Moving and thinking ‘towards a reactivation of Xavier Le Roy’s Project’

how ‘rules’ might force a theatrical event

with: Stella Dimitrakopoulou, Kayla Dougan Bowtell, Chris Dugrenier, Antje Hildebrand, Ella Hurman, Rosanna Irvine, Adam James, Justyna Janiszewska, Michael Johnson, Samantha Kettle, Evangelia Kolyra, Helen MacPhee, Anastasia Papaeleftheriadou, Jindeok Park, Soyoung Park, Beatrice Perini, Clarissa Sacchelli, Georgia Tegou

From 2nd to 4th April seventeen participant collaborators and I worked together ‘towards a re-activation of Xavier Le Roy’s Project’ at Siobhan Davies Dance Studio London, with a public sharing, a choreographic event with five games, on the Thursday afternoon. The intention was neither to re-create, nor to re-enact Project, but to work with Le Roy's ‘General Rules Score for Project’ to construct new games and new rules for a performance event.

All games were developed through group negotiations, through long discussions within particular groups to decide rules and also through showing each other the developing games and discussing these from the perspective of the spectator(s).

Some questions that came up:

What is a rule? What is a task? Is this a game or a system? Does a game need an aim? How important is it that spectators ‘know’ the rule? Do rules need to be applied to an existing structure (eg a known game)? How can a structure arise out of playing with rules? What is the function of a rule?

These questions remain – productively! - not fully answered. The question - how does the rule function? - moves the process towards a kind of logic. Or logics. These logics are in part derived from our understandings of games and include notions of consequences, fairness, imposition of penalties and questions of strategies. They are in part also derived from our understandings of choreography and performance. They include a sense of how, for the spectator, the perception of time is induced through particular action events – such as in the persistent back and forth across the space in ‘No Way.’ The choreographic ‘logic’ then may force a different kind of decision around structure or rule – around the sense of where/how this action event unfolds …

What is choreographic logic? What is game based logic? How can these logics co-exist? What happens then?

Our negotiations and discussion seem to be producing some sense of a logic that is particular to the rule based approach, and which is different for each particular game: an emerging sense of a particular-to-each-game/situation logic of rules.

But

is there an arbitrariness to the instruction ‘cross the space from one side to the other’ which is part of both ‘Cross Catch’ and ‘No Way’, though it functions differently in each?

And

is this ‘instruction’ a rule? a task? an aim?

This ‘instruction’ has a function: to generate a situation within which the rules are played. So maybe there is an initial ‘arbitrariness’ which gives a functional aim that motivates action and decision-making. The (other) rules, which are mostly based on ‘if x then y’ (such as ‘if you are caught you drop to floor and freeze. You are then a catcher in next set’ in Cross Catch) are not arbitrary in the sense of the particular-to-each-game/situation logic of rules that is emerging.

We keep on refining/complexifying rules, clarifying/imposing(?)/sensing logics, agreeing and disagreeing, negotiating, selecting, showing as performers/players, attending as spectators … And researching how ‘rules’ might force a theatrical event, an event forged through the activation of decisions not for a particular effect and which might produce particular affects.