Tour Notes 1. Oxford 4-9th April
Three trunks: great on their own but better together.
We have finished the first week of shows in Oxford. We were hosted by The Oxford Playhouse. The tech spec for the show asks the host organization to find a space no smaller then 5×5 metres, with a window and at least 2 x 13 amp plug sockets. A space that replicates a bedsit.
We performed in student accommodation at St Johns College, part of Oxford University. not quite a bedsit but it worked really well and I think often the opportunity to journey out of your comfort zone in what ever direction makes you open to experiencing more deeply. This step seems fundamental to this show and the context of work that I am interested in creating.
Each night the audience have been very different. One night we performed to an audience who were predominantly over 50 and I felt as if the piece also really spoke to them. I toasted Mestre Messias, the Jongo Musician from Rio, who Pedro Lima (the composer of music for the show) worked with and took the melody for the central musical theme of the show from. He was a folkloric philosopher, composer and painter and died in Rio last month. This piece is all about ritual and the energy that the audience conjure with us within the space. I really felt that buy bringing the reality of life and death into the space it allowed me to focus on the reason for performing the work and made the performance a more subtle, gentle and hopefully moving experience for the audience.
One night this week over food and drink Carlao, Anna and I had a conversation about emotional functionality within group structures…or that’s how I interpreted the theme of the chat and I brought up a theory which I like and which I first came across in the book Falling Apart Without Going To Pieces by a Buddhist teacher called: Mark Epstein.
He discusses the journey of an individual and their relation ship to the group as: starting dependent (on the family) and assuming that the goal is independence but that that is only half way there. The healthiest and most fruitful state is that of inter-dependence when you recognize that you are independent and able to rely on yourself but that you could never do everything that you want to without the help of those around you and that they recognize the same of you. This gives a great strength and healthy structure for experience. The problem arises when people jump the independent stage in a hope that they can find inter-dependence but end up landing in co-dependence, where they are not yet able to stand alone so lean on others. Initially this leaning is mutually beneficial, all parties feel stronger. but eventually one will tire of the weight and move out of the way. Then the other will fall and blame the first for moving. This cycle of blame and guilt is seen in many many arts organizations and was very prevalent in past companies I worked with.
I am not standing on high and saying that now we are immune to this most human of cycles but I am celebrating that there is a healthy sense of independence within this small group (Carlao, Anna and me) and that a sense of inter-dependence both in this and other projects is what I am consciously looking for and willing into existence…. remember this is the first week of a two month tour so who knows how we will end up! But like three old trunks carry the set for a show, we are full of information, we stand stable alone, but mean more as a whole. The ship has set sail and the cargo is happy to be on it!