Sunday, 31 July 2011

Telling Stories with Vincent Dance Theatre...Lila Dance / Abi Mortimer Response to witnessing VDT's R&D Process

In the creative space, 14 people are telling stories about hope, feminine, sex, desire, struggle... it starts with their own personal histories, told in couples. Each person is allowed to speak without question or dialogue, but instead they have an uninterrupted space to think and deliver their story over a 2 min time frame. There is hesitancy, nerves and excitement as each topic reveals something about an individual. It feels very personal.

There is then a shift in perspective as Charlotte returns to a re-occurring theme that has continued to crop-up over the 3 week period: that of mediating.

So now each person tells the other's story to the group, but in the first person’s perspective by empowering the use of the word "I". This was a very interesting process and I was struck by several ideas.

Firstly I noticed the care by which each person carefully revealed the story of their partner. It seemed that each person was very mindful of firstly "going public" with a story that was told to them specifically within an "intimate setting" (or at least one that contains all the social possibilities of intimacy- that of "one on one"). How much to reveal? I also noticed how each person was keen to reveal the truth.. to tell the story with respect- as it was told to them by its owner. A strange tension between reaching into the short-term memory to reveal a story that belongs to the owners long-term store. So there was much emphasis placed on pause, and the act of remembering. It made me think about the body or brain as a bank- in which you could download information and "lift it" when required- but doing so without embellishment, by somehow removing yourSELF from the equation- the death of the author?

I then thought how impossible this is.... to be a mouth piece for someone else without empathy. Empathy- that which connects us with another human being so that any action between two people is always an INTERaction. How powerful empathy is that when we tell someone’s story we do so with the pause, breath and mindfulness of that person- feeling their words in our body seems to cause a reaction, even if that reaction is not the same as the one they experience. WORDS + BODY = FEELING. It made me wonder about, when following this chemical reaction, how much is it their story and how much is it now mine? if I sense it, feel it and if I let the words swell in my gut and come from my mouth with my inflection is the story not then mine? How many levels of truth have to be revealed in order to claim an ownership over these words? is feeling, empathising enough? is the object then made redundant?

This process also made me think about how often in life are we the mouth piece to someone else... without our knowing it?

The words "I should do......." "I ought to do that......" spring to mind.

These words "should and ought" express a will that is outside of our own- yet coming from our own. Who is doing the thinking for us when we "should" do something?

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