Versions 1 – 5


“to say something is to do something”

(J.L. Austin)

“sayin’ it & doin’ it are two different things”
(James Brown)

Versions 1 – 5 creates a dialogue between language and action, exploring the role of writing and the question of authorship in the collaborative practice of performance. The starting point is a set of 101 descriptions of actions:

To get ready. To remember that the best way to overcome stagefright is to imagine the audience with their clothes off. To take off one piece of clothing. To explain to them how the atom bomb works and why you would like to have one. To pretend to cry …

Four performers are presented with the task to each create a short solo piece as a response to the descriptions, using them as performance text and/or instructions for actions (Versions 1 – 4). A short group piece is devised that concludes the performance (Version 5).

Versions 1 – 5 establishes a common framework and methodology for four diverse and individual approaches to performance, from the personal to the political, from the humorous to the sincere. As the performance unfolds, the parameters that the work employs become evident. The differences and similarities between the various responses illustrate that there is no final, definitive version, that the game is potentially infinite. The performance thus becomes an invitation to imagine other versions: diversions, perversions, subversions.

Esther Pilkington / Daniel Ladnar / Sandra Laureri / Gareth Llŷr 2007

“[…] Versions 1 – 5 invites the audience to search for glimpses of the process of dramaturgical work ‘behind the scene’. The immediacy and randomness of much of today’s performance work is juxtaposed by an urge to strengthen the underlying rules of construction and challenge them at the same time. In simpler words: to open them up, to make them visible, but also to make them stranger and more puzzling. […] Versions 1 – 5 uses its structure to generate expectations about what is going to happen next on a much more intimate scale. The differences and similarities between the five sequences prove there can be no definitive version, that all interpretations are valid and that the game is potentially infinite. Through the dramaturgical twist to slowly incorporate the audience within an increasing dynamic of anticipation, the performance becomes every spectator’s individual imaginative version […].”
Martina Lenhardt in Performance Research 14/3: On Dramaturgy.