEX 2. LABYRINTHEME TRAINING COURSE OUTLINE
Labyrintheme training course detailed description
Background The rationale of the Labyrintheme training course is to support the use of participatory theatre approaches, theatre methods and techniques (mainly sensory labyrinth theatre) in institutions managing and exhibiting hertage across Europe.
Objectives The trainer’s goal is to facilitate a good team-building process so that he can offer concise theoretical information about participative arts (mainly sensory labyrinth theatre) while backing it up with relevant practical exercises. Also, the trainer’s aim is to provide enough space for participants in the training’s outline so that they can provide information and raise questions about how the material presented can or cannot be adapted to their work environment. Overall, each training course has a direct outcome in the form of a sensory labyrinth theatre presentation. The trainer will guide the team through the process of emulating this performance based on their own ideas and materials. The trainees should be introduced to the sensory labyrinth theatre method and should get the chance to explore or to sketch its use in their respective work environment. They should gain general theoretical and practical knowledge about participatory arts and should be offered the possibility to address various challenges that might occur in adapting the training’s content to their work. Either they choose to fully replicate the method when back home or just to let themselves be inspired by
it, they will get a set of materials to back up their training. Additionally, the trainees will get the chance to exchange information with members of other institutions managing and exhibiting heritage across Europe as well as with other adult education trainers.
Required competences of trainer/s Due to the complex structure of the group of trainees, the trainer should be experienced in facilitating communication and defining the culture of a group with a mixed background. Because this is a training course that has a pretty clear research feature, the trainer should not only have experience in making sensory labyrinth performances, but in working with other participatory arts as well. It is expected that the group will have a pretty solid formal educational background, which suggests that the trainer should handle well the theoretical aspects of his presentations and also be able to back-up other theoretical presentations with practical examples. Overall he should mainly conduct the training as a moderator (facilitating exchange between members of the group) and as a coach (guiding the team-building process and the presentation of the method). A slightly stronger lead should be provided in the making of the presentation, when the short period of time provided for emulating a sensory labyrinth performance will require a fast decision-making pace.
Required competences of trainees There are basically two profiles of the trainees attending such a course with a large degree of interchangeable features in between. First, the practitioner of participatory arts that is willing to develop further his/her experience as trainer or facilitator in the educational/ managing and exhibiting heritage area. And secondly, someone who works already in the field of managing and exhibiting heritage area/ education who is willing to bring in to their work a more unconventional/ interactive/ efficient touch.
Day 1 MORNING SESSION: 10.00 – 13.00 Introduction and induction of the participants ACTUAL CONTENT Formal introduction of the Labyrintheme project and the Labyrintheme team and training, and the supporting staff to the participants. Presentation of training facilities, ‘house rules’, and week’s schedule. Making adjustments if needed. Introduction of the trainer and guests. Exercises: ice-breakers and introduction of participants in the form of exercises led by trainer.
RESOURCES USED balls, coloured pencils,
AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.00 – 18.00 Defining group culture/ introducing creativity/ surprise - presentation of sensory labyrinth theatre. ACTUAL CONTENT Personal objects are brought in by the participants and exhibited in the form of an exercise. Afterwards the same objects are used in a creative exercise. An impromptu performance is made by two teams (the participants group split in half) which are given the task to create a blindfolded version of sensory labyrinth theatre performance for each other (using a set of rules given by the trainer) RESOURCES USED personal and collected objects which the participants find meaningful paper/ colours/ strings/ scotch/ sensory-friendly objects, etc. blindfolds/ 2 spaces (interior and exterior) EVALUATION OF DAY 1 Following the excitement of the impromptu performance, hopefully the feed-back will circle around the sensory labyrinth theatre, exchanging feelings, impressions.
Day 2 WARM-UP (OPTIONAL): 8.45 - 9.30 Good morning, senses! MORNING SESSION: 10.30 – 13.30 Theory-focused session: Performance and space, labyrinth theatre (see separate description) AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.30 – 18.30 It is always about context, it always starts with Space. Practical introduction to site-specific performance. ACTUAL CONTENT A series of exercises supporting the morning session’s theoretical module. Deciphering space’s functionality and unintentional messages, getting a feeling of spaces as inevitable background for performing any actions in that respective space and using the space to support our message. The exercises should benefit from, and build on, Day 1 exercise of instant creativity and of experiencing a performance space while being blindfolded. The ready-made exercise.
