Traces 1, our audience responds


I was invited to attend the final dress rehearsal of Traces along with a number of other artists known to the performers for the purpose of giving them feedback on the work prior to opening night. Final dress notes if you will. I knew not what to expect since I had no information about the work. Only its participants.

The piece turned out to be an engaging experiment, as well as a study on perception, emotion, and pain.  Told in the imaginative language of emotion. With that gesture which surfaces when words do not suffice. Those few words that attempt to foster understanding, but simply leave you groping. Even those sound qualities and smells which evoke images long stored away are laid out like a quirky song. Where the subject is familiar, but the form is not. Explored in a way that attempts to remove the audience from its comfortable role as spectator and bring them into the unfamiliar role of participant. As a song does.

As you can imagine, the conversation was lively after the conclusion of the performance. The parts that made up the work are in many ways familiar yet unique unto themselves. And the
way they were combined, which is how the story unfolds feels equally unique.  

Now this group of artistic people who, by the way, came from many different disciplines, having been gathered for the purposes of offering ideas, immediately began to express them upon conclusion of the performance. The work was universally praised. We all offered our blessings along with our advice and went on our way.

Of-course I enjoyed the experiment so much that I had to see how it came off with an audience. Plus I was interested to see which notes were incorporated and how they were interpreted, and which ones were not. So I attended the final performance of the work with the express purpose of studying audience reaction. The space was filled to capacity. Excitement and expectation filled the air. I watched as the audience assumed its place and the work began. I observed the audience as it transitioned from spectator of, to engaged in, and transform from engaged in to participating with the work over a 30 minute ride that left them all happy at the end. Happy to have been a part of the experience.  Which was born out as the common theme from the audience expressed during the discussion after the show.

Which reinforced an organic process that simply reached for truth and made artistic discoveries along the way.

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