This post really does have something to do with performance although it could take a while to get there. On Friday I went to my yoga class and witnessed an exchange between two people that reminded me of a lesson I have learnt many times and often forgotten that I know.That is that when we believe we are in the right, we somehow believe that gives us the right to completely disregard other people.
I witnessed a mini-altercation between two people about mat placement. In the studio you place your mats in rows in front of a mirror with the aim that everyone can see at least a bit of themselves in the front mirror. A woman asked a man to move his mat so that she could see herself in the front mirror. He refused and was very dismissive citing protocol and was so sure he was right about this that he didn’t seem to listen to anything that she said. He may have been technically “right” that protocol states that the people nearer the back have to move their mats not the people at the front, I am not entirely sure, but what shocked me was how dismissive he was. And I feel sure that his belief in the “correctness of his position” was what fostered this attitude. I recognised that I have been guilty of this on many occasions.!
How does this link to performance? I want to create a performance where the modality of being is not judgement but connection and this small mat moment reminded me why. I want people to experience my performance not judge it as good or bad or “right or wrong” in some way. This takes me to the work of Adrian Howells who created many intimate performances both as himself and as his alter ego Adrienne. One of these performances “Foot washing for the soul” involved him washing the feet of each audience member. He stated on one occasion:
“I don’t like spectatorial performance, it encourages judgement”
and whilst I am not sure if it is possible for human beings not to judge, I want to create an atmosphere where the judgment moves to the background in order for there to be compassionate connections.