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The Builders Association and dbox, SUPER VISION: ACTING

SUPER VISION tells three stories

1. As he crosses successive borders, a solitary traveller gradually is forced to reveal all of his personal information, until his identity becomes transparent, with no part of his life left outside the boundaries of datasurveillance.

2. A young woman (Jen), addicted to the white noise of constant connection, maintains a long-distance relationship with her Grandmother. As she makes efforts to digitally archive her Grandmother's past, the Grandmother slips into senility.

3. A father covertly exploits his young son's personal data to meet the demands of the family's lifestyle. This ploy escalates beyond the father's control, until he is compelled to disappear. His wife and son are left with a starkly diminished data portrait, and his escape is shadowed by the long reach of the datasphere.

Video streaming: Traveller Scene 3

Rizwan Mirza

Nick Kaye: When you were developing the character, were you thinking of him as separate from the technology, or as constituted in the technology around you and through which you perform?

Uploaded Image
Left ti right: Rizwan Mirza (the traveller) mediated live and onstage,
Joe Silovsky (the TSA agent) mediated live and on forestage.
Video still.

Rizwan Mirza: It is an interesting question. I think that in The Builders’ shows it’s like being in a theatre piece and film at the same time. I studied conventional theatre, where there was the whole idea of theatre voice and theatre presence. In The Builders at times you have to really rein it in even if you are playing in front of a house of a thousand, because you are on camera a lot of the time. The wonderful thing for me as an actor, and the thing that is very fulfilling, is that the slightest nuance of any eye movement or facial twitch reads in the theatre. That is incredibly freeing. When you see a Builders’ show there is a muted resonance to them. Almost like a computer screen, with different boxes popping up, and a sound here and there. You feel part of it. I think you get the sense, certainly, of technology playing a part, but it never overshadows the humanity of the performers. I think Marianne Weems is very careful with that. Even in scenes when there is a certain - hollowness - like in the family scenes – David Pence and Kyle DeCamp are doing a certain stylized type of acting, which is underlining the whole idea of a family that is living through what they buy. They are hollow, but the acting must be approached in that way - sort of acting within the character and without. I think there is a certain haunting loneliness about the quality of The Builders’ shows. Even when they are funny. I think in their funniest moments there is a lonely quality.

Tanya Selvaratnam

Nick Kaye: For me, in watching SUPER VISION, there are times when there is a very strong sense of equivalence between projections and performers. At times the performers seem to be illuminated almost like video figures - when Rizwan Mirza, for example, performs behind the screen on which he is simultaneously projected. At other times, attention is drawn to your live performance of ‘Jen’ onscreen. So ‘presence’ is very much a part of the content of the performance for the audience. Yet these perceptions seem very different from your experience in performing.

Tanya Selvaratnam: Yes, I am aware of that. That is what keeps my performance going. I am aware that it’s part of the big picture. It takes a much lighter touch to do that, because it is more like film acting, which I have done as well. It is that bizarre light touch that you have to strike as a performer - if you go a little bit too far in one direction you look like you are overacting.

Nick Kaye: Especially in a live theatrical situation

Tanya Selvaratnam: Yes, because you have the energy of the crowd; you have the lights on you; you have that immediate gratification. It is hard not to want it.

see also: performer presence | playing to camera |


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Page last modified by Nick Kaye Wed Nov 28/2007 07:19