Week 2

by childofwine

I’m gonna start with a wee little caveat: this was all basically written in one go and I really don’t have it in me to edit so, barring any major things I notice tomorrow, figure it out!

Good grief, this is some epic madness here!

Every day gets bigger and bigger somehow although the schedule doesn’t change. You’re up around 7am and that fools you into thinking you have time to futz about, to read a chapter of your book (fool!) maybe try to do a blog entry (guess how my last couple mornings went!) or whatever and then all of a sudden you have no time to get to the cafeteria to get some breakfast to get to the studio to suck down enough water to make it through and hour and a half of stomping or viewpoint work with something of a pretense of a stretch to pretend that your lower back isn’t fused solid your thighs screaming your ankle aching your shoulder over your eyes. and then you get fifteen minutes, you snort down more water, pretend you know what you’re doing and it’s another hour and a half of stomping or viewpoint work and then it’s lunch. which would be lovely and leisurely if you didn’t have to throw food in the general direction of your face so that you could race back to the studios in time to try and sneak in a composition rehearsal ’cause you lost two nights due to a symposium and an outing to see the siti members and dance company perform (holy crap was that ever good!) and then it’s the afternoon and you’re already late and stinky and sweaty and trying to digest the oily food that has probably actually ensured that with all the stomping and sweating and moving and dancing (god help me) you’ve gained weight and not lost it! and so it’s the afternoon and it’s speaking or movement or dramaturgy or, once a week, composition which means you’re performing and if it’s not then you best believe you have about 30 seconds for dinner and then it’s rehearsal time again and then – how the – what the – son of a – it’s 7 am and that fools you into think you have time…

This is in no way a complaint. This is awesome. This is superbly challenging. This is what I signed up for.

How do you create from scratch with no time with people who may completely and utterly fundamentally disagree on the role nature and practice of theatre. How do you do this when you are tired aching and broken with no time to think or prepare with no resources and, this week at least, 21 different criteria for your 10 minute piece.

So, what can I tell you. How about this:

Suzuki. The stomping. Learning to be still with incredible energy. Learning that it is not so much the action itself as it is how you execute it – you don’t care if my foot is pointed the right way, that doesn’t mean anything to you, but if you can’t figure out how one second I was standing and I’m perfectly still balancing on one leg while the other is frozen mid-stomp – then you’re interested, then I can speak and then you will keep your eyes on me as I pull everything into my core to shoot out to you. I worry to much about the form and I’ve gotten a lot ‘worse’ over these two weeks but the worse I get the more I feel like I might be on the path to maybe have a glimpse at getting it. When I am truly challenged and actively challenging myself – trying to push myself over, trying to be risky – that’s when it starts to get precambrian shield-like, well it doesn’t but if I keep at it maybe it could one day.

Viewpoints. Not a verb. Time and Space. Crawl into a dark hole and hide scary. The thing is we all ‘practice viewpoints’ unconsciously in our daily lives but when you have to ‘perform’ it…. for me at least, it’s tough. To stand up and join 6 other people in front of an audience and, with no plan, just open receiving senses explore Tempo or Spacial Relationships or Kinesthetic Response or any of the 6 other Viewpoints or even an open session where you are exploring all of them. This is my indulgent class. Indulgent in the sense that it is very easy for me to sit there and let my negative brain get the best of me, paralyse me, duct tape me to the floor and it is everything in my being that must fight to make me stand up and enter the space. I’m doing though, I am and I am proud of myself every time and I give no psychological flagellation for how hard I have to fight to do so. I did it and that is good. I’ve even had a moment or two where I thought maybe I was getting it (that in itself meant I lost the next moment BUT IT’S OKAY!!)

Anne and the other members of the company here teaching us have been speaking a lot about Reading and Writing and it’s slowly starting to seep into my brain. I am interesting as I am. It is not necessary for me to try and create something out of nothing because there is plenty already there – I just need to learn how to Read!

The other really big thing for me is in hindsight or outside of the studio environment just plain dang obvious: it is not about saving yourself for the Big Day, the Arrival of The Audience. It is about working with that same quality every second you are in the room. Don’t relax into the wall when you’re watching – learn and give of them the attention you would wish they give you. Start before you stand up and be in it the second you are moving enter the room as you wish you would be in that breath before “tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow” or whatever it is you must speak or do.

Dramaturgy. This is a conflicting class for me. We’re working with the Seagull but we’re not really going into it and I, quite frankly, don’t know it well enough. It’s meant to help us understand the composition work we are doing and I am finding that it does come up here and there and that it is making me think structurally but… I dunno…

Movement. Blarg. This is another Viewpoints kinda thing. Why am I so terrified of exposing myself?! What do I think I’m exposing? Clearly I’m not a fraud. Clearly I belong here, I mean they read my application and asked me to come. But having to move across the room leading from my tail… It’s safe to say that I struggle and then I am angry because I know I’ve been there before and found a place of calmness of openness of (this is for you mom) mindfulness. I guess it’s the same old broken record: if you experience the thing you want once, that positive reinforcement, then you just need to put it in the bank and do what you need to do to be available for the next one.

Speaking. Love this. Stomping around with sticks and exploring breath and text. Don’t know what else to tell you really but I wish oh I wish we had far more of these classes.

and then

there’s Composition. This is the biggie. This is what keeps me up at night – if I had the ability to stay up!! Not sure if I can do this in less than a ba-jillion rambling words… I find myself at once confirming what I know, relearning everything, feeling strong in my choices and stylistic aesthetic and feeling like I haven’t got a flipping clue. It’s exhausting. I’m terrified about directing but I’m more concerned that somehow I don’t. The game I think is to take every itty-bitty lesson I’ve earned here and used it at the same time as remembering all the great big huge things I know and I do well and bringing them back up from the deep well where me as an artist stores hides and forgets things in order to be in game mode next Tuesday. In order to forget it all and just stay afloat with open eyes open heart open mouth (though maybe with a little less sound than usual. That’s for you Clara)

Who knows. That’s next week and there’s a whole other composition to do before then and there’s a whole Sunday and a whole Monday…………

I hope you’re all having good lives out in the real world and I challenge you to challenge yourself no matter how small a way you might be able to do that and I challenge you to change time for someone else (and no I don’t mean to change their clocks) and I challenge you to play a game with someone, a nice fun game, but don’t let them know you started it.

And if you read all this and you’re not my parents, my sibs or Aaron then you’re pretty awesome and I hope that there’s something in this for you beyond what the flip is she rambling on about!

So there we go. Week 2. See you Day 15