Open House is a short speech and movement score for 10-60 people. Using verbatim text from the national parliament it makes a game of the metaphors of political debates. If political speech is used to choreograph citizens, can that state-wide choreography be applied to a small crowd? And how might that crowd start to take control?
Mil Vukovic recalls some speeches from her life.
I witnessed a lot of political speeches in my early life. I say witnessed rather than heard because I remember them taking place in front of me but I cannot recollect any of their content. Our school choir was best in town so we were asked to sing at all major city events to mark various revolutionary and war anniversaries and national holidays. We were accompanied either by a harmonica or entire military orchestra.
Here’s a quick quiz. Four of the American politicians pictured below are Democrats and four are Republicans. Can you guess which are which?
Today David Cameron has been “setting out proposals designed to deter citizens of other EU and non-EU countries from coming to Britain in order to take advantage of the NHS and the welfare system.” This speech is a useful case study of how speeches are staged and how audiences are just part of the choreography.
[Originally published at guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 10 October 2012, before David Cameron’s speech at the 2012 Conservative Party Conference. Reproduced in time for David Cameron’s speech at the 2013 Conservative Party Spring conference with kind permission of the author.]
From asyndeton to hyperbole, how many of Cameron’s tics will you spot in his speech today? Simon Lancaster sets the tone
I start with asyndeton. Short sentences. Bundled together. In groups of three. Sounds breathless. Urgent. Hyperventilating. No conjunctions. Wonky grammar. Disconnected ideas. Look left. Look right. Look centre. They’re listening. They’re watching. They’re feeling. Then stop. Pause. Breathe.
Eva Percy, part of the Speeching research group, writes about her recent visit to the House of Commons.
On the evening of the 25th February I had the privilege to enter into Parliament. Within the Parliament buildings there was a sense of authority and importance, a sense of power. The infrastructure oozed history, as it dawned on me that within these buildings history was made. Individuals walked with determination and vigour. As I walked through Westminster Hall, on my way to the House of Commons, I felt awe and amazement wash through me. As I went to collect my ticket for access into the Special Gallery, I felt excitement and curiosity.