Thursday, February 23, 2012

12MM Missed Connections

“At this point I was overcome with an immense sadness,” said the man half naked bearded man in high heels.

It wasn’t sadness I felt, but depth of emotion. Emotion in that purest of senses; feeling without release. I sat in the darkness, knowing that I would be the face and the audience would be me--faceless and obscured by the spotlight. It was the dress-rehearsal and we were watching the other performers.

Down time before a performance is really the most boring but effective way to build suspense. All of the doubt that has been pushed off by practice and preoccupation disappears. There is no time to rehearse. Instead it is a waiting game. Wait while the suspense builds.

And with a new work there is plenty of suspense. It could be a success. It could flop. It could be humiliating. And so the performers sit quietly in a room together with the lights down low and the tension up high. One after another they wait for their cues and try to forget the knot inside.

So the man in the heels wearing a button-up collared shirt with a golden spiral on his chest spoke volumes to me. He stood uneasily in the spotlight; sweat beading on his forehead. His spindly and hairy legs shook slightly, part of the performance? Or maybe not. A slow spiraling circle in white high heels that formed the base of this irrealist piece.

And what was I? Dressed in black with two stage directions to the entirety of my piece. Be honest and listen.

Performing was genuinely and emotion. In front of a large audience I had to be nothing more than myself. The text was only real when I said it honestly; when my motions were tied to my emotions.

The first night gave me confidence though. I said my lines honestly and listened to my stage partner.

Before the show on the second night Ciera and I performed for a marimba in the rehearsal room. We warmed up as we always did. And then we were dancing. Spinning each other, holding each other. And suddenly we were saying our lines. Riding with them as we danced and moved. Pulled apart, pushed together, hands in tension with each other as lines about moments unrealized spilled from our lips. The marimba became a wall around which to dance. Our movements emoted with our thoughts. What was this performance? It was a practice and something honest. I gave my best performance to that room. The empty room with a defaced painting and a marimba. A large mirror and two broken lamps. Ciera and I danced through our lines.

And the performance in front of an audience didn’t seem to matter quite as much.