I was a writer. I wrote. By myself. At a desk. It was often lonely.
Now I dance. Do commando rolls. Cartwheels. Handstands. I collaborate constantly. I choreograph and am choreographed. It’s different. It’s hard. But it is a lot of fun. And we are making something pretty darn saucy.
Shall We Take This Outside began its life in a cafe in Stoke Newington where upon having the idea, I would go with a stack of books, and research the hell out of male aggression and the heroic archetype. I read a lot of very cool things. A read a lot of really difficult things. But my conclusion was that something really nasty was happening in ‘the hero’, it was connected to his (nearly always his) propensity for violence, and I wanted to find out more.
After a few applications, during which time I learnt a lot about putting a project together, we got the funding. Now, I have gathered a crack team of creative goodies to help me get to the bottom of this.
Ericsson Mitchell - Acrobat, dancer, stage combatant, non stop charmer.
Jacob Smart - Contemporary-trained acrobatic dancer, choroegrapher, flexible human, legend.
Keiran Merrick - Music producer, time traveller, actual wizard.
Yael Shavit - Award winning dramaturg, poet whisperer, soothsayer.
And so it began.
I had a big chunk of script ‘ready to go’. 45 minutes of material, in fact.
Except I definitely didn’t. It was NOT good enough. So it was drawing board time.
Yael expertly teased the story out with me and we had a starting point. And from there the piece gradually took shape.
One of the excellent things about having a load of brilliant artists in a room, is that there are so many ways to make the work. We developed scenes with as many different starting points as we could. Movement, text, music, a single word. It was slow, it was difficult at times, but it was fun and we have the beginnings of a piece that we have made alongside each other. It is no one persons vision and as a result it feels much more than the sum of its parts. And the sum of its parts is pretty strong.
I’m learning a lot of stuff. I’ve learnt my arm tendons are too short and I can’t fully straighten my arms. I’ve learnt that if you do enough commando rolls you can develop a huge nipple-like bruise on your shoulder. I’ve learnt that a lot of acrobatics is about commitment. About trusting yourself and the people you’re with and letting go of fear. If you hesitate, or give only 50%, you’re not going to make it. I’m using that as a metaphor for this project now. I’m doing it. It’s scary and its stressful but if I don’t give it 100, I’m going to end up snivelling in a crumpled heap, plugging my tears with dry croutons. And, as I’ve learnt from Eric and Jacob, if you give it 100 and you do fall, it’ll usually be ok. Just make sure you're warmed up.
Work in progress sharings are at Freak Speak in Peterborough on October 6th,
and at Canada Water Culture Space on October 12th and 13th