Project Viola Ten: Human Experiments at the Accademia dell’Arte

After a number of setbacks and delays caused by television auditions in London (mine) and a detached retina (Dr. X’s), the date for the first official round of Project Viola Ten testing was finally set for June 27th.  In order to prepare for these tests, I needed to conduct preliminary experiments with human subjects.  Ideally, I wanted to work with students trained in physical theatre with experience in ensemble work.  The nature of ensemble-based physical theatre requires an extreme psycho-physical presence, body awareness, and non-verbal communication bordering on inter-kinesthesia.

The roadblock I encountered was that the students at UCC who possessed this training were my own students, and there are obvious conflicts of interest and ethical concerns when conducting human experiments on one’s own students.  I considered working with athletic teams or string quartets, but ultimately contacted my Alma-mater in Tuscany, the Accademia dell’Arte, (a music and physical theatre conservatory) and explained my circumstances.

The ADA informed me that I was welcome to conduct and video document my workshops, tests, and experiments.  In the following weeks, I worked with many students and even trained several high performing subjects to employ my own Viola Ten techniques.  Sometimes I paired the students with each other and at other times worked along side them myself, in roles of both sender and receiver.  The results were nothing less than stunning.  These sessions will be shown in the documentary Eddie Dean: Project Viola Ten which is currently in production.