RESOURCES USED personal and collected objects which the participants find meaningful, various spaces (exterior and interior) EVALUATION OF DAY 2 A more formal evaluation of the foreseeable applicability of the theoretical module and the practical afternoon session in various work environments back home. Connecting the dots between the performance of Day 1 and the importance of space in sensory labyrinth theatre.General evaluation of the first two days and looking forward to the days to come.
Day 3 WARM-UP (OPTIONAL): 8.45 - 9.30 Good morning, senses! MORNING SESSION: 10.30 – 13.30 Theory-focused session: Performing and interpreting [heritage] spaces and artefacts (see separate description) AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.30 – 18.30 Session about inventing characters. Creating the voice of an object. ACTUAL CONTENT Various exercises about embodying objects, creating characters out of objects and artefacts. Improvising stories from the P.O.V. of the objects. Introducing “the Maze” as a key element of sensory labyrinth theatre. Improvising “The Maze Museum”. RESOURCES USED Personal and collected objects which the participants find meaningful. Black or dark-coloured cloth (minimum 2.50m x 50m). Rope. Wood/ plastic/ rope grid to hang the Maze.Cold light (Led based lamps/ lanterns + batteries) Sensory-friendly objects (bells, fruits, scents, etc.) EVALUATION OF DAY 3 The evaluation will circle around previous experiences or future prospects of presenting artefacts in an unconventional manner, using them as source of inspiration for creating a character and using senses stimulus to amplify their monologues. What was the most meaningful/ touching exhibit of the day and why? What is the situation with Performing and interpreting [heritage] spaces and artefacts in participants’ home countries?
Day 4 WARM-UP (OPTIONAL): 8.45 - 9.30 Good morning, senses! MORNING SESSION: 10.30 – 13.30 Theory-focused session: Story and narrative
AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.30 – 18.30 The sensory image and the poetics of senses. ACTUAL CONTENT Doodling with Senses exercise. How to deliberately create a sensory image and how to share it. The Sensory Haiku Exercise. How to support a team member in creating a sensory image, how to receive a sensory image. The sensory narrative. How to tell a story without words. RESOURCES USED Personal and collected objects which the participants find meaningful. Sensory-friendly objects (bells, fruits, scents, etc.). Various spaces (exterior and interior). EVALUATION OF DAY 3 The evaluation will focus on the importance of personal input in narrating a story and on the sharing quality of telling a story. Since we expect our participants to be particularly touched by the type of work they performed today, we will ask everybody to offer individual and private feedback on paper / recorded material. That’s why we aim at keeping the evaluation of day 4 to a minimum and instead have a throwing out ideas for performance’ – a one-hour session (starting time to be decided by the group).
Day 5 WARM-UP (OPTIONAL): 8.45 - 9.30 Good morning, senses! MORNING SESSION: 10.30 – 13.30 Group dynamics and individual preparation for build-up. Build-up no.1. ACTUAL CONTENT After a few exercises to release pressure on the upcoming presentation the participants will be given the time to come up with and develop individual ideas and materials. At mid-morning ideas and materials will be shared and similar ideas will be shaped in definite, small group idea for performance while those who wish to perform individually will do so. AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.30 – 17.30 Build-up no.2. ACTUAL CONTENT Finishing set-up for the presentation. RESOURCES USED (BOTH SESSIONS) Personal and collected objects which the participants find meaningful. Sensory-friendly objects (bells, fruits, scents etc.). Build-up objects: glue, paper, colours, rope, nails, stapler etc. Various spaces (exterior and interior). The maze. PRESENTATION (PERFORMANCE): 18:30 – 20:30 An emulation of a sensory labyrinth theatre performance with a real audience. The content of the performance will be generated by the participants based on all the exercises and experiences described above. The logistics and the coordination during the performance, as well as security issues will be taken care of by trainer and supporting staff of Labyrintheme – issues regarding creating a sensory labyrinth theatre performance will be discussed in the evaluation of day 5 and the feedback session in day 6.
EVALUATION OF DAY 5 Will focus on various aspects of the presentation and how it all went. Situations that occurred during the day will be addressed specifically; also the build-up processes that could not be addressed earlier due to lack of time. If members of the audience will still be around and willing to join, they’ll be invited to share their experiences with the group.
