A question for you

I am soliciting thoughts and ideas.

I am working on a new piece called Appointment,, which will have its first in-progress performance at Prelude next month. It's a series of repeatable performances for one performer and one viewer.

Right now I'm writing and thinking, and here's what I'm hoping I can pull off: I want to ask the viewer a question that is general enough that the viewer feels like he/she is making up a response that is really her/his own. Meaning, it has to not feel like multiple choice.

BUT, I also want to craft what follows their response so that it feels like I just answered you and you alone, that I tailored the piece totally personally in the moment, for you. That the viewer changed the course of the work.

To me this means I either improvise each response on the spot, which would take some practice, and I don't even know if it's possible, or I come up with a range of, say, five responses, which could feel personal enough, memorize them all, and choose the one that seems most appropriate to that viewer.

What do you think I should do?

Can you imagine the kind of question that could provoke a limited, but seemingly free, number of responses?

Please feel free to comment or write me.


Lizzie Scott said...

I think if your audience believes that they are influencing the outcome then that needs to be true. So while it's certainly harder to improvise answers (within character?) I think it's kind of necessary given what you want the piece to do. It seems to be about an interpersonal interaction in which the audience is an actor in every sense, and if that's an illusion it seems to lose a lot of its power.

I feel oddly strongly about it, too -- I almost tried to post this comment from my phone, it felt so important!

Aaron Landsman said...

Lizzie - thanks for this. Yes, I am sure that there will be some interaction, some influence each person will have on the piece if this part of it goes in there. I do think it will actually be more truthful if the parameters of the question make for a limited enough number of possible responses that staying with the piece's persona and construct remains viable...but anyway, a lot to consider. Thank you.