Sometimes you’re cruising up the Hudson staring at green trees and water and you’re so happy you just wanna smash your face into your friends because you love them too much to show affection like a normal human.
Sometimes everything is blarg.
There’s been a lot of changes ’round here lately. Caravan’s still wrestling with coast guard issues, which is frustrating and is preventing us from being able to go to Canada.
If you didn’t already know about the classification issue they faced last year, this article does a pretty good job summing it up: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/nyregion/ships-reclassification-could-leave-floating-theater-group-without-venue.html. Since then, the Amara Zee became an American vessel, which should have solved the problem, but hasn’t because it’s complicated.
Right, so there’s that. Also, there are a few visa complications, so three of our people have left in the last 48 hours. That’s really frustrating because a) I like them! I want them to stay! 2) they’ve been really stressed out and lastly) we are now short on crew. (Plus, apparently it causes inconsistent ordering systems.) I mean, we’ll likely see them again at some point or another, but we will miss them all the same. :\
Being here in Hudson has posed its own difficulties as well. Obviously we had the drive shaft issue coming up, so we were a little behind, which means that when we arrived we had to go into overdrive to put things together…..and then it rained. Forever. Out of our four planned shows, only one of them cooperated weather-wise. (Ah, the joys of outdoor theater.) We threw in a make up show last night, but again, weather was supposed to be a pain, so we ended up performing inside a tent that was leftover from the summer market. It was…different. It kind of threw me for a loop to -at 4pm- hear that I’m going to be improvising the whole show on the ground. (Because obviously we have nothing to rig from.) We pulled over a few set pieces, like the hacksters’ cages and the torture cages, and pulled in a few lights and managed to get a sound system working. (Our sound designer has been crazy sick for two days and can barely get up, not to mention trying to be cognizant enough to run a complicated show.) I have to say, it ended up being a pretty decent set, and I worked hard to keep an open mind about what what’s actually possible versus what I think is possible. The results were somewhere in between.
There were about 50 or so people in the audience when we started, though by the end all but about 6 of them had left. And of course, since it was in a tent, that’s an hour and a half of ground work for us aerialists. There was a part of me that was like, “C’mon girl, you’re a dancer, make it work,” but ultimately, it wasn’t a really fulfilling show for me. I don’t personally like (and I speak exclusively as a physical performer at the moment) improv as a performance tool. I mean, I love it when doing contact improv with people because it’s a game and it’s play, or using it as an experimental tool during act creation, but it doesn’t really do it for me when I’m in front of an audience. The thing I love about performing is the surrender. It’s what happens when I’ve trained so hard that my brain can give in and completely trust my body. My whole mind goes quiet and it feels like standing on stage in an empty theater looking out at rows and rows of empty seats. It feels like the space between inhaling and exhaling, and it stretches on forever. A great performance for me means that I wasn’t thinking; I was just a body giving everything a body can give. I was arms, legs, muscles, nerves, bones, joints, and space. It’s so peaceful and soothing, and it’s a way to lose myself while also being my most authentic self.
Occasionally there will be a thought that drifts into my quiet room:
but it dissipates leaving that complete beautiful silence again.
Improvising is less fulfilling for me because there’s too much thinking:
“GAH! Don’t trip!”
“What am I doing??”
“Do I have anything clean to wear tomorrow?”
“Creepy creepy gnarly grarrrr”
“Make sure to open up to the audience”
“Oh man my thighs are burning” (seriously…an hour and a half of twitching/creeping around in a low squat? Oof, yo.)
“That was graceful, stop it”
“Where am I going next?”
“How can I interact with this person? Oh shoot, they turned away from me and don’t know I’m being scary at them so they can’t react”
“Gah, the cage isn’t squishing. I need more cake. Hrrrnnnnng”
“Man, my sweat is really really salty.”
“What is that guy photographing?”
See? TOO MUCH THINKING. No good. No peace.
Anyway. Sometimes art feeds you. Sometimes it eats you. Last night was a draining one that left me feeling like a husk, rather than full and clear. But some shows are like that, and that’s okay.
There were good moments, of course. Highlights were the Mammon masks, for sure. They have these massive puppet heads with glowing eyes that looked fantastic in the dark tent. At one point, I looked back at them and it was just six pairs of eyes floating toward us and it was super cool. Plus, L’s lighting was really good, especially considering it was pretty much off the cuff! And the scene where we torture Xaraine felt really powerful; she brought her A game and whereas usually we are above her and squishing her in a compression cage, this time we were beside her looking at her face-to-face, which was really intense.
This morning I woke up supremely comfortable. I took a super hot shower last night and scrubbed myself pink and I slept forever and woke up this morning with my pillow in the best spot and my covers all wonderful without being twisted up and when I rolled over, my hair was soft and clean against my cheek and I just felt good.
Some days are just like that.