Thursday, 16 September 2010

Carly's Thoughts after New York

Our trip to New York has come and gone, as has the rest of spring and now from mid summer it’s great to be able to look back and reflect on the work we toured for all that time; the venues, the audiences, the education groups that contributed so much to our experience of If We Go On.
The performances at Montclair State University gave us an opportunity to view both If We Go On and Broken Chords side by side; a privilege for me as I was only performing in one of the shows but exhausting, I’m sure, for those directing, performing, tech-ing for both. I love the stark, sometimes seemingly barren, aesthetics of both shows coupled with the inside knowledge of how intricately detailed and controlled every aspect of every moment is. It was great to see/experience the questioning of the audience-performer contract develop from Broken Chords to If We Go On, to compare the different manifestations of creating and breaking fiction and a treat to be able to watch co company members do their thing from the comfort of a red velvet seat. All in all New York was fantastic........ Scott and I worked with some great students, I don’t think any of the show was lost in translation, I got a run around central park (note to anti-clockwise next time), a trip to a very friendly physio and a few days of manic site seeing once the shows were done....... with the hope that the Icelandic ash cloud would mean I just had to stay for longer!!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Luisa, after America

Working with VDT proved to be an experience not to be forgotten professionally and humanely.

The excitement to be reprising a very substantial role in the piece Broken Chords surpassed the nerves of thinking I was going back to a full length piece (after a few years of easier performing). I was so hungry to go back into a studio and work solidly. The role could not have been more complete and rewarding, two duets with lots of partnering, solo work and a long monologue…I was walking on air and thinking this is a major part and the more I watched the video the more I venerated the woman who created the role.

From my first meeting with Charlotte and the company I had generally a very positive feeling of the people I was going to start work with. It got even better as the days went on - from rehearsing in Sheffield (a city that felt familiar as soon as I was there, maybe it’s the 7 hills that it shares with Rome! I loved its mixture of old and new and appreciated the calmer pace of life compared to London) up to the tour, which was like being on a school trip with the advantage of adulthood.

The company’s organisational team were very efficient, answering queries and providing us with information ahead of time, and making us feel welcome form the very beginning. A big thanks.

Working on Broken Chords was intense and full on while learning the material simply because it was a lot in quantity, and there is often an uncomfortable passage during a process of learning other people’s steps from a video. You think you get the steps but actually you get a skeleton and then you have to fill that with meat and find a kinesthetic sense of the movement. I was however lucky to be given many tips by Charlotte who had previously danced the role.

The partnering was where I could let go the most in the show and the trust between myself and Janusz felt so rooted that the challenge of making a connection work became quite soon in the tour a fearless fulfillment.

Text in Broken Chords was an opportunity to search and find more to bring out of myself. A difference between the original cast member and myself manifested itself the most here for me. This character could ramble on (and make sense) and I had to rely on the lines to do so as I’m naturally a calmer and quieter being. On the fifth (alas the last) performance I felt the text more mine, the realisation of holding the audiences’ attention and actually living those minutes of addressing them is something I hope to experience more of. In fact, unlike some members of the company who have performed this piece for a number of years, I feel I just had a taste of it.

I found American and Canadian audiences generally enthusiastic.

A standing ovation in Canada was a pleasant response, but so was a comment of frustrated audience member watching IWGO. I too was watching the show in the audience that night and found it extraordinary that the guy, though blatantly not amused, had gotten into his own rebellious dialogue with the pieces’ questionings.

Both Broken Chords and If We Go On are in my opinion the result of intelligent ensemble work and I relate and admire Charlotte’s way of looking at live performance. Personally what I love the most about these two works is the humour, it’s crucial!

Alex, after America

Prompted by an unceasing “urge” to elaborate on my experience of the last leg of our touring saga, here are some snippets of my thoughts:

Well, as G. Hagi (google it) used to say…the shows went well, we were all in good form and most importantly, the “coach” was pleased.

I find it hard to talk about something that I do and live because of my inability to express it differently. I get up on stage to try and share that, which cannot be put into words or even into actions. Yet, I try.

