Rational Madness is an award-winning theatre company bringing performance into the heart of change and transformation.
The company was founded in 1999 as part of the arts-based organisation, CATS3000.
Rational Madness seeks to create new audiences for its work, extending its creation and performance into communities and organisations not always to be found in traditional theatre settings.
Rational Madness also seeks to create learning and development opportunities for individuals, groups, organisations, and communities to explore aspects of creativity, dialogue and performance in their own practices.
We offer performance, workshops, learning events, and materials.Our values are based upon professionalism, community and the challenging mediocrity.
For Rational Madess lockdown existed before Covid-19 in the form of the “lockdown” referred to by Jaron Lanier, the lockdown of human to the current version of the digital realm.
Our next project has the working title of “Debrief” and is scheduled to premiere in Liverpool at AOMO 2021 after a scratch performance at in Brighton, early 2021. Watch this space for further details.
Here’s the schema..
Title of the Performance: “The Debrief – A Piece of Emergent Solo Theatre”
The performer is debriefing a critical incident, an encounter with death, a dance with mortality. Usually processes internally, perhaps with the aid of a counsellor, an experience with a life-threatening illness is in need of processing, reflecting upon.
The performer is the one about to debrief the powerful, personally disruptive experience, and invites the audience to bear witness, to inquire and to be the “other” in the debrief. The performers is not sure if he can bear to do it, yet wonders if the shared experience of performer and audience participant-witness, can become an activist community, holding space for the debrief. A semi-improvised piece of theatre, the performer gathers up the artefacts of his story and offers them to the audience who co-shale the experience in a way he hopes will bring resolution, healing and hints of further steps along the way.
45 minutes of live, solo theatre. Or perhaps not solo. Perhaps a shared act, with the audience the co-makers, both co-author and ensemble cast. This is an experimental piece of theatre. The performer invites you to be instrumental in his debrief of the personal experience of a serious illness, using theatre to activate the process of gathering up, making sense and meaning, unravelling, resolving and further inquiring. Can an audience become the agent of the debrief of epic action?
Silence is an option, listening a critical process, questioning the tool of direction of a piece of living theatre.
Rational Madness Theatre, founded in 1999, makes theatre that explores personal, social and organisational life. This theatre experiment explores, with a real case study, using the medium of semi-improvised theatre, the process of bebrief of a critical incident. Is there a connection between personal and organisational processing of critical incidents? Can an audience (who may or may not contain members who have a direct stake in the incident,) through the processes of witness (active listening) and inquiry (asking questions that may direct the narrative) influence the processes of debrief (reflection, hindsight, regret, learning lessons) in ways that can enhance further action?
After a short introduction, the session will include a 45 minute live theatre performance which presents the story of a person facing a life threatening health condition, and which invites the audience to influencing the performance through their unique collective witness of it, their active listening and (possibly) their ability to co-create the performance through live questions. There will then be time for discussion of, and reflection on the whole process. The performer may be in no fit state to do this, in which case the session may have already ended. The performer is skilled in knowing when to stop and in processes of recovery and “come down”.
No one has to speak (including the performer), no one will be embarrassed and it is possible to simply watch. One hypothesis is that silent witness is a powerful form of activism. Another is that collective inquiry is resolving and healing because crowdsourcing can yield up crowd wisdom and that temporary communities can create authentic resolution.
In other news…
We were delighted to premiere an early version of our new play, Letting You Go, Joe, at The Art of Management and Organisation Conference in Bled, Slovenia – 1-4 September 2016. The play then performed at the MIT conference, also in Slovenia. We scratched an earlier version in August 2016 in Edinburgh.
Find out more here.We
We were also live at the Art of Management and Organisation Conference in Brighton, UK. Here is the Bunk Experiment.