"...the tension between the public and private. How far do you go?"
– Dr.James Hillman
Therapy As Performance continues Sack’s three-decade body of work in autobiographically-derived performance and Performance as Medicine.
Therapy As Performance is an ongoing series of unscripted, unrehearsed 50-minute public therapy sessions, existing in the simultaneous spheres of public performance and private therapy.
Sack performs as the Constant Client with a different Guest Therapist each session. Each therapist represents a different therapeutic modality, revealing and creating a different persona/character for the Constant Client.
By inviting the therapist(s) into her world of performance art, she inverts and interrogates the traditional hierarchy (whose office is this, anyway?), while framing and exploring the performativity of the therapist and the ‘character’ that ensues.
The acknowledged presence of the audience (the third ‘character’ in each session) itself generates content and meaning, while catalyzing interior forms of audience participation such as memory, identification, transference, self-reflection and projection.
The implicit performativity of psychotherapy, in which the client performs the role of client/patient and the therapist performs the role of therapist, is here made overt, self-referential, and public. Notions of fixed and fluid identity, self-representation, self/non-self, power differentials, agency, honesty, gender roles, and psyche/soul are embedded and exposed in the format of performed therapy. Given that this is performance, the possibility of fictionalization in the perception of the audience is expected and welcome: is this true, is this scripted, is this “real”?
Trans-generational trauma, living with chronic illness and disability, body, sexuality, gender, aging, politics, money, experiences of non-ordinary reality, as well as the contingencies of the everyday are content she has available for public therapy.
Extreme close-ups of both the client and therapists’ facial expressions and body language will be live-composed and live-projected by documentarian and experimental video artist, Rachel Ferro, referencing and expanding Paul Ekman’s work in micro expressions and emotion. Sack and Ferro are collaborating on a documentary film about Sack’s work.
Therapy As Performance investigates female autobiography and self-representation, and the experience of the multiplicity of all our selves as the personae in a theatrical event.
Future iterations will include Embodied Dreamwork as Performance, Astrology as Performance, Hypnotherapy as Performance, Genetics as Performance, and Preparing for Dying as Performance.
"Leeny Sack is one of America’s outstanding practitioners of personal theatre."