Not always do I agree with what I am supposed to be portraying on stage, but that’s why they call it professionalism. In that sense, I think I’ve matured a lot; in accepting that the world doesn’t start or end with my opinion.Yet, I try…

I sometimes fight to great lengths for what I believe and hope that those around me have come to understand that as passion rather than discarding it as mere pigheadedness.

Thank you Charlotte for continuing to trust the process and thank you everyone else for putting up with me. It’s been an honour and a pleasure to share the limelight (and the drinks).

Character (no spaces)=889
Character (with spaces)=1,134

p.s. there will now be a short pause

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Harry's Thoughts after America

What a year I have had re-connecting with the Company after almost ten years away. I was pleased to be invited to understudy Henry Montes during the devising stages of IF WE GO ON last summer. Keen to approach working with Charlotte again in a way that would perhaps coexist with and nurture my own research practice during the latter stages of my Choreography MA, at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in leeds. Through circumstance I was then invited to develop this role, and perform during the autumn and spring tours of ‘if we go on’, as well as ‘broken chords’ in the USA, and Canada. To paraphrase IF WE GO ON by focussing on one thing (3 movement phrases) for what seemed like an everlasting amount of time, I was afforded a luxury infrequently encountered. As a progression of attempts, and performative experiences encountered throughout the tour, the three distinct and idiosyncratic movement phrases originally of Henry’s creation, had become incarnate and found their expression through me. This process was extremely satisfying, and indeed eventually paved the way to a developing parallel process within my own work. So much so that ongoing explorations of authenticity and plagiarism became primary considerations in a completed work that ‘I am not sure is mine’. Having been in process for a year and a half making my own work, it has been quite a relief and a new challenge to step into ‘already existing’ roles and works. However, this is where the similarities end between the two works, and where the meeting of myself with two radically different situations began. Performing BROKEN CHORDS despite the angst caused by the physical rigour of duets, and trios reeled off at break-neck speed and the highs and lows of dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions of my own making, as well as of others made for an interesting ride. I have to say that despite all the initial difficulty and concerns around stepping into someone else’s role, meeting the expectations (or not), I could have confidence in my/our ability to come together, and perform a work that is self assured and stands up to the test of time rather brilliantly. Giving birth can often be a painful process, there are no guarrantee’s as far as outcome and with (failing) elbow/shoulder strength needed, concerns around further injury were always present. However I have to say it was well worth persevering in the end. The experience of growing into BROKEN CHORDS whilst on tour in the U.S/Canada, however short lived (five shows) was thoroughly rewarding, scary, interspersed with moments of melancholy, madness and confusion. Nothing new there then, guffaw guffaw! In an empowering way the residing characteristic for myself was the joy experienced in performing again, meeting the conditions the work asked of me, and finding my own often emotive journey into the work. From an interior perspective, even though BROKEN CHORDS proved to be such a stark contrast to IF WE GO ON in both it’s physicality, and the inclusion experienced as opposed to the isolation determined by my role within IF WE GO ON, the two pieces share similarities and heritage’s not only of performer/creator/director, but also exist within similar terrains and aesthetic values like both pieces use of duration/disruption. In a way IF WE GO ON exists as an outcome of BROKEN CHORDS, not by attempting to redress, and find some kind of ‘new order’ but by attempting to redefine one's relationship with uncertainty and not knowing. Being on tour turned out to be a success, and one never knows what is going to happen, you may even fall in love, as I did. It’s a long way to Ottawa but a journey I am willing to take, facing my fears and allowing participation, despite how unrealistic it may seem. Similarly with my return to dance, performing and working with VDT, what a ride!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Kip's Thoughts on America, May 2010

To have a new and a old piece together at one venue, is something of a rare happening especially for a British company to do in the States, so i think it was an invaluable opportunity that for me showed a clear through-line in Charlotte's thoughts and questions about how to approach a creative process.There was the more prominent aspects of how the 4th wall (audience) was slowly revealed in Broken Chords, and how it was toppled in If We Go On, to the point where the audience had to work hard and react be it positive/negative to really fully open up to what If We Go On was trying to say.

