PERFORMANCE AS RITUAL
When performance is approached as a ritual, the focus is on the transformational state shared by everybody present.
Circle (2013-) is a participatory performance where human connection is created and explored through our primal instincts in action. The participants form a circle around a shared stage area. Any two people from the circle may move into the center to encounter each other while the others witness their encounter from the perimeter. The encounters play with three areas of instinctive behaviour: nurture, power struggle and sexuality.
Circle uses a ritual structure to create utopian sociality. The participants face the temporary community created in the liminal space of the ritual, suspending the social rules we generally abide to. Through shared acceptance of this suspension, an altered collective consciousness can be created, where instinctual action contrasts with the performative situation and the participants are immersed in the tension between intimacy and distance, touching and seeing, the stage and the auditorium.
Solta – a journey to the underworld (2011) was a solo performance about depression, dressing and undressing, the mythical and the ordinary. We used the structure of an initiation ritual and myth of Kore and Persephone as the tools with which to work with the experience of clinical depression. By taking the performance as a personal ritual of the actor Heidi Syrjäkari, we became more interested in what happened to her than what it looked like. The ritualitic orientation enhanced the strength drawn from darkness, the possibility of depression as a liminal space through which true personal transformation can occur. Solta is Portuguese for letting go – we attempted to let Heidi pass through an experience of letting go and through that to offer the same for the audience.
Circle photos: Rami Aapasuo
Solta photos: Jan Ahlstedt