BENCH PROJECT: How We Live in the World
To create a dance and/or theater piece based on the concept originated by director/ choreographer Jennifer Muller for her production BENCH.
BENCH expresses the destructive effect of human behavior on the natural environment. Ms. Muller’s piece ended with a prayer for renewal.
The BENCH represents the fixed space available for humanity on this earth.
For this project you will need a bench (or platform) between 16’ and 18’ long (5-6 meters). The BENCH should be without a back and without arms.
To communicate the message of BENCH, you are asked to:
1. Express how human behavior has had a detrimental effect on the earth by conveying how negative human intervention has led to the devastation of global warming, change in the weather systems and other evidence of damage to the natural environment.
2. Propose ways that human behavior must change to reverse these effects.
Exercises and Steps
Exercises to help explore the project: In order to express the effects of negative human interference on the earth, you can use the following steps to help initiate and create the project.
STEP ONE: Explore each of the “seven deadly sins” as individual examples of destructive behavior. The “sins” and their attributes are follows:
♣ Lust – excessive love of others, addiction, obsession, rape
♣ Pride – desire to be more important than others, vanity, contempt for one’s neighbors
♣ Envy –desire of what others have, pleasure in seeing others brought low
♣ Greed – acquisition of wealth, love of excess, disloyalty, theft, manipulation of authority
♣ Wrath – uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger, wishing to do harm, vengeance, assault
♣ Gluttony – over-indulgence or over-consumption of anything to the point of waste
♣ Sloth – laziness, indifference, melancholy, apathy, joylessness, instability, unwillingness to care
STEP TWO: Relate the “sins” listed above to an appropriate effect on the natural environment
STEP THREE: Consider how many places/environments/concepts/symbols the BENCH itself can represent. For example:
Place of Apathy – “I’ll sit this one out”
Place of Indecision – “sitting on a fence”
Place of Power – “king of the hill”
Place of Ownership – “all of this is mine”
Place of Exhaustion – “I’ll just lie here a while”
Place of Teeming Humanity – “There’s not enough room for us all”
and MANY MORE!
STEP FOUR: Investigate ways the human behavior must change to reverse the damage to the earth. Explore how these behavioral changes can be expressed in movement and/or relationships between participants.
STEP FIVE: Consider what props, music and/or clothes would help you “tell the story.”
STEP SIX: Decide on a final scenario. Create your own BENCH PROJECT by expressing the story line through movement and/or relationship between participants
STEP SEVEN: Video your project and send it to Kevin (at) 350.org.