From the aspect of a performer in Broken Chords, I feel if it were to precede a performance of '
If We Go On,it would quench what i believe a 'non-dance' audience member wants from a piece of dance/theatre as regards the varying atmospheres created in the sections of the work (ie Loss/longing/recklessness/abandonment/comedy etc) and also a feeling of empathy/connection to the varying and strong personalities of the performers.The focus on this last element is key for me in the success and translation of the work. After all of this it introduces the question 'what is the role of the audience member' - passive/active?

And then If followed by
If We Go Oni think the audience will be prepared to approach the piece in a more conceptual/questioning way. They are aware of what Charlotte is beginning to challenge/question in Broken Chords and are on board to go further with this element of her work.

To step into a previous role in Broken Chords was an interesting one for me! As mentioned before the distinct personality of the performers almost makes
Broken Chords. So i was in a mental quandary as i knew that there were elements of Darren's role that worked well in the piece, but re-enacted on a different personality/ body will always achieve different results.Charlotte was aware of this and importantly allowed me to take the the essence/skeleton of Darren's role and mix it with my approach to the character. For me also missing the creative process to make the piece, made me think it would have possibly sustained my character throughout the performance,connecting the dots from an emotive point of view, if i knew what it took to get there.

As always there is a different sense of humour ranging from individual people to countries. Broken Chords has humor that is both subtle and blatant. But what I learnt from even going to different venues, is to never predict when the audience will find something funny and also poignant,as it changed from night to night and venue to venue.

A standing ovation in Canada was quite something for me, maybe I don't go to the right performances but it seems a rare occurance in Britain.

This was my first tour after Graduation, so not having any level of expectation meant all the treatment from the venues was splendid! Even the free bottled water and fruit was something to call home about. Every venue was very welcoming, and it is an amazing and humbling feeling to know that a venue is thankful and excited to have you there. Washed clothes (with fabric softener) in Ottawa was the creme de la creme of the tour for me.

I have to say the word dance 'company' was very apt for my time in USA/Canada.It was a splendid group of people to spend my time with and I felt like a contributing company member from the off. As with tours, you are at times living in each others pockets, eating rehearsing together. But the mix of people's backgrounds and personalities slotted in well together, and it was a pleasure to both dance and relax with a mightily interesting company, in which I learnt a tremendous amount. So cheers guys!

Also simply the fact that i performed with a company I highly admire and respect, combined with it being in USA and Canada. One cant complain!Very grateful and lucky indeed! Before i say adieu: Musicians! Musicians should be integral to every dance company.I say it is tremendously healthy to have that creative element in the studio. having Alex and PK simply playing around (quite beautifully) on the cello and violin for morning warm up, is a very fond memory of my time with VDT.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Scott's Thoughts on New Jersey

I went to New Jersey to meet the Company who was getting Broken Chords back up for the tour. It was interesting to be able to be on tour, and keep my head down as regards a piece of repertory that I was not performing in. Also, three new performers on board, who all seemed liked very nice peoples. Jessica from the theatre was very helpful with organising transport and whatall, and it felt like having a tour manager along when she was present in NJ. Also was good to be in a large, clean, well outfitted theatre, with professional crew and such. Nick and Dom (our Technical Team) seemed steady on with tech details.

I was in the audience for one show of Broken chords, and really really thought it looked great, and that a lot of care had gone into making and performing of it. It was good for me to see another piece of VDT rep, and be inspired by its qualities.

Performing IWGO was not unfamiliar. I wondered if having an American accent lost some of its impact when performing for Americans. There was some interesting post show discussion about how the work could be difficult for some audience, and also about how it might be difficult to perform in some ways. I got a general vibe, that there were middle class types in the audience on some nights, that were a bit to challenged by what was on the stage, and had to exit the theatre. It seems, after three tours of IWGO, that it may not be easy populist piece of work somehow... However, we got a decent review in the NY Times, which impresses most of my family to no end, and which, I assume, is helpful to the company on some level.

