Context Oriented Theatre and Muybridge
When Muybridge strung together photographs of a horse taken at different intervals of a gallop his aim was to settle a bet about whether all four legs of the horse at any point leave the ground. What he discovered, apart from proof that the horse was indeed suspended for a fleeting moment, was the medium that has become known as film. Separate images moving so fast in front of the eye as to deceive the mind into interpreting it as a continuous, unbroken movement.
The function of Context Oriented Theatre is to use theatre to suspend the continuous movement of thought that gives us the illusion of an unbroken identity called the self. To capture our thought in full flight, red handed, creating a fictional character that struts and frets it’s time upon the stage, and once unmasked find our true face – the place where we are looking from. The purpose of films developed through this method is therefore not escape but inscape. To capture the process of characters suspended in the place between fiction and reality, and to be witness to and resonate with the humanity of this struggle and suffering.
Therefore it is necessary to work without script and with a balance of actors and non-actors, the later having first person experience of the themes and situations depicted in the film. The story is filmed in sequence and is revealed to non-actors on a need to know basis. Actors and non-actors are placed in a series of situations which provoke natural responses and reaction and the camera captures these moments. This is with the fundamental proviso that the process does no harm, but helps unfold new awareness in the actors and everyone involved, which are transformative experiences…and it’s these moments of transformation that the film captures, presents and seeks to bring about in the audience.