Dialogue for Two Players

1984 19 mins

An Annalogue production for Channel 4 TV


"The tellingly titled Dialogue for Two Players, also 1984, moves into quasi-dramatic space, in which the seemingly spontaneous relationships, are revealed not just as a construct but also as a complex puzzle. It implicitly comments on and critiques the 'confessional' modes of video and its illusion of real presence. It thus rejects that was at the time a dominant style in artist's video, turning on its head the simpler versions of the slogan that 'the personal is political'. At the same time it is a political work in a different sense, questioning the popular TV format of the in-depth personal interview which it ironizes. As such, and with Partridge himself playing the part of interviewer/director, it is his most overt 'intervention' into documentary drama even as he subverts it." - Al Rees

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(click on images for QT Movie)

Performed by the two players:

Jude Allen and Ian Bennett

Producer Anna Ridley

"Dialogue for Two Players was created specifically for the context of broadcast TV: instead of the production process being hidden, SP went further in his objective of revealing the dialogue and interplay between the two players, this time a man and a woman. Here the process is exposed as he describes " Multi screen digital techniques are used to reveal the relationship between the two participants and the structural manipulations which are occurring both within the original recording and its post-production (editing)." ...." The artist's presence is, at first, ambiguous as he is also present on screen, but his manipulations both on screen (directions to the cameras and actors), and off (obvious editing and juxtapositions of the material) gradually reveal his role." SP deliberately used the classic interview set up, familiar to any TV viewer, but within a few minutes that convention was broken down as the interviewer (SP) did not lead the discussion, as one would expect, and said very little. The two players had the freedom to say or do whatever they wanted only receiving cues as to when to start and stop. It says much for the power and influence of TV that the two players abided by the conventions for the most part. As this work unfolds, its complexity becomes evident by the technique of holding a series of images, from different parts of the recording, together on screen. The manipulation of the material is made clear as the images are variously re-wound, slowed down, frozen or played in fast forward as well as played in real time, an interaction with TV itself." - Anna Ridley



ABOVE article in the Dundee Courier 1984 showing the 'amazing' editing facilities of that time...



© 1999 Stephen Partridge

© 1999 Anna Ridley

© 1999 Al Rees