My biggest personal challenge with the performing of IWGO, is how to keep levity alive, in the face of so many existential questions...? Also, how to pitch irony, or, does irony work differently with different audiences? Etc.

I was sad to watch the company leave for the airport without me after NJ performances. I have grown very fond of these people. This is a familiar feeling at the end of a performance/tour project, and I don't know if I get any better at surviving it.

Practically, the North American tour was pillowed with lots of family visiting for me. Which is a whole other kind of intense personal experience. I am going to miss playing music and drinking beer and hanging out with people. I hope to see them sooner's.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fernanda Prata's Thoughts after Broken Chords

For me, Broken Chords has some similarities with If We Go On in that both shows have a need for a change, a break, something that needs a shifting. If I could say a phrase that would be common for both shows would be "It is enough!"

Broken Chords is an easier show to understand and has a strong and easier narrative. IWGO is very brave, has a strong narrative as well, but is not a telling story, it is almost a shout, something that you guys need to get of your chest.

Music wise, is very different in my opinion,
Broken Chords is more lyrical and has something that makes me think about the past. IWGO is more a distorted sound, and makes me think about confusion, present and again a shout.

Performing in America and Canada was great! I think the audience were so much more enthusiastic (especially the Americans) than English audiences. The treatment in the venues were fantastic! Compared to UK, I think they were the same.

The group (performers, technicians, director, office) were some of the most receptive people that I have ever worked with! Every single one was lovely to work with and received me and the other 2 new performers(Luisa and Kip) really well!

The thing that I am most impressed with this whole experience with VDT is the efficiency of the company's office. I thought Jane and the team did a brilliant job! The visa applications were arranged really well. The schedule for rehearsals and accommodation in Sheffield was fantastic! Payment and some unforeseen circumstances, like rearranging rehearsals, breakfasts, transportation were dealt with immediately.

I had a lovely time. Hope we have another tour soon!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Patrycja's Thoughts, Jetlagged in Sheffield

I'm developing some sort of yearly routine of saying goodbye to people I have worked with. 'See you on the next project', or maybe 'never see you again?' You share long hours in the rehearsal studio, adrenaline, ideas, stress, a sense of fulfillment or a joy after a good show, bonkers parties in hotel, and then everyone disappears at once. Although I'm getting used to this process, it's always a bit sad. It's hard to desensitize yourself. It always takes some time to re-programme my brain to be at home. To slow down.

I can't quite decide if I felt any difference regarding audience responses to our work in America. It always depends on various conditions, like what age they are, how big the venue is (or how small and intimate), is it full house, are we on top of our game, or even what day of the week it is. And is there a bar in the theatre, so people can have a drink before the show, and relax before consuming the rather heavy meal we serve them. I'm not sure, I don't like generalising anyway... It always nice to get a standing ovation though..( which we did for all three performances in Ottowa).

Lovely to observe that performers started to form little groups, for pure joy purposes, entertaining themselves between the shows playing music or producing ever so slightly obscure and hilarious art work. I wonder if any of it could be useful in new show we 'll make...

Janusz's thoughts from Poland, after America

When I think of last 3 weeks of touring in US and Canada I think of many things at once. It’s quite hard to get my head around it all as it was quite full on, despite having few days off in between working days. And these were really needed at times.

It was interesting was to put 2 pieces in one venue, the recent If We Go On and the production that made company’s name, Broken Chords. Two completely different pieces, yet so similar in many ways.

We have done many shows in a row but this was a particulary hard experience for me. Being less physically active over last year. There is not so much dance in If We Go On, the show we have been touring recently, which was a deliberate choice, and this put quite a big pressure on me learning and performing Lee Clayden’s role in Broken Chords, rather than the one I originally made. It was physically demanding and draining rather than emotionally tiring, as many things have changed since we made the work. Five years have passed and the fun in doing it was still there. I enjoyed it more this time round. Maybe I had to wait a bit, maybe learn to be more patient, maybe grow up a bit more – in age and experience, maybe openly say to myself ’I can do it, I can actually do it’.

