Lessons Learned from Ralph Lemon

by Mira Dayal


Ralph Lemon. The Scaffold (2015). Performance Still at The Kitchen.

Use movement sparingly.

Use voice unapologetically.

Incriminate the audience with your eyes.

Cycle back, repeat yourself, but reveal something new in doing so.

Make them wish they hadn’t come by the middle of the performance.

Beyond too much of something is so much that it becomes an established background, then suddenly productive.

Use spasms to offset the precision of performance.

Incriminate the audience with your voice, but make them wonder if they are wrong to feel incriminated.

Perform poorly, but don’t smile about it.

Extend the performance beyond, outside the performance, both in duration and physical space.

Tie into the space and the existing work in the space.

Move the stage set around, but don’t do it yourself, as the performer. Make the audience wonder if this is finally the end, and then make them realize once you begin again that they were in fact anticipating this next beginning.

Make them regret their dislike for the piece by the end.

Enter, exit, end, begin–

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