Phe-NoumeNow, 2019

The research is about identity, co-creation and roles within the performance setting and the creative process.

The questions raised are: how much do we rely on our role within the performance setting and creative process, and how much do we assume, expect, act out the role we believe we embody? Wanting to challenge ourselves (as performers) and the audience on how we position ourselves within the setting and how much these roles are taken for granted.

In order to approach the topic, we took one element that is commonly assumed as the role of the spectator: the one of the observer or witness.

As performer/makers we want to experience what it is to be an audience. We indeed took on the role of the witness and decided to expand it further into its potential and possibilities.

We dug into ways and modes of witnessing and affect. How do we get affected by the presence of others? More particularly, we used the word ‘witness’, inspired by Mary Stark House and Janet Adler from authentic movement. We also took inspiration from the book Between us, Audiences, affect and the in-between, by Joanne Bob Whalley and Lee Miller to have a broader understanding and perspective on what it is to be an audience. Few points we retained are:

-the affect defined by Spinoza as ‘the capacity to affect or be affected’

-the proxemics relations between people by Edward T. Hall: ‘intimate, personal, social and public’

Which led us to question: How is it to witness and being witnessed? How do we get affected by it?

We worked on various ways of witnessing, through touching, observing, being present and framing, but also giving feedback on what is happening or what has just happened (also present in the product). Instead of involving the audience, we used each other to be our own audience and witness. We went through the experience of being an audience and how being observed can affect us, support us, or even sometimes isolate. We experienced and discussed what it is to be witnessed, and is it possible to have no witness, not even ourselves?


Out of this, we defined specific parameters of the 2 experiences of witnessing ourselves and having no witness whatsoever.

It made us aware that, even when there is no audience or witness, the simple fact of thinking of how others would perceive us creates an imaginary witness. This lead me to write the choreographer’s note at the beginning, stating the presence of the audience within the creative process.

We also recognized that a part of us is craving to be seen and another part that does not want to be seen, so that in a sense we have this wish to be seen, felt, understood, received by others, as performers and as human beings, and at the same time we want to hide.

Choreography: Marie Chabert

Dramaturgy and poetry: Pete Guy Spencer

Performers: Sofia Filippou, Danny Kearns, Louise Spearing, Marc Stevenson

Musician: Maya Giulivi

In collaboration with the audience