Do the Wild Thing!

SP Jones

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Original theatre piece, written and co-directed, funded by East Midlands Arts and South West Arts, accompanying catalogue, Nottingham, 1997, ISBN 0-905488-86-5, and video available. Role: Simon Jones, co-director, writer. Chief Collaborators: co-director, choreographer - Sara Giddens (Nottingham Trent University). Other Collaborators: composer - Christopher Austin (Brunel Ensemble), designer - Bridget Mazzey (Arnolfini Gallery), performers - Jon Carnall, Jane Devoy, Dan Elloway. Performance Venues: Arnolfini Gallery (Bristol), Bonington Gallery (Nottingham). Dates: October 1996, 4 performances. Other Outcomes: catalogue including extracts from performance text, photographs and critical essay by Adrian Heathfield (Warwick University), Nottingham, 1997, 34pp. 0-905488-86-5; and multi-camera video directed and edited by Tony Judge (Creative Forum). Documentation: photographs, script, video tape. Funding: East Midlands Arts, South West Arts, NOW96 Festival (Nottingham), Arnolfini Live, Bonington Gallery. Do the Wild Thing! was Bodies in Flight Theatre's eighth performance work, marking the cumulative exploration of a number of related research problems: a) the re-presented body, concerning how a performer represents themselves, a character, an idea, and the ontological limits of such representation in theatre; b) the written body, concerning the relationship between verbal language and the performer's body; and c) the audience's participation in the re-presentation and inscribing of that body. A tactic of rigorously separating the performative elements was explored: using Brecht philosophically and theatrically, and Warhol aesthetically and spatially. In processive terms, each element was at first intensified paying particular attention to its "own internal" logic and qualities, its own semiotic channel or conceptual context: for example, the musical and choreographic scores and the verbal text were composed, developed and rehearsed separately from one another, involving separate groups of musicians and performers, before being brought "together" on stage, although still spatially separated to perform "live". Having engaged interest in the performance through specifically eroticized publicity imagery and copy, the audience's participation in the event proper was problematized and explored by the metatheatrical analysis of the text, heard read aloud by an unseen third performer, who interrogated both his own motives as a character within the scene and by implications those of the audience, as well as deconstructing the problem of enunciating meaning through the body, the body ever becoming a stable site of meaning, the problem of all performance. The intense choreographic and musical languages further amplified the irresolvable instability of the event by creating separate and equally, but differently powerful attractors within the performance. The project was performed at key national venues and festivals, thus contributing directly to the current debates within Live Art around the body. It was further disseminated through catalogue and video.
Translated title of the contributionDo the Wild Thing!
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1996


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