On 8/29/16, two subjects performed a loosely scripted exchange over the course of a dinner at an Austin restaurant. Certain things were fixed – for instance – total amount that each player could spend on their meal/drinks, subjects of discussion, and the emotional motivations for each character. Other things came about as a result of the situation outside the scope of the predetermined fiction, but were considered to be subsumed by the fictive pretense of the dinner.
The subjects had a single audience member (also their patron) who was aware of the fictive pretense of the dinner and was to pay for the meals and drinks of the players, but the patron was not made aware of the subjects of discussion or the emotional motivations of the characters in advance of the performance. The patron did receive photographs of the players about an hour before the performance was to begin.
All other guests of the restaurant and staff were not informed about the predetermined/quasi-fictional nature of the arrangement.
I was not present on the night of the performance, but asked the players and patron to provide me with documentation in the form of a textual transcript of their experiences. Each participant (players and patron) had different styles of transcription – the patron provided a bulleted/minute like account of their experience. One player sent me a text chain that was conversational and informal (and despite a request to refrain from providing me with photographic/videographic documentation, that player sent me a number of images and videos from the evening). One player sent me something more introspective and poetic.
As I was resting on my couch that evening anticipating a moment where one of the people involved in this production might need my direction about the situation for any number of reasons, I came to the realization that all informed parties (myself included) contributed to a narrative that was impossible to objectify for the benefit of an external audience. There were dramas unforeseen, hiccups with timing, subverted expectations which resulted in excessive consumption of both food and drink, and misunderstandings about the financial aspects of the exchange, which forced one player to contribute monetarily to the production.
Good fiction questions/probes a state of affairs. I believe that the four of us nailed it with this project.
All parties were key. All motivations were suspect. All players were worthy.
An excerpt from a video dossier can be found here.
If interested in receiving the full video dossier, please email me.