Photos by Laurence Nguyen - Monnot
I need the lab. What if relationship is everywhere? You don't have to look for it. You don't have to create it. This is not a seduction, it is a courtship.
Round 2 of the solos is completely different. Deborah's feedback oscillates between overwhelming and non-existent. Something is happening. Inside, the feeling of attempting and failing continues. On the outside, the performances have changed. This is not a group of dancers acting like they can't dance. Each solo has elements of sheer magic and inconsequential failure.
I continue to lose touch with my old friend comic movement. I’m getting so bored of these old friends. . .it’s like they are underdeveloped children that I parade out and exploit for my own benefit. You know exploitation, the old trick of trying to get more out of something that what you put into it.
That is why when Deborah says things like, it is a catastrophic loss of behavior to not get caught up in wanting to achieve something, or it’s absolutely anti-establishment, she is right.
We have a bonfire and sing ridiculous songs. Ana Rocha keeps encouraging me to come sit with her and ‘bring a bottle.” They start to accumulate behind us. At some point the hokey pokey (hokey cokey?) is sung and deborah has disappeared. I end up at the sea for my second time. I have only been there at night. There is a waning blue moon. I go to sleep late and wake up at 5:43 with sand in my ears. I sit up in bed and practice “dynamic” in a delirious state as the blanket of blue light is gradually brightening.
* * *
Solos and group practices are continuing. We have many great talks but also the need to talk is diminishing. Deborah is making changes to the choreography. Now we are to enter the stage with our mouth full of food. This I really love.
One evening Karl from Body Surf performs I Think Not for us. It’s the first time Deborah has seen it since she taught it to him. A perfect circle of chairs set on a line of chalk awaits as Miguel, Aura and I slip in to fill the last ones a little late. An old suitcase is in the middle and Karl is sitting on a table in the back of the room. There is a real and synthetic feeling of dusk in the hall, an electric dusk that almost makes the air buzz. He walks to the edge of the circle, opens his palms to us and says, it’s just a costume. The pleasure of knowing how the choreography works but not knowing his score is like a drug and everyone is transfixed. It’s the first performance we have seen since being in SPCP where we aren’t thinking about the sequence.
He circumscribes the space, occasionally springing out of his course to cut parallel lines through the circle. I feel like each audience member is part of an inventory that is being kept as he passes near to them. At a certain point when he enters the middle of the circle and puts his hand on the suitcase. My throat tightens and I think about my dad. Then he says him mom’s name and ‘my mother’ (or my mum? I can’t remember) eventually following it with his father’s. I doesn't feel psychic or telepathic, just like the adaptation had been arranged in such a way that everyone might have had a similar thought at the same time. Maybe it's the suitcase, that it's owner is clearly not with us, that it has to be inherited or deliberately left behind. The feeling of dusk thickens. Deborah is a statue. He pulls off a rain parka to reveal another one. He comically covers his head with the second and reveals, “It wasn’t me” written on the front of his torso in large black letters. His hands come together overhead, persecuted. The shed costume becomes another body in the space, a dormant identity intermittently attended to. Eventually the pieces are absurdly reaffixed to his body and he exits.
We go back to Deborah’s “villa” to make revisions to the score. It’s another moment where I’m feeling this historical significance. I’m appreciating each person immensely (both the ones there and not there for this session)—so distinctly and uniquely clear in their way of thinking, of working collaboratively, of solving puzzles and respecting the integrity of the work. As I leave, I want to go hang out with Miguel (Miguel!) but the lack of sleep ahs caught up with me and I’m in bed where we end up Facebook chatting while about 50 meters apart. We are in an eco-village. But it is 2012.
* * *
At the end of the second to last day, it’s my second and final turn and we decide to change the orientation from being in the round to being more proscenium-like. I’m excited about the change until I enter (like a duck) and feel audience!! I'm really grappling with who I know as shannon the performer vs whom i've been in our group practices. It feels comfortable and familiar but like the timing is terribly wrong. Comic movement does not go well. Ack. Camille and Cinira had such a amazing success with this that I eventually relinquish my attempts and settle into singing the sea. Then it’s over. I don’t feel so great. Deborah gives me notes and says, “you didn’t cop out.”
A few minutes later I’m walking to the beach and feeling so sentimental about these people. We have just one more day.
Here is what I wrote down from our last circle
- I need the lab to turn what I’m doing into a mystery to myself
- no hesitation, and suddenly I’m in a place I don’t know
- the art of solo is relationship
- step up, opens the gap
- notice, perform, and surrender
- the moment, this dance, never to occur again
- I’m not receiving this dance, I’m participating in it
- I’m learning how to balance using the tools
- ‘seduction vs. courtship has kept me very busy’
- Deborah says, For the record, this is the worst altar we have ever had.
On the opposing page in my notebook, all by itself, it says