So to bring you up to speed from my last post (https://methodsfor.info/2015/10/15/in-which-i-find-a-voice/), a couple of weeks after the day at Dance4 we had a very focussed couple of days of rehearsals at Curve theatre here in Leicester. Collaborating in this way – as part of a group of artists, performers, producers, curators, a technologist and an animateur – is an entirely new way of working for me, but it’s proving to be wonderful, warming and very exciting. Precise observations are made and technical adjustments are suggested. Challenging, vital questions are asked and responded to by all. We’re all of us peeling away layers, sculpting, sanding and gently blowing the dust from this piece that, to me, felt quite nebulous just a few weeks previously.
In addition to these rehearsals, I’ve also had a crash course in spoken word performance from former UK Slam Poetry Champion, internationally acclaimed storyteller, accomplished breakdancer and newly-appointed Youth Theatre Director at Curve, Owen Craven-Griffiths AKA John Berkavitch. I’m a visual artist by trade – I cut and paste images, drawings, photographs and projections, creating patterns and juxtapositions safely and quietly from behind my laptop – so identifying emotions, moods, feelings, intonations, and speaking and performing these is both entirely new and terrifying. With Owen’s guidance I ran through a portion of the text, over and over: fast, slow, angrily, peacefully, like I was reading you a love letter and then like I hated your guts. I stood up, I sat down, I walked on chairs, I circled the room and I addressed the walls as if they were people. I alternated rapidly between high-pitched and as low and deep as I could go, and wigged out myself, unnerved by the slight but distinct trippyness of hearing and feeling my own voice, screeching one second, rumbling the next, up and down, up and down. Owen asked me to recall something that made me sad and then speak the text, which I found completely overwhelming, the act of drawing up that emotion, feeling it entirely and speaking from that place.. Actors, dancers, performers: I don’t know how you hold yourselves together.
In two weeks we have another rehearsal, followed immediately by a scratch performance presented as the closing event for Interact Digital Art’s current exhibition Computer Drawing: DP Henry and Beyond. I’m looking forward to getting together again with my fellow contributors and seeing where we are with this piece, and to hearing the audience’s responses and reactions on 17th December. Get in touch if you’d like to join us.