This production (The Green Room) happened back in late 2013 so it’s now almost 12-months later that I’m jotting down a few thoughts.
I went to this production because I was excited to see something happening in Hobart that was a little bit different (or a little bit different from the types of performance and theatre events that I’d been aware of in Hobart anyway). I was also excited to visit a location that would be new to me and to be able to access (potentially) some of that ‘visitor in a strange land’ feeling that I get when traveling.
The highlights for me were being served a shot of whiskey from a car-boot as we waited to be led down paths and not-paths to the site and show proper; realising (later – after watching this interview with the artists) that everything including the ‘crusty chairs’ we sat on had been found at, rather than brought to, the site; and milling around for some wine, cheese and biscuits after the show.
I know that none of those highlights are about the performance itself and that may, in part, be to do with the amount of time that has passed and how subtle the overall performance was. It may also be quite appropriate as I think the performance might have been, in some ways, about the making of a performance (about artistic process) and so those memories and highlights could reflect that interest in structure and moments of change or transition. However, I think it is also a reflection of my failure to really engage with the performance itself. The way I’ve phrased that suggests I think it’s my failure. That’s half true. I do feel like it’s my job as an audience member to try to ‘read’ and respond to the production in the way it’s inviting me to. Or else to consciously choose an alternate mode of engagement that is still aware of and informed by that invitation. However, according to my admittedly quite dusty memory of it, I don’t really remember feeling like I was being invited to do much – other than statically sit – during the performance itself.
Looking back now can I make some better sense of it? What did I miss? Did it not quite work? Or did the combination of me (and my expectations) and it’s intent just not quite fit? Did I not think at the time about the title The Green Room and what that might signify?
I was particularly glad to come across that interview recently that mentioned the chairs because it made me feel a little less disappointed to have been seated, standard theatre style, throughout the performance. At the time I had wished to have been given more freedom as an audience even though I understood that this would have completely changed the work (particularly as so much of it was about very subtle changes in sound). I remember wondering what my role was – what my reason was for being there (in terms of the ‘logic’ of the production if there is such a thing). I still don’t really know. Maybe the point was that the performance was actually not about me and I was more enticed by the moments (the whiskey, the wine) that were. In any case, I’m glad it happened and I think it’s a good sign that I can remember anything about how the performance and how it felt to be there a year later.