Show, Reflect, Recapitulate

from the GHP Manual:

The use of The Clearing in what follows is simply a way to describe the work circle.

Clearing the Clearing
Let the oracle speak first: You must find the Clearing to pursue the work. You must work in the Clearing to make a work or to find what works. You find the Clearing or the Clearing finds you; whichever way, the Clearing is where your desire will lead you if you let it.

A clearing is generally understood to be something one comes upon unexpectedly, or it might be an important detail in directions given by magical or authoritative voices: “You will discover a clearing.” A clearing is a place where common obstructions are absent or have seemingly been removed. Its difference from the surrounding cluttered terrain is how it inscribes its significance and reveals itself to humans as privileged or sacred or full of an unusual energy. A clearing is a sacred space; rites often occur there. In more contemporary usage, the clearing was offered by some existential philosophers as a concept to describe one’s awareness of being-in-the-world.
Let us assume a group has a metaphor, hidden or explicit, for the place it works and the way it works. It might be a very intimate and informal metaphor, one that is lived more than acknowledged. Let us acknowledge ours from the outset. The Clearing is a way and a place and a state, so it serves as an efficient metaphor. Within the Clearing creative work is done; performance pieces are crafted. Our rites in the Clearing will have three moments: show, reflect, recapitulate.

Show. We present our effort as examples of the Thing Itself, without apology or explanation. We take journeys and display treasures; we work spells; we show and we attend. The shaman ventures out and receives a message. The researcher ventures an experiment. It must be understood that what is shown is being given to the group to use. If someone in the group wants to participate in what is being shown, so be it. If someone wants to take it up in any way whatsoever, one may.

Reflect. We take a hard look at what has just been shown. We try to understand our experiences showing and watching. We ask ourselves questions and make private associations. We personalize the results of the explorations.

Recapitulate. Here the artist truly takes charge and begins to work with material, trying to use what has appeared in the Clearing, what might have appeared during the last Show time or what may have been etched in memory from an earlier time in the Clearing. We ask each other to see things again. We show what has struck us. We invite collaboration. We experiment and try out structures and musics and shapes.

(Practical advice from the teacher: Find the Clearing. This is an ordeal everyone must undergo. If you have found the Clearing, you must come to a teacher, alone, and show in your Book of Spells where you have written how to get there. This is the only page in your Book of Spells you are required to show. If you are right, you may begin wo

The previous paragraph was from last year. [ed. note: and this whole thing is from the Governor’s Honors Theatre Manual as written by Marc Honea] I have left it in because it is unapologetically titillating. This year we will not spend precious time waiting for you to find The Clearing. The Clearing exists the moment when a part or all of our group gathers together to watch and perform. If we are in a circle, the middle of the circle is The Clearing. If you are a group assembled at a table in the Library, that space in your midst is The Clearing. The Clearing is a very distinct stage in our creative work. You are encouraged to use it for class projects. We will certainly use it in the evenings.

You’re invited to talk about your own group process work at the Performance Group Potlatch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.