Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dartington Residency - Day One

I spent some of this day licking wounds. It had been a tough week of brain-work planning the next stages of the Travelling Light project. Travelling Light has no producer support at present  and as a solo artist representing myself, I was having to wear about five different hats, juggling rapid-like to accomplish what should have have space to be done in 4 weeks in about 2. By the time, I got to Dartington I was looking forward to getting the script done and dusted. It wasn't to be the case.

The creative in me had other plans. They were movement plans, photography, sketches - an installation of some sort began to take shape right before my eyes and it grew through my need to map the show in my head some how.
 During a course at the London International School of Performance Arts, I had taken a module called The Dramatic Space. Students were asked to explore the energies in the stage space and how, with full body extension and contraction in movement, eyeline and wordless sound and intuitive characterisation, the size and energy of a space can be changed by the illusion of the action  on stage. For a performance poet whose sole tool of trade is the voice with a little help from our friend, the mic, THIS was going to be a fantastic challenge.

But one of the most confusing classes was working with charcoal sketches and three
dimensional constructions made from cardboard and toothpicks into a source of movement and unusual stage set inspiration. Yes, I did feel like I was coming home with school project on my lap on the bus, but I was guaranteed by the course tutor that it would all fall into place later. And it did/does.

Link to the poem "A Pound Of Woman" in reflection of this sketch

So the sketches  I had brought along to the residency, just to see what they might ignite, were all a part of me incorporating other mediums to express what was going on, mainly in my body more than my head. Realising that my body could see, not just through my eyes but also with each limb, hair follicle and blood corpuscle, was liberating. It freed me from the struggle to find words to tell parts of the story of Travelling Light that had no words. Also, my body would sketch according to the nicks and catches in the muscles on my bones; tensions I carried from worrying about the shows slow development. So the poet needed to move to help tell this story, to compensate for what words felt like they were failing her to do. Emotionally, I felt all talked and written out about issues around womanhood so here is a small montage of movement freestyle that I played around with(and had fun with) exploring the paradoxical representations of womanhood that dog my brain up until now -
  • our hyper-sexualisation in the mainstream to the point of disfiguring our bodies with surgery
  • displays of our emotional vulnerability interpreted as emotional manipulation,
  • displays of strength  or assertive behaviour causing more trouble than it seems worth because of the negative 'name-calling' ie bitch, diva, ball buster, dragon etc, 
  • how, when women talk about wanting to be bold and use their sexuality to empower themselves, it actually results in a sort of 'genderised minstreling', entrapping those who don't, 
  • our need to talk about women's status and levels of respect in society but finding our tongues do not seem to have words enough to get the respect deserved

I also found it interesting that although the film recorded with an out of focus setting, this is exactly how I feel about what it means to be woman in the 21st century.

No comments: