Posted March 30, 2022
Week 4 was the last of an intensive introduction to (Inter)acting with the Inner Partner (aka IwIP). In this blog post, we’ll read reflections from Openings participants about what has changed in their IwIP over those introductory four weeks, and what questions remain. As an introduction to participants' intial discoveries, I briefly meander through what the initial stages of IwIP tend to be like for beginning IwIP practitioners .
But even before we move on to that, let’s begin with Cecilia Paul reflection after leading the warm-up for Tuesday’s session, and co-leading IwIP. It’s an insightful and sensitive springboard for the rest of the blog, and for the future of Openings:
”It’s funny, comforting, and sad to realize how we all, independent of cultural background, share common fears, and how we can let shame stop us from living fully.”
- Cecilia Paul
Playing through the Initial Chaos and Confusion of IwIP
Over the last four weeks, we practiced IwIP twice a week, so eight session of IwIP in total. Professor Vyskočil, the creator of IwIP, when writing about this introductor period, speaks of “an initial period of chaos and confusion, which typically lasts between six and ten encounters” (in Authorization Code).
My experience as an IwIP teacher resonates with this. After about eight to twelve sessions of practicing IwIP, the more intense disorientation that comes during the initial plunge into IwIP begins to sort itself out.
And it isn’t easy an easy plunge! Stepping into a performing situation alone with a minimal frame and with only a few limits and conditions to the rehearsing can be disorientating. It needs time to structure the “collective chaos and confusion, then experience its clarification, gradually structuring it ‘from the inside’” (Vyskočil, Authorization Code). We need to go through our personal experience on stage, receive feedback on that experience from an IwIP leader (or two), self-reflect, and pose further questions to play through.
Consciously, and also less so, this process also initiates practitioners into IwIP’s particular methodology of performative research, its specific learning cycle of action-reflection-conception. Practitioners working with IwIP for the first time typically begin to sense if IwIP's methodology of posing, provoking, and playing through personal and performance questions through dramatic play suits them, might suit them, or might not.
During the first four weeks of Openings, we – IwIP leaders and practioners – have began to open up and to notice what patterns we repeat, what aspects of public existence seem to be changing, and what initial questions have begun to emerge and to crystalize. At the end of Thursday’s session, I asked the students to briefly discuss: 1) What they feel has changed in their IwIP and because of their IwIP during these first four weeks? and 2) What questions remain for you and your IwIP? Hanna, who co-led Thursday's session, and I also discussed these questions. Here are our responses based on my notes:
What has changed in your IwIP and in you because of IwIP?
- Allowing. I allow more.
- Awareness. Awarness of what my body is doing. Allowing sadness.
- In IwIP, I realize I’m the mother of a big family, with many kids vying for attention. In this constellation, I'm giving more space for myself.
- Interesting that the voice feels scary. The playful person I’m discovering is surprising.
- I’m more curious about change. I'm aware of the absence of voice in my IwIP practice.
- I don’t know if anything’s changed. Perhaps I’m more relaxed. But I also seem more angry and on edge.
- I feel I'm able to listen more and more deeply.
- I'm working the the process of giving up control and seeing what that does to me and what it means to me. I'm more able to give up and to share control of the situation.
What questions remain for you and your IwIP?
- There’s a storm in my practice. How do I get more of a tour?
- What else can I allow and for whom?
- How can I host my partners more fully?
- What else will grow and by inspired? How will voice and sound come into my practice?
- What to do to make the voice more open? Why is, and what makes, IwIP such a different stage practice than anything else I’ve experienced?
- Why is it so difficult to use words?
- How can I deal with my own issues of hierarchy in IwIP?
- What will happen when we move from IwIP to group work based in IwIP? How will we play through that?
Thanks for reading! Come back again soon 🙂
- Alexander Komlosi, Artistic Director