The Viewpoints is a technique of improvisation that grew out of the postmodern dance world. It was first articulated by choreographer Mary Overlie, who broke down the two dominant issues performers deal with—space and time—into six categories. Since that time, directors Anne Bogart and Tina Landau have expanded her notions and adapted them for actors to function together spontaneously and intuitively and to generate bold, theatrical work. It develops flexibility, articulation and strength in movement and makes ensemble playing really possible. The Viewpoints are a set of names given to certain principles of movement through time and space—they constitute a language for talking about what happens on stage.
Coupling this book with Composition, which is the practice of selecting and arranging the separate components of theatrical language into a cohesive work of art, provides theatre artists with an important new tool for creating and understanding their art form. The book provides the artist with the history, terminology and philosophy of the Viewpoints and a step-by-step recipe for using it as both a training and rehearsal technique. Primarily intended for the many theatre artists who, in the last several years, have become intrigued with Viewpoints yet have had no single source to refer to in their investigations. It can also be used by anyone with a general interest in collaboration and the creative process, whether in art, business or daily life.