1998 - Postmodern Elements of Theories and Practice
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Too Many Cooks Spoil The Soup? The Pitfalls of Collaboration and Lessons Learnt
Alvin Tan

Collaboration "is a recognition of the high status and artistic quality of partner" (Hughes, 1996:10). S/he must use his/her discipline's vocabulary to initiate and improvise in an exploratory manner so that the artistic team can better decide if what is proposed can contribute to the work. Problems/limitations usually challenge an artist's creativity. In a non-hierarchical arrangement, when a collaborator disagrees with a director, s/he must assert his/her stand; affecting rather than interpreting the director's vision. [...]

In transforming how artists relate to one another in a less hierarchical structure, the traditional roles should be allowed to remain. The paradigm shift is to open up other possible working methods. For example, Sharma's initial notion of empowering actors was to impart some playwriting skills/rules to enable them to author their own character's dialogue or scenarios. He has since shifted to watching and learning the ways actors use their bodies to express their character's motivations in physical performance. He has begun working closely with a choreographer. He has struggled to understand and appreciate how a performance score can work alongside literary text and have just sat back during physical improvisations and allowed the created images to speak to him. In not knowing the briefs, what he observed may be far from or close to an actor's intention. But more importantly the experience have inspired new working paradigms for him; how to write word-texts that would supplement the visual and/or performance texts. Sharma's style of writing and not his role has changed.