What if you could always get what you wanted from the other person in every conversation? What if there was a systematic approach to communicating that would never leave you feeling like you had messed up, that you hadn’t said what you wanted to say? Those are the questions that led me to first write a short essay on the topic, and then later morph the ideas of that essay into a character who develops a theory to help overcome her own problems with communicating.
Project Website: www.theconversationbegins.org
Characters: 1 female and an audience
Running Time: 75 minutes (plus post-performance wine & snacks)
Summary: Katharine has come up with a theory of conversation that she believes will allow each person to get exactly what they want from others. She presents this theory to the audience, using elaborate diagrams and schemes she has devised, and even tests certain ideas out on the audience. But there is something flawed about her theory and as she begins to realize this, her presentation starts to unravel.
When & Where
Availability: Available for touring and performance.
• Production, directed by Rosalie Purvis, performed by Alexis Clements, produced by actio/reactio at the 2010 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, 9-12 September 2010
• Workshop production, directed by Dyana Kimball, performed by Alexis Macnab, presented by The Performance Project @ University Settlement, 18 April 2008
• Excerpt presented at the April 7 People – 7 Minutes show at Dixon Place, directed by Dyana Kimball, performed by Alexis Macnab, New York, NY, April 2008
• Excerpt presented at the One Woman Standing Festival at the Emerging Artists Theatre, directed by Dyana Kimball, performed by Alexis Clements, New York, NY, April 2007
“As a playwright, Alexis Clements walks a jagged line between theatre, performance art and installation art.”
– Dyana Kimball on Conversation in Out of Time & Place
Press for Conversation
This represents a selection of the press for this show. To view a more complete listing visit this page.
A Philadelphia City Paper “Fest Bet” for the 2010 Philly Fringe.
A “Fringe Pick” in the Philadelphia METRO.
A Staff Pick in the Philadelphia Weekly.
“Clements’s absorbing meditation on verbal communication in all its forms was endearingly presented as a class on the “perfect conversation.” …Under Director Rosalie Purvis, Clements skillfully shepherded her performance from monologue to revealing audience participation, drawing out ticket holders on sledding in Boston, dissecting frogs, and biking to work. Her disarming and intriguing questions on spur-of-the-moment participants’ favorite things and the things they most regret gave the show an intimate, free-flowing feel which also encompassed the dark side of words as “small acts of violence”. Clements dexterously handled the repercussions of her probing among the audience, bringing her own vulnerabilities. Her reflections on the flaws of conversation as a medium of reparations are particularly poignant. She examines the calibrated give-and-take of verbal reconciliations – and their failure when emotional intentions inevitably diverge. Conversation, despite its bare-bones feel and the challenge of lighting a cluttered basement room, proved the most absorbing experience I’ve had so far at this year’s Fringe.”
– Alaina Mabaso, Philadelphia Edge
“Funny, inventive and a little bit interactive, the lessons in Conversation ring true as as often as they ring nutso. A show worth talking about.”
– Patrick Rapa, Philadelphia City Paper
For more press coverage visit www.theconversationbegins.org/press/
• Conversation has now been published in Out of Time & Place: An Anthology of Plays by Members of the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, Volume 2, edited by me (Alexis Clements) with Christine Evans. The script is preceded by an introductory essay by director Dyana Kimball. Buy your copy today!
More about the show
A cross between a performance, a lecture and a dialogue with the audience, Conversation takes you on a very personal journey through the harried world of communication. The main charaacter, Katharine has posted flyers throughout her neighborhood, inviting people to attend a lecture on effective communication. When the audience arrives, the encounter becomes something different than what she intended and in order to keep herself on track and find the answers she’s looking for, she begins to solicit information from the audience. A dialogue ensues that reveals not only Katharine’s conversational hang-ups, but also those of the audience.