What is Restraint?
Restraint is described as follows in the Oxford Dictionary, “1 (often restraints) a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control:decisions are made within the financial restraints of the budget
[mass noun] the action of keeping someone or something under control: a policy of restraint in public spending
[mass noun] deprivation or restriction of personal liberty or freedom of movement:he remained aggressive and required physical restraint
a device which limits or prevents freedom of movement:car safety restraints
[mass noun] unemotional, dispassionate, or moderate behaviour; self-control:he urged the protestors to exercise restraint
understatement, especially of artistic expression:with strings and piano, all restraint vanished” ((www.oxforddictionary.com))
One of the first tasks carried out as a group was to ask other members of the class to anonymously write down what aspects of their life cages them and why. This was to see whether the restraints were more physical or emotional and whether any of these were possible aspects we could use in our performance. The results were rather shocking and varied and ranged from family and relationship matters, to eating disorders and exam stress. It was interesting to read how even a tiny problem could make a person feel so caged within their own life.
In our performance we wanted to use this idea of restraint as the main body of the piece. In order to do this we had to practice by pushing ourselves to the limit and enduring as much pain as we could so that the reaction that the audience would be seeing was as real as the pain we were feeling rather than just pretending to be in discomfort. As Kira O’Reilly had done in many of her performances, then pain the audience was watching was real life pain, as opposed to theatrical pain, which in my opinion is more effective as it enables you to engage with a performer on a more personal level. For safety reasons, myself and Farisai who were blindfolded and restrained, came up with a safe word in order to let Ellie know when our limit had been reached and we were in fact enduring more pain then we could stand to face. From researching the mental asylum at the Lincoln Archives, it was found that a common method of restraint was to outstretch the patients on a board. For re-enactment purposes and to put our own twist on this method of restraint, it was decided that logs and rocks would be used to hold myself and Farisai in the outstretched positions as oppose to simply using a board as we were then incorporating the objects from the LAwn into the piece.