Kit Yan

Considerations for the Performance

Darren Canady, KU Professor of English

Experiencing a live performance is dynamic by design. When you are in the same physical space, the artist intends to affect you on a palpable, human level. But for that to happen, you have to be an active and engaged collaborator in the experience. The best way to do that is to do some simple tracking during the piece.

Questions for Engaging a Performance

The best way to do that is to do some simple tracking during the piece. Pay attention to:

  1. What visuals catch your eye? What “pictures” are being created by the artists?
  2. How is the space being used? Does it feel expansive? Does it look compact?
  3. What’s in the soundscape? What are the textures of the music that you hear? What’s sounds exist that are NOT music?
  4. How are the human bodies you see affected by the above? What is the relationship between body, voice, sound, and space in this performance?
  5. What story is being told? What are the major points of that story?
  6. Now this one is major so make sure you’re giving it some attention: What emotions do you feel throughout the piece? Why? What moments arrest you? What moments leave you with questions?
  7. After the performance finishes, take just a few seconds to write down a list of sensory words, adjectives, or emotions you’re left with. Use these to form questions for the artists and as artifacts to explore during the rest of the curriculum.
  8. How does this performance allow you to notice or experience your own body in a new or different way?

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