Saltwater / 9 days in at Metro Arts
Today, we did a trial audience run with 6 audience members. It was by no means a run of the actual work. It was a run of what the work could be. A sketch of some experiments of how to move an audience of more than one to engage with me, as well as with each other differently, at different times.
How much do I want to give away? Perhaps a lot and not much all at once, but in the entire sketch, you were at once a witness, a participant with me, performed for each other, and at most of it, just being present.
And that was really exciting.
Like I have said previously, this development period at Metro Arts has been about pushing the boundaries of my one-on-one performance works – revisiting theatre traditions, while maintaining all the essential elements of audience interaction and engagement as in the Live Art practices of my previous works. Mining from the body of work in the last few years, Saltwater draws structural and content-related elements.
There were really strong discoveries with this run, both affirming as well as challenging me in moving forward. I’m not sure I have the headspace to expand and expound on any of these things yet – perhaps to come in future blog posts.
In the discussion after though – it’s so interesting to catch myself, as well as struggle to maintain this – but artists tend to over-explain themselves!
I’ve been at many a talkback session, as well as facilitated quite some myself – and I’ve noticed the pattern of a trap. And I was doing just that today.
Was it an eagerness that comes from excitement? That I’ve spent a whole week bringing a seed idea to life, and especially at this early a stage where the possibilities are tremendously exhilarating!
Or an anxiety, that someone’s seen you put something up, and decides that’s your work.
But they know it’s a development! Let it go.
Just as in the work, there are moments where I have controlled just as many variables and allow for audiences to engage with the work as they will – it’s the same.
Let it go.
Tomorrow, I trial 10 audience members, and beyond that I am contemplating trialling another layer of audience members who watch the entire thing.
Let it go.
The biggest thing though is, knowing that the next step is to knuckle down and create the actual content of the work. What I’ve got so far to allow the sketch to exist is content that is at its most surface – and to go deep into an autobiographical work – to find the story so that the work lands – to flesh out the details, as well as the abstract; the real work is only just beginning. And it’s at a good place, so
Let it go.