This touring thing is hard work and never easy to write about. Dear readers, memories were precious and these last 3 weeks of touring were worth going for and worth doing. As a company we learnt a lot from it. We have experienced different lifestyles, different public reactions, different food, beer prices and tipping and despite wanting to get back home (we all want it at times, don’t we?) I loved it and I thank you all for everything. Here’s to the next one!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Thoughts from America- Aurora

The line in Broken Chords "can we go on now?" leads towards "If We Go On". Interruptions towards rebellion. Stopping and starting. Remembering moments from previous shows. Creating while performing. There is not a smooth structure. You can switch off and on more and more easily. Both of the shows end up being very emotional, but IWGO gives you the distance, you can look at the picture, the emotions, you can frame them, there is no need to sink into them. In IWGO there is more room for play, for mistakes, for being who you are. Questioning and saying "No to Bach, partner work, emotional catharsis..." followed next night by performing Broken Chords gives more understanding to what the game is in IWGO. There is the game in the show itself but also there is a dialogue between Broken Chords and If We Go On.

This is the straw that break the camel's back - this camel is not taking any more straws

I started making If We Go On (IWGO) in May 2009, designing and planning and thinking, and was soon joined by a heavily pregnant Aurora to start making the work, before giving birth. A year later, having toured the UK with Aurora's two children for two seasons, we are just finishing a tour of three venues in another continent - New Jersey and Pittsburgh in the States and Ottowa, Canada at the National Arts Centre.

At Montclair State University's Alexander Kaisser Theatre in New Jersey we performed IWGO and Broken Chords, the latter requiring a huge amount of re-rehearsal as four new performers joined the cast and Janusz learnt Lee Clayden's role. Fernanda Prata, Luisa Lazzaro, Harry Theaker and Kip Johnson joined the VDT cast - and all of them have done a fantastic job. With Scott Smith, Carly Best its a very big, very strong and experienced group of performers doing two shows in one venue.

Sitting watching IWGO one night and Broken Chords (made in 2005) the next evening I am struck by the similarities and the differences between the two works. IWGO is undoubtedly darker, more fractured, more challenging, less easy on the eye. It circles around itself, goes nowhere and everywhere, confounds expectations, pisses people off, shakes you, bores you, makes you sit up and listen, makes you marvel at the skill of the performers involved.

I love watching Harry move - he hasn't danced like this for years and it suits him. He is truly versatile and is as connected with his movement instinct at 42 as he was when he was 22. It just takes his body more time to remember stuff!

I love watching Carly and Janusz battle it out in their duet - aggressively slamming each other against the wall, providing themselves with their own soundtrack through Alex's feedback loop. Carly is like dynamite- wound up, exquisite, precise, committed, present.

I love hearing the sounds that emerge from Alex and his cello- the hardcore thwacking, the beautifully round waves of sound, the woody baseline, the moments where my full attention is on strings being drawn and bent and pushed and pulled in and out of shape. In his hands the cello is most beautiful and most ugly and I relish it all. His fingers dance throughout the show.

I love the drawl of Scott's voice, the pace quickening, the pace slowing, the irony pushing through, the instinctual movements and shifts in tone and song in the way he plays it, in the way he moves. And he plays it differently every night. He plays a mean clarinet and mouth organ too.

I could watch Aurora being Pina Bausch (or Marina Abramovic, or just herself) forever. She lilts and tilts and droops and holds onto an internal world as though her life depends on it. She is lovely and clever and magical to watch as the musicians swell the sound around her and pull her into and out of a scene of her own making. She commands the stage - subtle, tiny but always so present.

I watch Janusz with admiration, speaking, questioning, faltering, adjusting, refusing, slowly bowing out. But I have a feeling he'll be back for more dancing. After all this I am ready to see him move again- Broken Chords has reminded me (in his duets with Luisa) how watchable he is when he is physically on fire.

