Can live performance be performed ‘not live?’
“Unnatural History” is a dance/theatre experiment questioning live theater in the age of social media. Three of five performers were projected from their bedrooms—the stage of the 21st century. Exploring the seismic shift in how we transmit meaning, the piece was in two parts: part one virtual, part two in the flesh.
Part one was anti-linear and anti-narrative. Three performers were projected in on a large screen, so that they were live but not present. They were performing somewhere else and shown on stage by live-feed. One performer was live in the space and interacted with these tech specters. Image reigned supreme and moments occured without meaning stretched between them. Text from Antigone (written during the origination of western theater, and described by Heidegger as an expression of the original relationship between man, technical knowledge, and nature) was spliced randomly between instant messaging and social media. It was an explosion of miscommunications, late-night confessions, and consumerism.
Part two centered on physical intelligence at a deep level in our endocrine and nervous systems. The two performers in this part were live, moving without speaking. They transmitted feeling not by narrative, but by inhabiting different energetic states of being. In part two, we sought to discover a way of moving that was outside the patriarchy, free from the male gaze—which in this context, is manifested as capitalism. We sought to connect with a physiology that was pre-Facebook. We were attempting to connect with a unique internal authenticity.