In his first solo, with no one to help him, composer and interdisciplinary performer Alex Mah combines elements of text scoring, performance art and (potentially all or none of) moving, singing, staring, sweating, underwhelming, revealing and deceiving.
From: Deanna Peters
To: Alex Mah
Can you speak a bit about how you're using text scoring in your Interplay solo? What is it? How does it work? Can you give a quick example of a text score and how it might be used?
I'm using text scoring in order to create an environment for (my own) performance. I have used text scores (words on paper that function to facilitate music, movement, etc.) to create collaborative compositions and to explore ideas that are tricky to get at using music notation or choreographic steps, for example.
Part of the challenge in creating a solo for myself (besides the fact that I have not done it) is that I have to separate(?) and/or acknowledge the role of the scorer, interpreter and director, within myself. I have also found that challenging in making group works.
In this new solo, I want to set up a series of "possibilities" and navigate my way through them (and sometimes around them). I have a deep interest in indeterminacy, but in this setup, initially at least, I will have a consistent set of props (I seldom use props) and a starting point – tea. I have a lot of reasons for choosing tea, not least of which is the simple pleasure of drinking it.
In my work in residency at EDAM, one of the greatest sources of (my) interest AND challenges of my scores is that they tend to have varying levels of control and chaos due to the improvisation or open nature of the interpretation. Research-wise, one primary focus was in group interaction and conditional elements involving other performers, ie if Emma starts, one of you will join her in a duet. For Interplay, however, I will only have myself (and the audience, lucky you..?) to "be with". I will attempt to use my collaborative skills internally within my body, my thoughts and my writing.
Alex teaches an interdisciplinary text scoring workshop Oct 11.