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Lab Members: What is Experiment?

Edward: Anything you would not do normally. Must involve some degree of risk (not necessarily danger).

Haibin: Unbalancing oneself—— The act of stepping out into the unknown is in itself experimental in nature.

Issy: "Experiment", according to Wikipedia, is an orderly procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, refuting or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. "Experiment", according to me, is to go crazy with all the different methods of doing things, "just to whack and see what happens". It is more about asking questions, than refuting or confirming a statement. "Experiment" to me, also means excitement, anxiety and a loss of control, as I am a person who loves to play safe and prefers not to challenge the status quo unless absolutely neccessary.Unfortunately, in order for boundaries to be broken and discoveries to be made in anything and everything we do, we NEED experimentation. And in order to experiment, we need to be able to let go of what we think is "important" and "legitimate" and "right" and just PLAY. However, this play is not without abandon. It also needs to come with the ability to dissect and understand why things happen as they did. These two things, experimentation and reflection,actually are key in our work as actors and creators and help us break new ground in terms of human experience, theatre forms, training methodologies etc. So I guess, "experiment" also means discovery through experience, and something I have to get used to. A lot.

Liansheng: Experiment, for me, is about doing something where the results do not determine the process. It’s about telling yourself you can fail, that it’s ok at the end of the day.However, this does not necessary mean that it is a wanton abandonment of the rules. There are still rules to follow, but these rules would pertain to the process of creation. Are you truthful to your process? Are you accountable to yourself, your audience or your collaborators in your process?For me, every work I do has to be an experiment. If not, why do it in the first place?

Suhuai: An experiment in theatre, expands the space, thus possibilities one has – be it on a technical or conceptual level, form or content wise. Before we deal with what an experiment is, I feel that there are two questions that should be clarified. Firstly, why should we experiment? If the reasons are merely for the rather empty purpose of striving a breakthrough, then the experiment could very well be a waste of resources. Theatre is a part of one’s culture and life. It is also a part of our society and us.  When we experiment in theatre, we are in fact conducting an examination into the society, and undoubtedly our culture and life.Secondly, what are we experimenting? When we first see a chair, we must first identify its structure and uses before we can examine what other purposes it can serve. If we were to place a flower or gun on top of it, then there would be a different connotation to it. If we completely ditch the original purpose of a chair, and treat it merely as a prop, then this experiment will be without any boundaries -  Because it is not grounded in anything in its attempt. And if you were to realize at the end of this experiment that it is merely a chair, then you will return back to the first question - Why then did you do the experiment?  Once we have clarified and answered these two questions, then we would perhaps be clearer about the definition of what an experiment is.

Rei: Experiment is to take action and test an idea. If one had an idea, having a platform to put those ideas into test was the aim and spirit of practice lab. the idea of experiment was to fail and fail, just like the the idea of being a human. As a Singaporean, I've always find it difficult to take risks, to make the first step, and theatre has given me this experiment. From my experiences in theatre of the oppressed of taking actions, and then experimenting and testing in practice lab.

Ric: Experiment = Game + Imagination + Curiosity + Courage + Practice + Creation + Experience + Honesty + Openness + Accident + Acceptance + Pleasure. The core of an experiment is not about right or wrong, success or failure. It is about Discovery.

arrow  Continue reading on Issue 4 / 31 March 2015:Experiment • Viewpoint