…the theater and film industry are beginning to recognize the need for “intimacy directors,” people who specialize in choreographing onstage intimacy.
They are practitioners who use concrete guidelines and techniques, such as the “four pillars” of intimacy direction, according to Alicia Rodis, a member of Intimacy Directors International.
Consent: Get the performers’ permission — including concrete boundaries and out of bounds body parts, and do it before you start.
Communication: Keep talking throughout the process. What’s working, what’s not, who’s touching who and how and do they feel safe.
Choreography: Performers wouldn’t spontaneously add an extra pirouette to a dance number or an extra kick to a fight scene. Don’t add an ass grab or extra kissing.
Context: Just because you kiss someone in one scene doesn’t mean you can kiss them in another scene without communicating about adjusting the choreography and seeking consent to do so. Just because someone is topless with you on stage, it doesn’t mean they won’t mind being topless around you offstage, or in another scene onstage.
To explore the ideas of intimacy and safety on stage in a variety of situations, LEO spoke with Rodis, as well as Tony Prince, a local director; and Sarah Flanagan, a Louisville-based fight director.
Rodis, the New York intimacy director, started as a fight director, and that led to her new focus. She shared one experience from that evolution.
“There was one show I was working on where there was a woman who slapped the man and then kissed him. So I was brought in for the slap.”
She ended up working on the slap and the kiss. For that kiss, she used her stage combat skills. That included asking standard questions like where do the actors touch each other, and new questions like how long does the kiss last?
Here is the full story, via Catherine Rampell.