I just want to get some thoughts down here about Live Art Speed Date and one-to-one performance before I lose them.

Live Art Speed Date is basically a night where audience members shuffle around to loads of artists spread all around the building for 4-minute one-to-one encounters. I had a great experience doing The Backseat of My Car (and other safe places) this weekend at STK. It’s a one-to-one performance in a car, and involves a bit of storytelling where the audience member becomes someone in the story.

It was my first experience on the artist end of a one-to-one piece, and I learned loads from it—from STK, from the other artists involved and from my audience members—but there are two major things that I want to make sure to carry forward. I don’t know that they’re necessarily universal Things about one-to-ones, but they apply to the way I’d like to work carrying forward:

1. Take care of your audience member. In the one-to-one context—moreso than in a more conventional theatre set up or any kind of performance where there’s a performer performing to a group—it became apparent to me what a responsibility it is for the artist to take care of the audience member. You can lead them to uncomfortable places and the experience doesn’t necessarily have to be just frothy and frivolous (though that’s fun too), but you have to recognize that they are brave in stepping into an unknown encounter where you’re in charge. I had lovely, amazing, generous audience members most of the time, and I want to make sure, going forward, that I’m prepared to reward them for taking chances in the context of the performance.

2. It’s ok for performances to be gentle. I had a nice chat with another artist about how it can be difficult—when other people are doing amazing, thrilling, colourful, loud performances—to feel that it’s ok to be gentle, quiet or melancholic, and that can be enough. It’s nice to have different textures and styles, and they’re all important.

I had some very lovely/funny/uncomfortable moments with my audience members, and I was genuinely astounded by the generosity of some people, giving themselves up and coming with me for four minutes. Looking forward to discovering more about how one-to-one performance can work.

Thanks to STK for letting me do it.

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