the viewpoints

Viewpoint Theory
Originated by dancer/ choreographer Mary Overlie, the Viewpoints provide a simple and profound language with which performers, choreographers and directors can communicate and interact. The Six Viewpoints were articulated by Mary, over a period of years and through collaborations with artists from various mediums, as a set of labels with which to discuss the making of art. These labels are not meant, in and of themselves, to indicate value judgment -- but rather enable performing artists to apprehend and analyze form as well as content. According to Viewpoint Theory, the key to the practice is horizontal logic. All six of the Viewpoints are equally important and worthy of exploration.

Having deconstructed the basic building blocks of physical performance, the performer, choreographer or director is free to examine these separately or in tandem, from all angles, in an infinite investigation. With the loss of preconceived notions of hierarchical value comes the destabilization of reality itself. We are free, as artists, to reassemble the basic blocks in any configuration. We redesign the reality of our choosing, from moment to moment to moment...

Viewpoint Applications
Synaesthetic Theatre utilizes the Viewpoints extensively during the rehearsal process, for ensemble-building, character exploration, and the development of themes, relationships and staging. We have found the Viewpoints to be particularly useful in collaborative creative processes - providing a common vocabulary and framework within which to generate, investigate or deconstruct material. When working with performers trained in the Viewpoints, a director is able to draw on the performers' aesthetic awareness and intuitive responses more directly - achieving physical specificity while also making room for collaboration and unpredictable connections. When developing scenes, characters or the "world" of the play, an ensemble that utilizes the Viewpoints has access to impulses and choices that might not occur within the confines of other acting methods, particularly if these focus primarily on motivation and emotion. Used alone or in combination with other methods, the Viewpoints provide theatre artists with a basis for unique insight and multi-layered exploration.

More About the Viewpoints
Click here to read more about the viewpoints at Mary Overlie's Six Viewpoints Web site.