Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The polar approaches to street theatre. Two main camps.

As street performers I believe we all fall between two opposing philosophies. To paraphrase-The exploiters and the ingratiators.

At one extreme is the performer who utilizes hook lines, well known dynamics and standard lines to mechanically construct a show that is boilerplate and treats the audience as infinite fodder used indescriminatly and efficiently in the pursuit of income.

The other extreme is performers whose thrust is more relationship based; their major objective is rapport- their shows being a vehicle for the achievement of a collective warmth. I admit that this second group are the shows I find consistantly interesting. Having been in the business many years, I have seen most of the variations of the 'look at me, look at me' shows and can't help presuming the insecure, overcompensation that fuels them.

And yet I have seen shows soaked in skill where the performer projects a humility and respect for his or her audience that leaves them touched and grateful rather than manipulated and meekly herded up to donate money afterwards.
The exploiters and the ingratiators.
The look at me's and the look at us's.
The overdressed and the naked.

Some shows consistently give more than they ever recieve and its that sort of generosity of spirit that makes me proud to be a member of this street performing fraternity.

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