Monthly Archives: March 2011

Left Luggage – A Performance

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could I really make this happen?

‘…our little group has always been and always will until the end….’


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Studio Time

feeling very scared. I’ve a pretty big critic shouting my every move down at the moment.

okay good – so don’t try and make anything that’s ‘perfect’. Try to remember that this can be fun, this isn’t horrible work this is your work. This can be enjoyable.

I feel like the finished piece is just around the corner, only there’s a roadblock and a traffic jam and its raining heavily and I’m not wearing any shoes.


Go into studio and try pieces out as is so far-ish:

In my head there’s a structure, my instinct is that for today it may be best to ignore that and focus on getting to the truths that need to be told and getting the language and sentiment that I want to convey right. ‘Instinct’ – decision is based on the rationale that understanding intent and purpose is better at this stage that form and shape which in any case may need to be edited if I got that ‘right’ first and the intents then changed the requirements of the structure.

Stop over complicating. Stop worrying that its all empty and shit. Stop comparing yourself to others. Enjoy getting it ‘wrong’ – its called process. Tell your critic to shut up for a few hours – everything will be brilliant, even the stuff that you know is shit otherwise you won’t find what you need.

Try out the guitar.

Try out silences.

Try out everything.


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I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God

enter girl in a black dress with a bag and a coffee, she sits downstage right and drinks the coffee, puts her bag down and takes out a notebook, looking at the audience she writes. (this maybe repeated in reverse as the end of the piece)


(notebook gets ‘sworn’ on at evidence station later)

Evidence station (upstage left) only has ‘going home for the last time’ facts or an amalgamation of other journeys but the impression is this is one and the same journey. The text is minimal and repeated in varying combinations or revelations.

Physical evidence (eg metro) presented here? presented in ‘image station’ DSL? presented as mediated image onscreen? Audience as jury or witnesses so handle evidence themselves?

How it began – the party express

crochet people

red wine/foster can performance drinkers

blonde guy? London man? – they have essences that I like  – can I capture this in shorthand somewhere else?

upstage right – guitar is rehearsed quietly

downstage left

guitar is played properly – maybe in a Nirvana t-shirt, probably near the end, hopefully on an electric guitar.

whistle is blown

waving goodbye (many different possibilities and directions and styles)

litany & ‘a girl in a black dress’ although maybe this is also/or evidence

train breaths (staggered, repeated, echoed, completed)

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Silence (or not doing anything as a research strategy)

after the last feedback session (where I chose to read and present the writing and images I already have without enacting the train as I was feeling trapped in this form and structure I’d developed)I felt pretty lost with the direction of the work and although blogging had proved a really valuable tool up to that point I had the feeling it was becoming the work itself and in reflection I think may’ve been affecting my process.

I was also feeling pretty wound up about about lots of other things and decided that sometimes when you’re lost in the middle of something you look so hard for something you’ve no chance of finding it because even if its there in front of you, it becomes impossible to see.

So I decided to do nothing… this was a decision to actively do nothing as a strategy that I know has worked before… waiting for a dream is also a good strategy as long as it happens in good time.

I decided to wait for it to come to me.

Of course I was doing things, I was never not thinking about it, everyday life events allow you to alter your perception, reframe and review what you’re thinking about.

Three things stuck in my mind from that feedback session:

1. That presenting the material in that way made it feel like a hearing for a train crash, as if I was presenting evidence at an enquiry.

2. Was this a good-bye to my last relationship?

3. That this structure might not do the job anyway, the job of trying make an audience feel, that my assumption that this type of configuration would be more likely to produce a certain response in an audience was just that, an assumption.

Things also playing on my mind that keep pestering me throughout this:

I remember crying on a train, I won’t write about it, but I keep thinking of it, what am I resisting?
and this; [personal]

[personal] is a direct result of working from the blog and not from my notebook, there are things missing from my process as I haven’t published them online as they directly relate to people in my life who I wouldn’t want to upset by publishing those shared moments explicitly online especially in relation to making work…. this is one major drawback of blog vs notebook – public process vs private process…. or perhaps a learning and a reminder that the ‘notebook’ is still superior as the original source of the material, where nothing is lost or edited.

Half way through my pretending to myself that I’m not doing anything, this idea came to me after a few red wines round a friends house on a Friday night, half – drunkenly scrawled in my general ideas and names of things to follow up and look into pocket-book that is always carried around (I guess the twitter equivalent of a blog in digital terms)

its the journey
its being 18 again

I miss you Ella
I miss you Sean
I miss you Tim
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you

Its all the goodbyes… and tomorrow I’m going on a new train to a new life….

it’s a post-mortem of  life’s train wrecks.

Staying with the ‘not doing anything approach I allowed the ideas to keep washing over me, not even taking time to note them all down, only the new connections… I was so anxious (and still am) that I’m in a sort of panic/’its all shit/I’m shit headspace that if I started to work without a plan, I’d over analyse, overwork, anything I tried to make.

I stayed with this right up until the next performative feedback moment all through the session, distracting myself by reading around the themes.
Before improvising a performance – which I was going to do from memory, from instinct, with no scripted writings or previously over-thought, structured and restructured, messed around with,  bits of material – my plan was to find out what this show is about?

Before performing I wrote these brief notes in my notebook to work from:

What I did – observing going places
What I’m doing now – telling you
What I’m really thinking about – why I went on these trips
(by which I meant Explain yourself, reveal the process in performance)

I miss you

I remember saying goodbye, walking in the square, come as you are.

Going home for the last time

Things I know about trains.

I performed a piece which went like this – sit on chair, talk about crochet ladies, say ‘but that’s not what this is really about’, get up and stand to the left of the chair, perform waving action, talk about old friends and what it felt like to walk through Nottingham Square in January, say ‘I could be 18 again’.

So it is becoming a tragedy, it is a remembrance, a memorial, a sadness and a testament to this feeling that I keep getting that I don’t want to be happy, I don’t want any new happy memories or close relationships with people because I can only just bear the weight and sadness of the memories I have now and how time passing changes who we are which often makes them all the sadder. I remember deciding early in my teens that I was going to base life decisions on the ‘stories to tell the grandchildren’ factor eg: should I skip school today? well yes, it’ll make a good story to tell the grandchildren. I have friends who lived and still live like that, I don’t know if they’ll ever grow old enough (metaphorically or literally) and I don’t believe they enjoy themselves anymore…. but when we were young we didn’t know, we loved and lived freely and I’m glad we did but the passing of time and innocence and naivety makes it feel like a loss.

Early on in this process I rewrote an entry in my notebook in a way that made it publishable online, it keeps going through my head like crying on the train does:

I asked if love still existed
Yes was the answer

But how? How can it be
surely you heart is bitter?

Yes, was still the answer

And yet I feel like the only person in the world.

Could it possibly be that I’m going to have to make another show about my fucking life, could it possibly be that at the moment of feeling all my material is coming to nothing I realise I haven’t put myself in it anywhere and then have a bit of an insight into what I really mean to be saying? Could it be that writing is killing my process and actually I need to go back to spoken word and sound-ed-out-lang-uage before scripting?
if so maybe I should start writing a fill in the blanks guide to how to make any future work….

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