I witness Patrycja reigning in her energy, suppressing it, controlling it only to let it scream out at points in the show where nothing else will do. She is both primal and controlled. You feel the visceral pleasure of the words in her mouth as she glues the show together with Wendy Houstoun's more risque texts, texts that question everything, texts that give away all she has to give. When she hits the mark, she sends shivers up my spine.

Most of all though -heightened by seeing this work on foreign soil, alongside the piece that made the company's name 5 years ago- I feel enormous pride in the ensemble, in us all having the balls to try something new. I thank the admin team at home for making this happen and the group for trusting me enough to follow this path.

I feel very uncertain as to what can be next after so much questioning, but with some time off this will emerge and unfold as it always does and I will start to make phone calls to these talented, committed collaborators. "Hey, I've had this idea I think we should try...."

Monday, 22 February 2010

Patrycja's Spring Tour Blog

I’ve only realised that we‘ve only got 7 shows left, before the spring tour finishes. The nature of this tour (big gaps between performances) makes me feel like every time we do it it’s a little premiere. It will soon be over, before I even could say that I KNOW everything about this show.

I’ve learned that although one performance doesn’t change much from another (well -it inevitably varies- as this is a nature of live art) even tiny alterations of tempo, tone, colour, way of approaching one’s activity seem to have massive impact on the overall picture. It’s a fragile organism. Although I aim to be as consistent as I can, there is an ongoing dialog with myself how far can I go – i.e reacting intuitively to audience responses – without bringing the damage to the structure. (A mischievous little desires to REALLY confront one or another member of the public and ask :“Is this shitty?” or “I’m melting in front of you- how does it make you feel?” “Shut up and listen!”…forth wall? What forth wall…

All the texts I deliver on stage, no matter if they are written by Wendy, or Scott, became mine, in a funny sense that I have to remind myself that –as Janusz says in show “these words are not mine”.

During each show I develop a special- one off, mini relationship with the audience. My role is to communicate between US and THEM, I spend lots of time looking into their eyes, observing. I sympathise with them at times, occasionally becoming one of them to observe my own actions. It depends on the night and who came to watch us, and what vibe they send towards us, my feelings towards public fluctuates between sense of joy of serving them something they probably didn’t expect, masochistic pleasure of seeing their confusion, satisfaction…or relief if they “get it”. Equipped with confidence I storm onto the stage, only to experience a wave of doubt. A difference between FEELING and ACTING doubt.

“I ‘m real”

“There isn’t such a thing as being real on the stage”


For a split second I might feel slightly superior…or even angry or disappointed, thinking If We Go On is really NOT THAT EDGY…so what’s the fuss… I‘m curious what American audiences will make of it all.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Scott's Thoughts - Feb 2010

Recently, it has seemed that there has been a need to inject some new (old?) questions into the working process, as we have been challenged by audiences, size of venue, repetition, and familiarity among other things.

We played a very large (for us) theatre last week, and there was some concern about the work getting far enough off of the stage to read in the further reaches of the house. It seems we won’t have big houses to deal with often, so perhaps, the concern will dissipate again for a while. I have gotten more practice in delivering to a smaller group of audience, that I can comprehend in front of me of an evening...

I have been thinking that this work asks an audience to consider their very own personal relationship to the events on stage or in the theatre. There are events that have happened during shows, audience leaving during the pauses on stage, or directing questions at the players, or leaving the theatre. I feel a bit like we have opened up a smallish can of worms asking people to think. And if what we have made is an object?
Is the object mutable? Plastic?
Who are the appropriate persons to mutate the object?
The players, the audience, the director, the writer, dramaturge, etc?
Is the object mutable? And if so, what are the contingencies?

Are we acting?
Is acting more or less appropriate to the work? In what measure?

During the run of this production, I have begun to notice a kind of angst arising in my performance. Irony is maybe a difficult quality to sustain, without giving in to its darker side. It’s probably more practical to love an audience, than to hate an audience.