Day 6 MORNING SESSION: 11.00 – 13.00 Evaluation session: feed-back and conclusions. ACTUAL CONTENT The session will have a formal part and an informal one (in form of a game/exercise). The formal part will focus on overall aspects of the training and the organization of the training course in a recorded/written form. The informal part will focus on more personal aspects, meant to give clear-out time for group process, share the best/worst experience of the training course regardless of the content presented. RESOURCES USED Audio and video recording devices. Paper and markers. AFTERNOON SESSION: 15.00 – 18.00 Development and planning of applications of labyrinth theatre in participants’ working institutions. ACTUAL CONTENT We think that an “open space” or “public cafe” session will give participants the opportunity to discuss in an informal and efficient manner, based on their own interest and experiences, the possible outcomes of the training course and their learning in the process. We have the experience of finding the results of such methods of planning fully satisfying and useful for further development. RESOURCES USED Audio and video recording devices. Paper and markers.
Annex 3. Bibliography Artaud, A. (1958) The Theater and Its Double, New York: Grove Press Boal, A. (1979) Theater of the Oppressed, London: Pluto Press Boal, A. (1992) Games for Actors and Non- Actors, London: Routledge ----- (1978) Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic, ed. & trans. John Willett, New York: Hill and Wang Chavez, K. Site Specific Performance at Historical Sites. Resources, bibliography and examples, http://www.brown. edu/Research/JNBC/presentations_papers/documents/K.Chavez_Site_Specific_Performance.pdf, last accessed on 19.11.2012 Hooper-Greenhill, E. (2007) Museum and Education: Purpose, pedagogy, performance, New York: Routledge Kaye, N. (2000) Site Specific Art: Performance, place and documentation, London: Routledge Moving Academy for Performing Arts (not dated) Artistic Coaching Manual, http://www.mapa.nl Pearson, M. (2010) Site Specific Performance, London: Palgrave Macmillan Pratchett, T. (1991) Witches Abroad, London: Victor Gollancz Simon, N. (2010) The Participatory Museum, Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0, online at http://www.participatorymuseum.org
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Labyrintheme consortium owes a tremendous amount of gratitude to people from all over Europe that contributed with precious feedback to the project’s outputs, in particular the training course developed and/or various draft versions of this publication. First and foremost, to Iwan Brioc (Wales, UK) who inspired us all in various ways and to various degrees. Then, to participants in our training courses in Zaragoza, Spain (9-14.09.2012) and Bucharest, Romania (7-12.10.2012): Irina Gerasimova, Elena Ivanova, Margarita Petrova, Sylvia Tosheva, (Bulgaria), Laura Alicu, Valentina Bucur, Ana Craciun, Adriana Carnu, Emma Vanessa Carnu, Elena Madalina Coman, Alin Mohor, (Romania), Kerry Beeston, Hazel Fenton, Catherine O’Donnell (UK), Seda Sahin, Bayram Sahin (Turkey), Lars Annersten, Charlotta Franzen, Kristina Kalen (Sweden), Beatriz Martin (Spain), Suzi Elena Apelgren (Denmark), Foteini Venieri (Greece). Finally, to a long list of friends of Labyrintheme, including representatives of a continuously expanding group of associated partners: at the time of printing: Anna Farthing (UK, former Chair of IMTAL-Europe), National Polytechnic Museum, National Museum of Natural History, National Gallery for Foreign Art, National Museum of Military History (Bulgaria), ARTEES (France), BIDA e.V. Kultur und Bildung (Germany), Tos ungmennaskipti (Iceland), Artemide Association, Lunaria Association, Eptabeta srl (Italy), Serpentina Association (Portugal), A-maze Me Association, FULCRUM Social Development and Support Group, Translucid Association, Transcena Association, A Wonderful World for Children Association, Community Resource Center Cluj-Napoca, Grow Up Project Association, Transylvania Museum of Ethnography, Museum of the Iron Gates Region, Olt County Museum, Radu Greceanu National College, Spiru Haret Pedagogical High School, UNIVERSITUR, Vrani Cultural Association (Romania).
The Labyrintheme project core team: • Bistra Choleva-Laleva, Milena Stanojevic, Yavor Kostov (Bulgaria) • Dr. Daniela Dumbraveanu, Anca Tudoricu, Eliza Donescu, Adrian Ciglenean, Lucian Branea (Romania) • Kate Glynn, Professor Anthony Jackson (UK) • Professor Yilmaz Ari, Dr. Alper Uzun (Turkey) • Begona Gomez (Spain)