As our group approached this question we all had our own ideas;
Idea 1: taking a piece of theatre and adapting the text to the chosen site
Idea 2: using a site and making the performance ‘specific’ and particular to the chosen site
Idea 3: a piece of theatre unique to that place
Pearson states the term Site Specific is, ‘site-determined, site orientated, site-referenced, site conscious, site responsive, site-related’. (Pearson 2010, p. 1)
Exploring Pearson I learned the term Site Specific means the space around you influences the performance, as the piece of theatre moves from a known stage to elsewhere, a place where theatre is not usually performed, as Jen Harvie states, ‘to identify performance that was produced in non-theatre sites, aimed to engage directly with the meaning and history of those sites, and went out to audiences who might not normally come to the theatre.’ (Harvie 2006, p.149)
After understanding the term Site Specific we explored Erving Goffman and his belief of performance being in everyday life. As a group we explored our own experiences of performance in everyday life, one example being outside Buckingham Palace, as the guards form a ‘performance’ which consists of no dialogue or movement but to stand outside Buckingham Palace. Looking closer into experiences and life performances a group member witnessed a few hundred police officers outside Buckingham Palace for six hours, waiting, just so the Queen could depart Buckingham Palace in a car. I questioned, is this ‘performance’ necessary or needed? How expensive would that ‘performance’ be as all the police men would have to be paid? And does this display of public officers attract the wrong kind of attention?
When questioning the use of a ‘site’, do we take the site itself as a host to the visitor? Can the site be a person? A culture, presence or object? After exploring the term Site Specific we explored Lefebrve who is best known for pioneering the critique of everyday life. ‘Lefebvre asserts in Right to the City that utopia should be considered experimentally by studying its implications and consequences on the ground. These can surprise. What are and what would be the most successful places? How can they be discovered? According to which criteria? What are the times and rhythms of daily life which are inscribed and prescribed in these “successful” spaces favourable to happiness? That is interesting.’ (Milgrom,2008, p.277) Relating to Lefebrve’s argument, the entire group found interest in creating their individual utopia. When exploring our own utopia, an idyllic place full of individual loves, as a class we saw each and everyone’s specific site for them. But exploring Lefebrve, how do we know what utopia is, if we have not experienced the bad?
As I made my Utopia using rubbish people brought in they did not want anymore, I plastered my Utopia with pink objects, which gained comments such as; ‘fairy tale’, ‘happiness’, ‘love,’ ‘overly nice’, ‘hiding things away and ignoring the bad’ and a ‘Disney’ Utopia. When creating my Utopia I used pink due to it being my favourite colour, I explored the use of toilet rolls making them into little houses for all my family and friends, keeping a close community within Utopia. There is a pink train in my Utopia to connote freedom physically and mentally. My Utopia overall allows my happy personality to show through, influenced by the artist Flâner, when my city was observed and when people interacted with my city, I wanted them to see site specific to the individual, me.
Pearson, Mike (2010) Site specific performance, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Harvie, Jen (2006) The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Performance, Routledge, New York.
Milgrom, Richard (2008) Design, difference, everyday life, Reading Henri Lefebvre, Routledge, New York.