But it triggered a thought in my head - what do you do with live musicians on stage? How do you make a performance that isn't continually upstaged by their very real, much more interesting presence?
I'll explain a little. The show was 4 dance pieces, and a few of the pieces had live musicians playing on stage along side the dancers. The problem I kept having was that the musicians were mesmerizing, and the dancers just got in the way. This has happened before sometimes with video - where I find myself watching the big video screen and the actions on the video screen and being almost annoyed that the live performers occasionally block my view. Sometimes with technical artists - where I end up watching the technical artists just off to the side of the stage, because their reality, their factness and the machinery and the intricacy of their actions is so much more fascinating than the 'theater' being staged. Its not that I want these "distractions" to be hidden. Its that I wish the other stuff had as much tension, alive-ness, potential for failure, earnestness, focus.
Its a crap first post perhaps, but I think of it as an aesthetic challenge.
I wish more performance groups would work with live musicians (especially the cutting-edge ones making new 'experimental' music) and I wish they would take the technical artists more seriously - they are artists too, not wrench monkeys, and I wish live performance would start experimenting more with the digital tools that are being created all over the place - I don't mean video, I mean robots, and sound machines and the re-appropriation of old machines that have been tweaked and updated into something new by those wiz-kids at ITP - there are so many more interesting machines now, thanks to all the new technologies.
The challenge perhaps is to find ways of educating ourselves about and then integrating all these old arts and new arts. And then in the making of the works being sensitive to finding the right balance, so that I don't wish those poor dancers (as hard as they are trying) would just go stand up stage, be quiet and stop moving because I just want watch the kids with the weird instruments break their shit.