The Person There: Performance Vs Movies

February 4th, 2005 · 3 Comments · 2004 - 2012 Sketchbook, Writing


Every two years or so Megan has to talk me out of making a movie. She says, “Let’s stick with live performance.” She says, “Rehearsed performance installations in galleries with a live audiences are the best option.” She gives me that look like I’m giving up, “You really want to make a movie?”

Is making a movie — a small video really — that bad?

The appeal is the control — spreading set fabrication, rehearsals and performing schedules over a larger period of time — making harder-to-choreograph components more feasible. Someone sneezes? Re-shoot. You laugh, but one of our earlier works had a sneezing performer the whole night. She had just gotten a cold and her part was irreplaceable.

A movie would be so much cheaper to make as well. Everything just has to look real. In gallery installations everything has to be real. Cameras and editing equipment these days are affordable and powerful. I edit on a laptop. Unthinkable 10 years ago.

However, it’s the power of people that always swings us back to live performance. There is an authenticity in a live performance that the performers and the audience feel. I love that final moment before we open the doors, where we thank every performer. I love the end when we break character and join the audience. Live performance easily begs questions that movies have to work hard to muster.

Why is that person there doing that?

Category: 2004 - 2012 Sketchbook · Writing

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