How to Make a "LOVE" Solo

What you will need to begin with is:
Five to Seven Seasoned Performers
Five to Seven Plastic Chairs
A Rehearsal Space ( 8m x 8m at least)
An Openness to Explore
A Honest Response

Although the " love solo's" were only a small part of the BOB project, the issues that they dealt with in regard to performer and witness/ audience were to play a very important inspiration point in several later projects, ie. Luka, the last celebrity, and in particularly "the girlfriend experience". The main area of research for the "love solo's" was how does one as a performer create an immediate bond with a stranger, keep their attention for ten minutes, and to give the feeling to the viewer that are special, loved, adored.

For the beginning of the rehearsal process, we placed seven chairs in different directions around a space, in each chair sat one of the other members of the performance group, facing different sides of the space. The task of the performer, who was asked to perform/improvise one by one for ten minutes was to keep the attention of all other seven witnesses at the same time.

If as a viewer if you lost your attention for one moment your would have to stand up, and you were only allowed to sit down again once your attention can been recaptured.

Most performers who are asked to prepare an improvised solo around a given theme, often rely on old tricks, and which can very quickly dissolve into self absorption and they forget about the audience who is watching them. Although the situation sounds quite simple, the set up made the performers very quickly reflect up themselves, and helped them find new mechanisms for holding the attention of the other performer/ viewers.

As each of the other seven performers also took their turn in performing the solo's to the other seven, the attention span of the witnesses began to shorten, so the task of keeping all seven engaged became more and more difficult. An honest response of a viewer of just simply standing up and down, helped the performer whose turn it was, to explore and find for themselves how they deal with public and how a public deals with them. The critical response of seven like minded colleagues who would all have to perform the same task to a high level, became a seven fold mirror. If you hold the attention and create a feeling for seven critical eyes, the response from a singular viewer would be more simple. We trained this exercise every day for one month , each time finding new ways, more honesty and emotion from both sides.

Martin Butler