STREB from a new perspective

My name is Richard; I am the new intern at Aubin Pictures. I am just beginning to get used to the flow of things here. I like to draw, animate, watch movies, and socialize with people. I am overall a cool, go-with-the-flow kind of guy. The staff is currently working on their latest project How to Become an Extreme Action Hero. It’s a documentary film about an action architect named Elizabeth Streb. An action architect is someone who plans out what and when actions will happen for a performance or any event where movement is required. Recently, I watched the trailer for this film multiple times. When I saw it for the first time it made me want to jump off something and land on another thing.

In the trailer, Streb focuses on her view of action. You can pull that view from the following quote: “Anything that’s too safe is not action.” With that being said, it brings up the question “what is action”? Action can be anything that is dynamic and gets someone pumped up to do things. An example can be found in movies. If there is a certain movie that shows drastic change and gets people pumped and makes them want to do the things shown in the movie, then some might consider that to be action.

As I began to learn about Streb’s view of action and the form of dance in this film, my interest in action began to increase. Even though I haven’t seen the full movie yet, the film pulls my interest because it shows an extreme point of view. I also saw some clips of the STREB performances. They make me want to challenge some of my body’s limits and faults. In a sense, these performances remind me of an action movie. I’ve always enjoyed action movies and things where the person’s life is on the line and they need to do a certain thing to prevent their life from being taken. These performances remind me of an action movie because at anytime during these performances something can go wrong and the performer’s life could be at risk.

When I think about these risks I start thinking about the stunts in action movies. Sometimes I even think about the risky things that the characters in the movies have to do. For example, in the movie Dark Knight Rises, Batman had to move the time bomb away from Gotham to avoid catastrophic destruction. It makes me think about the risk that the stuntman, the movie character, and the STREB performers are willing to take to fulfill whatever purpose they need to. This purpose varies between these three persons. The stuntman’s purpose would be to pull off a certain action to make the movie look more realistic, while the movie character’s purpose would be to save the world from evil overlords threatening the earth with world domination, and the purpose for a STREB performer could be anything from just entertaining people to facing fears.

Typically in action movies, there are explosions, guns, death-defying stunts like hanging off of 20-story buildings, and many more things, which most people might say are generally dangerous and formidable. These things bring me back to the thought of the risk the stuntmen, and movie characters take to do the stunts. It also brings me back to the quote: “Anything that’s too safe is not action.” With free falling from skyscrapers and fights and stuff, these things make up action movies and separate the genre from the other types of movies. STREB, although it’s considered to be dance, has actions that separate it from the typical dance we normally see.

I personally don’t see STREB as dance mainly because it doesn’t have some of the typical things you’d normally see in a dance performance. For example, no collective body movements that are synchronized to a song or anything like that. I to this day cannot determine what STREB is. I actually thought it was a training session for stunt doubles, with the falling, running, and hanging off of things and I still consider it to be that. But I guess that question will be answered in this film. With the falling, jumping, and walking down buildings from the rooftops, this separation from the norm is a big portion of what grabs my interest in both STREB and the documentary.