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Adding Desire to the Viewpoints.

I've started regular idiosyncratic Viewpoint workshops. More hereWhat follows is some thoughts on the nature of those idiosyncrasies.


Overlie included “Emotion” and Bogart took it out.1

And I’ve been missing something, in the eyes and at the fingers. In the centre and in the lips.

Objective, intention and action are all words that might try to get at a similar thing. But I’m going with Desire.

Desire can lead to performance states and to physical change or be image or character based. It’s open and specific in the way that the Viewpoints are.

This will involve lots of work with eyes. A bit of an obsession lately, I’m looking forward to working on eye focuses, seeing the room and your fellows and how working with Desire we can avoid the dreaded zombie eyes and/or single point blinders that so often afflicts us on stage and in rehearsal.

Viewpoints, like many performance frameworks, is a prism through which impulses can be separated and worked on. Viewpoints can be a way to surprise yourself with clear choices that serve the whole. Breaking out the choices we make as improvisors, devisers, creators, etc… we can practice working in categories of Time and Space. Mary Overlie, the choreographer who coined the term spoke of six viewpoints: Space, Story, Time, Emotion, Movement, and Shape. Anne Bogart and SITI speak of 9: Kinaesthetic Response, Tempo, Duration, Spatial Relationship, Gesture, Shape, Topography and Architecture.

In the tradition and belief that Viewpoints should be open this way, susceptible and enriched by “house rules,” along with adding Desire, I’m also mangling some Laban vocabulary to talk about the qualities of movement itself. Free and bound, sudden or sustained, light and strong and indirect and direct are helpful spectrums to articulate and adjust physical states allowing us, in training and creation, to find surprise and understand the big picture and audience perception.


  1. I have always imagined this was because when working in American Theatre, emotion is not something actors need to be reminded of. It is bread into the bone to be “feeling it.” In an ecosystem with Method actors, Viewpoints could offer a balance - a way to encourage and develop skills for paying attention to other things that are happening on stage.  ↩

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