W is a research collective that studies action in a performance setting. What does it mean to act as others watch? What characterizes the relation we call theater?
To answer these questions, W simultaneously develops three complementary approaches: a practice, which builds tools and techniques for the actor; a critical method, which suggests reception guidelines for the spectator; and a theory, which works towards defining notions useful to the first two approaches.
In particular, W produces games, a score writing software, a lexicon of operational notions, workshops and practical sessions, critical seminars, as well as articles and conferences.
W-critique attempts to built and experiment tools for the reception of performances.
It draws on two basic principles : first, to give back to the spectator the task of producing meaning based on what he observes; second, to try and multiply the possible meanings of a performance rather than decyphering a pre-existing content.
The W-critique relies on the W-lexicon, a set of operative notions that attempt to name the different aspects of the reception process of a performance.
The W-critique is implemented within the W-protocoles, real-time observation and interpretation devices for performances.
These protocols, in which the activity of the spectator is formalized so it can become a specific object of study, are developed, tested, and put in practice during the W-critical seminars.
The W-lexicon briefly presents a selection of notions defined by W for practice and critique. This lexicon has essentially an operative aim, that is to say that it attempts to name different phenomena intervening in the conception or the reception of performances.
From the practice stand pont , this lexicon allows the actors of a same project to express more precisely its modalities, to share and to explain its stakes, thus offering to each one the possibility of appropriating them and of modulating them consequently. From the critique stand point, it offers a certain number of conceptual tools in order to analyze a performance in real time.
The W-lexicon is passed on during the practical sessions and the critical seminars.