Would you describe the work that the Blue Interventionists produce as ‘performance’? Why? Please give your definition of the organisation/ethos and the work that is produced (how would you describe it if not a type of performance?)
If one understands ‘performance’ to be a dynamic social agent encompassing a vast array of movements including, both directly and indirectly, theatrical activity then Blue Intervention is a performative organisation that performs to and with an audience. The theories available to categorise and define ‘performance’ are vast and multifaceted, at Blue Intervention, we recognise many forms of human behaviour to be performative, as Schechner states: “Performance [. . . ] is ethnic and intercultural, historical and ahistorical, aesthetic and ritual, sociological and political. Performance is a mode of behaviour, an approach to experience; it is play, sport, aesthetics, popular entertainments, experimental behaviour, and more.” (Schechner, R. in Turner, V. The Anthropology of Performance. PAJ Publications, USA. 1987:unmarked page) See also Goffman’s Behaviour in Public Places, and The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. However, the focus within Blue Intervention is the playful exploration of different realms of performance processes in research of performer-spectator relationships in public spaces. As such, one main question we interrogate is what the process of performance is, and how the process is a dynamic event. For Blue Intervention, the product is the process and the process is enacted through performance.
Is there any inspiration in the organisations work from other sources – similar practitioners, groups or methods within the field? Why is this?
It is impossible to catalogue all the practitioners and theorists who have informed, are informing, and will inform Blue Intervention. Perhaps the key influences are Augusto Boal, and Erving Goffman. Boal’s contribution to the realm of theatre with social implication and his exploration of methods that allow cathartic effects for participants through their integration into the performance has certainly influenced the methods we employ for audience/performer relationship however, Blue Intervention seeks to explore and challenge previously established methods by entering the unknown and departing from other practitioners work.
Can you explain some more about the performances that the Blue Interventionists create? What do they generally promote in an audience? Why?
Each Blue Intervention performance is a different event. At each event, we try to introduce new concepts, new methods, new audiences, and new spaces. Each event has a different theme, aim, and performance style ranging from visual physical theatre to highly interactive discussion-based work. As such, each event carries its individual aims and outcomes. Blue Intervention tries not to predict or attempt to create a specific reaction or pre-determined response but instead to try out new performances and through the process of performing, discover what outcome naturally occurs. Throughout the work there is an attempt to promote audience experience, to reiterate - Blue Intervention attempts to create and sustain an environment that offers new stimulus to the public for their consumption. This is highly research-based work that does not carry over-arching aims. As of March 2009 Blue Intervention will focus more directly on perceived outcomes but do so without compromising the flexibility that allows an audience to obtain from a performance what they want or need from it, allowing them the responsibility of their own experience that traditional or conventional theatre tends to forbid.
Are real stories used within a performance? Why is this?
Blue Intervention is rarely story-based. The key themes explored are mostly based on group discussions and suggestions. The themes tend to be relevant to the social climate, for example in Bin Bag Britain (20/11/08); we examined issues surrounding recycling, the use of plastic and the dominance of the corporation as active social determinants that affect daily behaviour.
Can you explain some more about the format of a ‘usual’ intervention, and how they work in general?
Blue Interventionists receive updates via email. These updates contain information about meeting place, time and date, dress code (if relevant), duration of performance, structure of the event, and any other details deemed necessary. At the arranged time, date, and location, we meet and identify ourselves (over forty people are signed up to Blue Intervention, not all are active participants, but each event may be a completely different group of people) and participants are given wrist bands to wear (again, for identification purposes). From the meeting place, we move toward the site, stopping on the way for a quick briefing, warm-up, and chance to ask questions. Once at the site, the performance begins. After the performance, the group re-meets to discuss, give feedback, and submit any ideas for future projects/further development. This is also an opportunity for participants to get to know each other. Each event is documented, mainly by photography. As of March 2009 this documentation will become more varied, using photography, film, note-taking, participant write-ups, audience reviews and other artistic means. After each event, the documentation is sent to the participants, and the cycle begins again.
Would you say that the Blue Interventionist’s have a client group? Or a particular group that they work with or represent? Can you give examples of these types of people?
Blue Intervention is currently student-led. Many of the participants and documenters are also students. Unlike many performance schemes available to students and young people, Blue Intervention is non-profit, has no membership fee, and participants have no pressure for regular attendance – they can attend one event or all events, can be active performers or documenters, and can also be involved in the planning and designing of the events. Like the audience, the participants have the responsibility to choose their own level of involvement within each event. The audience is varies at each event however like the potential aims, as of March 2009, the type of audience will be given more consideration and this will be done via location chosen, time of day and type of performance however it is noteworthy that Blue Intervention is a non-judgemental scheme that seeks to involve and stimulate the public, and as such we will perform for and with the public, whatever that public may be on the day.
Do you believe that the organisation helps to change a society/community (or a particular social issue) and if so how and why?
There is no way for us to sufficiently mark the effects of a performance on the audience but we do attempt to bring something new and hope that each event elicits a positive response from the public. Blue Intervention is an opportunity to playfully explore ideas and issues through performance processes without pressure on the outcome. We do not aim to bring about social change or provide tools for the transformation of a community, but merely to bring theatrical practice to the non-theatrical, and have a lot of fun in the process… any positive effect we induce is a bonus.
What does the term social control mean to you or Blue Interventionists as an organisation?
To Blue Intervention, social control means the way in which society functions and the reasons society functions in this particular way. Blue Intervention responds to social control by intervening. This quiet rebellion against everyday restraints does not seek glorification in its results, as previously mentioned Blue Intervention does not embark in performance to create social change, whilst we feel it very important to provide stimulus for the public, we leave it at their disposal to choose what to do with the stimulus. As such, Blue Intervention does not disrupt any ‘docile bodies’ (Foucault) unless the bodies themselves decide to be disrupted.
Giving examples, do you think the Blue Interventionists work reflect a true image of society? Why is this and how do you think this is done?
Society is a vast and complex web, we cannot reflect this adequately but we can open the doorways to dialogue.
Giving examples, can the Blue Interventionists work be described as a response to society? Again why and how?
The work by Blue Intervention is a response to society – each piece of work is a direct response to a societal issue, each work is a product of that society, each participant is a member of that society and the society itself is the stage that frames each event, in each public space, with each public audience.