Yaron Shyldkrot

Beyond a Black Square, …

In the current theatre climate, documentation still proves itself to be a prime necessity. Yet what happens when all you see during the performance is darkness? As Roy Sorensen asks, “Could there be a picture of total darkness?” (2004: 470). For theatre in the dark as an emerging performance practice, images and video recordings do not seem to be the most appropriate medium for documentation as there is supposedly nothing to see. So how could these performances be documented?

In this presentation I wish to examine strategies for documenting performance in the dark. When plunging audiences into darkness, a strong sense of uncertainty and disorientation arises that disrupts the perception of the audience. Capturing this experience therefore requires other modes of documentation. Informed by my own work as a practitioner-researcher and examining different experiences created by other artists (Chris Goode, David Rosenberg, Tino Sehgal), I wish to explore the translation of the uncertain experience in and through the document.

To do so, I will first outline the disruption of perception that is accruing when being in total darkness. Then, through the perspective of monochrome I will show how a black image isn’t sufficient for documentation and explore what the monochrome could offer to the exploration of the experience darkness. Finally, I will explore descriptions and the use of headphones as alternative attempts for documentation. By addressing the unique characteristics of the experiences created by the challenge to see I wish to tackle some of the complexities and possibilities of documentation.

Yaron Shyldkrot: Yaron is a practitioner-researcher currently working on a FASS funded Practice as Research PhD at the University of Surrey, exploring dramaturgies of uncertainty and theatre in the dark. He holds an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice (with distinction) from RCSSD. As a performance maker, he works as a director, lighting designer and dramaturg and co-founded Fye and Foul, a theatre company exploring unique sonic experiences, darkness and extremes.