Problematising the One-on-one Part I

At EL TARRO I was able to trial a first draft of the Backgammon piece. The context of this season of EL TARRO was rather different though.


They collaborated with the Samba Cine Club and organised a bigger event at thousandpoundbend in the city. The vibe was great, the event successful, especially since enough people who paid $10 at the door had attended and they could pay each of the performers a relatively rewarding fee for their efforts. But essentially, it was exciting and happening; it was a party.


The audience members were then made up of people who had come because they know of EL TARRO, people who knew about the Samba Cine Club and was interested in the film screening on the night and then people who had heard about it through friends and what not, and was up for a taste of South America on a Friday night.


Being situated downstairs so that I could invite the “stragglers” to join me for a game of Backgammon – this means people who mingled downstairs and did not go upstairs for the other performances for the night or the film screening – I was right in the midst of a very social, “party” environment. The context of the work was distinctly different.


For one, the participants I had did not know it was a performance they were partaking in till I had told them at the end. And I had invited them to the game, as the game itself and had not consciously considered the context enough, perhaps assuming that everyone there had known that this was a night of small performances.


This rather social context though, I thoroughly enjoyed. But it did shed light on certain things I must now begin to excavate and understand, and make some decisions on.


In that intimate, private and quiet experience between 2 people – there are inherent differences in the relationships between men and women. There seems to be inherently a sense of competition when you put 2 women in a room – and you see this in the workplace, back in school, in a new group of friends gathering…when you put a man and a woman together though, there seems to be inherently the question of attraction, or un-attraction.


An audience member from Friday night admitted that he had wanted to ask for my number. And I really appreciate his frankness in our “post-show dialogue,” and while that was a flattering comment, I replied that I do find that a tricky territory to navigate. He then expressed that it was in the risk of that vulnerability and openness that made the work, work.


And it is this that has opened all these thoughts tonight.

In constructing something that is shaped as a conversation, as 2 people simply hanging out – the inherent relationship that exists and then built (in spite of the text or theme of the content) is really what is at work here. The context of a Man, and the context of a Woman that is myself and/or the audience member need to be taken into consideration.


I am entering a dimension of gender studies then, am I not? And the question really, is do I explore a much more “universal” framework that accommodates both genders, and that is that possible even? Or do I capitalise on these social, gendered contexts and make the work an investigation into the male and female psyche?




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