Monday, 20 March 2017

Directive-Response-Response: complete lesson plan


- a strategy for collaborative creation
Workshop by Carl Robinson (with Cat Leclerc)

This workshop has been written for teachers here, but could easily be adapted for students learning about devising.

Directive-Response-Response is a strategy for collaboratively developing creative work, be it drama, art, music, writing or otherwise, in which students’ contributions are remixed and re-imagined by the collective over multiple iterations. The resulting work which is produced becomes ‘inextricably linked’ to each and every contribution which formed it, creating a rich and complex product at the end of the process. Touching upon the ideas of some contemporary performance makers (Goat Island/Forced Entertainment) and visual artists (Richard Serra), the workshop will be grounded in modern creative practices and principles.

This workshop is intended to give a basic introduction to the ideas and principles of some key contemporary performance makers (context here) and visual artists and provide participants with some exercises and techniques which can be used in a range of creative classes, not just the arts.

Photographs or other images (evocative images here)
Music (playlists available here)
Extract of non-fiction text (examples here)
Extract of fiction text. (example here)

Note: The timings stated here are shorter than the ideal, in order to fit into the 90 minute session time. Ideally you would take 2, if not more, sessions to complete these activities and to repeat presentations but with different music and in different styles allowing participants to experiment with timing, tone, speed, intensity, etc.

Step 1- First Directive -5 mins
Divide participants into groups of 4.
Give each group one of the four stimuli pieces (a photo, some music, non-fiction, or fiction). They read/listen/view this directive for 2 minutes, then give immediate statements of meaning (see Critical Response Process here).
  • I saw…
  • I heard…
  • I noticed…
  • I felt…
  • It reminded me of…
  • I wondered...

Step 2- Considered Responses -10 mins
Individually, participants respond to the their group’s directive by creating a new piece of art which is inspired by it.
✭ This could be in the form of a poem, a dance, a song, some music, a photo, a drawing, a list of words, some instructions, etc. The art should be inspired (directly or indirectly) by the directive.
✭ It does not need to be a ‘finished’ piece after 10 minutes, in fact it’s best to encourage participants to leave their work unfinished and incomplete so it can be grown by someone else in the next step.

Step 3- Group Sharing 1 -10 mins
✭ The group comes back together to share their work with each other.
✭ This sharing can be informal or formal, but it is worth keeping in mind that performance material often works best when it is ‘delivered’, with some ceremony. Participants might want to present their work (even if it is unfinished) in a formal way.
✭ Each individual presentation is followed by immediate statements of meaning.

Step 4- Response As New Directive -15 mins
✭ Individuals now select some or all of the material created in step 2 (by others, not their own material) and grow it. They can change, edit, add to, depart from, develop the material in any way they choose. It becomes the inspiration for a new piece of art.
✭ In the same way as step 2, individuals create a new piece of art in any medium they choose. It doesn’t need to be the same medium as they worked in for step 2, nor the same as the medium of the material they are currently responding to.  
✭ Richard Serra’s verb list can provide interesting suggestions of how to develop material. Try adding friction to a song, or hooking and heaping your movements.
✭ Any attachments to the first directive should be put to the back of the mind in this step. Allow new connections, themes and ideas to emerge from the material that the other participants have created.

Step 5- Group Sharing 2 -5 mins
✭  The small groups get back together to share their work amongst themselves.
✭  If there is time available, give immediate statements of meaning. If not, go straight to the next step.

Step 6- Compose -15 mins
✭ Each group must now compose the material they have created into a structure that makes sense and rehearse it ready to present to the whole group.
✭ It can use some or all of the material, including the material created in step 2 and/or the original directive material (if useful).
✭ Parts can be organised sequentially, overlapping, juxtaposed, etc.
✭ This is a short amount of time, so quick decisions must be made. The piece doesn’t need to ‘make sense’ or have a concrete narrative running through it. It’s just a structure within which the material can be shared.
✭ Finally, if there is time, groups should consider the beginning and the end of their presentation, thinking about the way that they will open and close their performance with a *full stop*.

Step 7- Full group sharing -15-30 mins
✭ Each group presents their work, using any materials/music/staging that they were able to throw together.
✭ If there’s enough time, allows the audience to offer immediate statements of meaning after each presentation.

Step 8- Reflect -5-10 mins
✭ What is challenging, exciting, surprising about working in this way?
✭ Which ideas, themes, thoughts emerged unexpectedly while working collaboratively?

✭ Which are the other mediums of creativity that this can apply to?


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