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The RSVP Cycles Creative Processes in the Human Environment Lawrence Halperin (c) 1969 Lawrence Halperin George Braziller, Inc., New York 923w

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Ann Halprin has extended the happening into two important and mutually supportive directions. One emphasizes the ritualistic basis of art and life and establishes basic -- even primitive -- human responses as the major structuring elements for her events. On Myths (with graphic scores by Patrick Hickey) she comments:

Myths are experimental. The performers, members of the Dancers' Workshop Company, are unrehearsed. What unfolds is a spontaneous exploration of theatre ideas. Myths are meant to evoke our long-buried and half-forgotten selves. Each evening will explore a different relationship between the audience and performers, and through our awareness and interactions the audience will evolve collective images. The audience should not be bound by accustomed passivity, by static self images.

Myths are your myths. They are an experiment in mutual creation.

The "audiences" were, by and large, neither homogeneous nor an in-group. They were a mixture of hippies, students, all types of businessmen, dancers, architects, city planners, psychotherapists, tourists, families and their children. In short, a cross section of an urban society.

Although each Myth was different, the central idea of every evening was to release people's buried creativity by answering one of their basic needs through ritual.

The experience, of course, was not like that of a frightened nightclub patron pressured by a performer or friend to get up on stage and make a fool of himself. Certain general conditions were suggested to the group in the briefing room. Thereafter, anyone was free to participate or observe. A few people left. But the vast majority stayed, participated, even participated ecstatically. For some it was simply fun, for some a bore, for some extraordinarily sensual, for some a happening, for some a kind of atavistic tribal reawakening. For me, it was all these things -- and a new exploration of communal art.

People sought individual freedom, found it, and found community as well. Order through freedom: freed from the constraints of a normal "performance," the whole group found its own social and artistic structures. At times the birth of this new and more natural order seemed chaotic -- the public would alter the instructions, the sound, or the physical environment, and there were periods of great destruction and reformation. During these phases a few people became disturbed and left the building. However, most of these who were not in the midst of the action just withdrew to some quiet spot on the side, and eventually rejoined the group after a new period of order had been established -- an order completely real in that it reflected deeply rooted intuitive drives emerging from a collectively subconscious energy, resulting in archetypal experiences.

One aspect of the original idea was to explore different relationships between audience and performer. I, and the audiences, assumed that total audience involvement would be either chaotic or impossible. During the first few Myths, the company members were used as a core group: catalysts, demonstrators, guides. But soon the audience transcended this, the company members began to merge with them, and by the third Myth we were mutually creating events.

I am interested in a theatre where everything is experienced for the first time, and I have stripped away all ties with conventional dance forms: in the lives of individual performers, their training rehearsals, and performances form a process which in itself is an experience. I have come back to the ritualistic beginnings of art as a sharpened expression of life, extending every kind of perception. I want to participate in events of supreme authenticity, to involve people with their environment so that life is lived whole.

Perhaps my role is being redefined. I am coming to see the artist in another light. He is no longer a solitary hero figure, but rather a synthesizer who brings together differences and works to evoke the art within us all. This is the true meaning of a seminal theatre.

MYTH TWO -- ATONEMENT 321 DIVISADERO STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. D/WSF ANN HALPERIN, DIRECTOR PATRIC HICKEY, ENVIRONMENTALIST

Scale: 1"=8' Code: Audience standing, facing in direction arrow indicates Spotlight, 150 wt white focused direction indicated at 6 ft elevation Columns of newspaper 12 feet elevation Percussionist Position for aud. briefing

1- Stairwell to street 2- Corridor 3- Small studio 4- Large studio 5- Lounge A- Rest room B- Office C- Storage

Note: Entire room (walls and floor) covered in newspaper from one day's edition. Only one selected page used, in complete repetition.

MYTH FOUR -- TOTEM 321 DIVISADERO STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. FALL 1967

D/WSF ANN HALPERIN, DIRECTOR PATRIC HICKEY, ENVIRONMENTALIST FALL, 1967

Scale 1"=8' Code: Chair, arrow indicating position audience member is facing Suspended 60 wt lamp; elevation varies from 1 foot to 8 feet from floor Percussionist

1- Stairwell to street 2- Corridor 3- Small studio 4- Large studio 5- Lounge A- Rest room B- Office C- Storage

Note: During experience, bulbs are replaced one by one, using one selection of color. When completed, a short pause, then action repeated with new colors. Ranges from colored lamps to clear white.

MYTH NINE -- STORY 321 DIVISADERO STREET SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. WINTER 1967

D/WSF ANN HALPERIN, DIRECTOR PATRIC HICKEY, ENVIRONMENTALIST FALL, 1967

Scale 1"=8' Code: Audience seated in folding chairs Candles Percussionist Candle attendant Position for audience briefing

1- Stairwell to street 2- Corridor 3- Small studio 4- Large studio 5- Lounge A- Rest room B- Office C- Storage

Typed by Cheryl Vega 7-29-95


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