Friday, 12 August 2011

Luisa's final thoughts

Led warm up - feed useful and efficient information.
Passive and active person bodywork, slowly moving into the space shifting from down on the floor to middle and standing levels, using tactility, pushing and release into the floor, connection of tailbone with top of the head.
Exercise from a workshop I did a while back in Sweden - about using the voice, improvising movement while saying a word and continuing with “makes me think of” another word that is an association or a rhyme. I accepted a few interpretations of my directions in order to not stop the flow but also wondered if sticking to the simpler rules would have been more of a challenge and more effective in allowing the mind to surprise us.
Allow the mistakes from myself
I listened to rainstorm, real rain in my view…
Useful chat to help me in the task of a short solo work
Choices made in my life, how much do I want to say, where do I carry this in my body?
4 Miniatures in me

new people in today
received wonderful body work
journey from upstage to downstage with and without text, smooth, fluid and staccato
letting go
challenge to maintain and make choices quickly as I am exploring
we did a sharing that felt like a showing
props are alien to me

structure, conventions….freedom within limitations
Word associations: in twos - botta e risposta, any word
Same thing with words fertility and barren
Then we expressed the associations we remembered.
“It could be “ opened more possibiliites
Really interesting two days.
Work with Wendy has felt productive and clear. Her observations have opened other paths of practice as well as interpretations. Research, testing things, adding and subtracting as a technique and used also as content.
The struggle lending itself to getting spectators engaged…interesting point for me, helpful to allowing things to be explored without having always to achieve something.
Un – employing a performer – also an interesting and useful concept raised.

Fertility in a broader sense – we explored the word fecundity to provide more associations to growth and production.
Folk dance of an imaginary land, we all created our own folk dance and some people described it in words, then we formed groups (male and female separately). We embodied and inhabited the dance and words of others.
Basket of fruits, joy, hip, mountain, dozen
Happy happy happy, digging a hole, tapping the floor
Basque Lullaby sung as a group

Pandora’s box - Myth/tradition, social phenomenon
staging and improvising

I worked with Joanna who joined the research this week, Kip (who came back after one week break, and Scott. We stood around the box for quite some time expressing random thoughts about what to do or just memories of the story, I remembered that in another version I had read Pandora had been given curiosity as well as beauty, persuasion, and voice. Johanna had a very clear memory of monsters, dinosaurs, dreamt I think after coming to know the story as a child, Scott was thinking of the Garden of Eden and Waiting for Godot, Kip mentioned the box being a protagonist
A pair of high heel shoes, a torch and the box.Nobody in our group wanted to enact a director, we imagined a director to be in the box, the box was our hope of something to come. We walked in Butoh style towards the box that was lying centre stage, during which time Kip’s voice from outside the space pronounced the words of a game known to me as “1,2,3 stella” in which one freezes from time to time. The voice (Kip) also commented on our capacity and our commitment, which provided a shift of tone. We arrived at the box, lightning from Scott’s small torch and Johanna’s modelling clay gestures + high heels shoes in space, all alluded to the creation of an imaginary Pandora. We then re-enacted a memory of the conversation which turned into a brief song about not to open the box.

Other representations.
One with two directors (Liz and Rob) giving directions and suggesting lines or posing questions to two performers (Leah and Greig) and a costume and prop and sound maker (Aurora). Another was directed and performed by Fernanda and Janusz who staged a wedding with a piece of cloth that was the woman’s veil, which became a bed sheet/curtain under/behind which Pandora’ s box was made/appeared. The two then have a discussion in Polish and Portuguese about how the box could be opened but shouldn’t. Fernanda is left alone as Januzc proudly walks off having had the upper hand about the box. Fernanda’s tempation to open is visible from her expression and body language, she opens it and all evil comes out, arguments, and rage between the two explodes until a little angel flies out of the box and hope for a better following is restored.
I enjoyed watching this.

Fernanda, Greig, and Scott spoke of their idea of Pandora’s box, Liz undercut this by intervening at different times, interesting juxtaposition - in a surreal way a conversation emerged…hard to sustain the telling without responding to other tellers…this shifted to talking about hope. Fernanda’s positive comments like “hope is the sparkle in the eye” were contradicted by Liz who became the destroyer of that idea, so Fernanda continued on the line of “hope is in all of us, hope is that thing which makes you breathe, hope is colours, hope is positive”, Liz hammered hope “doesn’t exist, it’s an illusion, as you get older you’ll understand, what have you been on? Which planet are you from?”
Holding on to their conviction and yet being engaged in a conversation created an expectation of a change of opinion in the other.

