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The Viewpoints Book: A Practical Guide to Viewpoints and Composition Paperback – Aug 1 2004
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The book is very accessible to even those who have not taken any Viewpoints classes with a laid out ground plan for how to introduce each Viewpoint as well as how to use them in rehearsals and creating new pieces. The end of each section includes several options to eithe expand or replace, making the plan fit perfect for whatever you're doing. I read it cover to cover in a sitting and will be referencing it in the future as I direct those new to Viewpoints as well as those previously exposed.
Like any very basic "technique" or approach, and like like many 20th century American guides to theatrical performance, a major problem may lie in that its componentstents are delineated in a manner so simplistic, hyper-focused, and unrevealing of its purpose or endgame that it can have the effect of encouraging effort and difficulty where ideally, there should and might otherwise be none, and that probably endangers as many unproductive habits as it intends to alleviate.
While it might be life-changing for those without a regular movement practice, the emphasis on simple movement as a way through to ensemblework won't speak much to those who already have good movement or improvisation skills and for theorists and pedagogues, the book doesn't really reveal what the approach does differently from others or how its application is useful for creating or supporting the work of real performance.
If you have good, healthy physical awareness and control or training, you probably won't need viewpoints except to learn its specific vocabularies in order to work with others who use it. If you are a more advanced in the above areas and want more theory or a more comprehensive approach to creating organic group and work, many other works are probably much more essential and helpful to start or to grow with. Start by studying artists and approaches from post-WWII Europe or Chicago Improv or, if you want something more practical or faster and for immediate and advanced application, take some contact improv and composition and Meisner courses.
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