Leah and Joanna…Leah on her own, very special moment when she stood to show how hope could be described in movement – she walked from one side to the other of the space and simply looked out…..

Still a challenge to stay with one response
Barrier of making mistakes less thick
Worked with a few props

A good long day. Useful to hear thoughts about practice of experienced artists, as well as seeing their practice in action. Indeed everyone’s attempts are engaging and it’s actually overwhelming sometimes the creativity that comes out…from simple things a world of imagination springs out.
Today I decided I would try to use props which have been objects best to avoid until now…. and to embody an idea…something about Liz Aggis’ statement of her body being a stage that resonated in me, …. while I was preparing for the idea with the box I imagined that I would use props hidden in the box and nonchalantly throw them out into the open space….but then the idea of transforming myself became more appealing, I had also chosen to read a fairy tale (Parsley Girl by Calvino) and just the fact of reading became a prominent action, perhaps I should have continued in simply reading it, but I did feel I had failed in my objective…although it has also been one of my goals to allow myself to fail “there’s no success like failure and failure is no success at all”.

Parsley girl is a fairy tale about a resourceful woman and that’s the idea I wanted to present or that to stand out: being resourceful. The objective was to try and do that by enacting parts of the story with props, there was also a sexual undertone in the story that I was hoping to embody but the reading impeded movement, perhaps that is something to use and enhance that struggle (going back to what was mentioned earlier in this research….there being hope in the struggle).

Fairy tale, we made one up….great fun preparing…in fact the excitement of making one from scratch left us with a certain buzz that prevented us from taking more time in the presentation of the felt rushed and unresolved. However the unexpected trickling of the fake blood added content to our geisha like walks. The reading at the end was a holding on to the unresolved ending.

Bennita’s story presented with Ruth moved me, tears were coming down and I could sense other people in the room were experiencing a similar reaction…snuffling could be heard. Something about the delivery. Two women faced the audience and sat next to each other. Ruth began with an image of an infant covered in olive oil and cotton wool between skin and clothes… A juxtaposition of facts and emotion. It still provokes something when I simply think of it…
life lived and told.

Showing or improv was very enjoyable this time for me. It felt more fluid, and it was less of an ‘extraction’ to be on the sides than coming out of the space… It also felt more of a group experience rather than different individuals doing their thing only, it was certainly more of an organism going through shifts of form. Also the presence of the children I think aided us as a group to expand our listening … Challenge to feel confident in choice of duration of the act and also progression, repetition helps for this... Images that have stayed with me are the children’s work with the men, a diagonal created by Fernanda and Johanna, Janusz’s being washed by Leah, my interaction with Leah felt satisfaying…and Liz …all I saw her do had a visual and contextual impact for me.

Working with song with Toby Park
We each worked on writing text for a song..
Work of this kind is very new to me and I was intrigued and challenged at the same time
Absorbing as much as I can of the new
Different forms of songs ….a hymn , a “come along” song about growth that actually never takes off and degenerates, the song about the perfect man, and about hope.

Come along little sprout
Let me watch you pop out ------ whispered sat on a box….with a making of a flower coming out of a root…..idea transferred to simple standing with 2 other women whispering to their bellies …..

Ta taaaaa tarataratara’ – we must seek solution for our kind!!!

Music contest improvisation – group from Russia, France and Japan…
No leaders…
Interesting and different feelings of safety and claustrophobia

First improv ‘grand finale’ turned into a movement (post modern style)…
The seriousness of that shifted the tone, we opted for a safe domain perhaps as a finale and yet did not all feel prepared to take it to at least a humorous level as previous part had been.
For my part I certainly went into automatism,I could have enhanced that intention more.

Then we improvised narratives as groups through song in a rock style, opera, and musical theatre and greek tragedy

This proved more challenging than I thought…partly because I relied on text and remembering the narrative of Pandora…my narrative thinking in performance is slow, I am more comfortable when I don’t have to make a decision about what lines or what words…but it’s not even as simple as this, making quick decisions without knowing if it’s the action that drives it or the thought behind the action.

Final exercise on producing a song from a previous exploration done in the research….despite my initial frustration with a technical problem….I presented something mediated from an interview on feminism in Polish, it sounded fake ‘orientalist’.

General final thoughts

It has been enriching to be part of a research here with VDT and collaborators. The process has helped me to cross boundaries. It has raised and clarified aspects of a practice that I want to engage more with. I have met wonderful people and professionals as well as talented children….has been great to be in a team environment again

Grazie Charlotte!

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