Look at me just look at me.
Don’t look at me, just don’t look at me.

The new production crew is good. Kick back and let them do it good.

The tour is full of holes. Holes in the schedule. Its a different kind of tour. I come home often. There is plenty to do.

People/the public seem to be finding things in the work to ponder, some of them. Others ponder other things. What people like, what people dislike.
I think the work wanted to ask some questions of conventions. The rub, has caused some heat, here and there.
I can’t tell if we are hip. Or not.
Depends on who you ask.

At any rate,
Thank God she went on. It has changed our lives, forever.

Janusz's Blog Feb 2010

The spring tour of If We Go On has been met with a few changes. Well, maybe not that many - most important I think is that we have a new technical team - Dom Martin and Nik Kennedy. We are still the same cast of performers, still touring with two lovely, little kids of Aurora’s, still facing up to the fragile nature of the work. Those who saw it, know what I am talking about, Those who did not, should make their way to the theatre to see it. It is a brave show, a very good antidote to what is usually shown in dance, especially in UK. People often say that they prefer "the other" VDT works. It does not surprise me - we all want what we already know, what we are familiar with. It is safe, comfortable, nice. Well, I can only say it makes me proud that we, as company, took a risk and put on a different show.

I think that the experience at British Dance Edition in Birmingham was by far one of the most strange, exciting and memorable (not an easy show to do in a venue like the Birmingham Rep Theatre, with such a big auditorium). The audience (most of them were delegates and promoters) began leaving the auditorium 10 minutes before the show actually ended. Quite scary, but at the same time an exciting thing to see in front of your eyes. And while we were still going and Patrycja began to say her last (very important) words in the show, some of them turned and came back to their seats, some stopped, turned and listed, some left anyway. What a happening!

Remember the words of a lady who came to me after the show and said: "As long as I live on this earth, I always thought that the sign to clap and leave the theatre was when the houselights are on".

Friday, 29 January 2010

Video Trailer

Here is our new If We Go On trailer.

We will be kicking off our UK spring tour at The Junction, Cambridge on Tuesday 2 February at 8pm. Other UK tour dates include:

3 February 2010, 8pm
Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell

5 February 2010, 8pm
British Dance Edition 2010
Birmingham Repertory Theatre

9 & 10 February 2010, 8pm
Nuffield Theatre Lancaster

24 February 2010, 7.30pm
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

3 March 2010, 8pm
Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

17 March 2010, 7.30pm
Curve, Leicester

19 March 2010, 7.30pm
Harrogate Theatre

We hope to see you there. Enjoy.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Janusz's Steps

Walked in with a suspicious step.

A "worrying step.

A "do not want to step in” step.

A “am not sure if I will fit in” step.

A “not sure what step to take” step.

A happy step.

A willing step.

A “willing for what” step.

There will be lots of steps…

I do not want to make the next step.

Maybe I do not want to step in at all.

Maybe I do not know how to step in.

Maybe I will step too far.

Maybe I already made a big step.

How will I know when is the last step?

More steps…

I make a step.

One step.

Second step.

Third step.

“I don’t know what it means” step.

“I don’t know will it mean anything” step.

“I simply don’t know” step.

Have you had enough of stepping the steps?

I continue to step the steps.

Stepping forwards.

Stepping backwards.

Stepping upwards.

Stepping downwards.

Stepping for a piss.

Stepping for a fag.

Stepping for a rant.

Stepping for a chat.

Stepping to the office.

Stepping up and down.

Fuck that stepping rhyme…

More steps are coming up…

Third week steps become clearer.

Is it still worth to step in further?

Do I step towards the right direction?

Is that step mean a step to me??

Step, step, step…

Ok, and one more step…

For once, make that one fucking meaningful step.

“Is it difficult to ask?” step.

“In no particular order” step.

A “Persistance” step.

A “Costa-Rican” step.

An “understudy” step.

A “calming presence” step.

A “crying baby” step.

A “City Road’ step.

A “Crookes” step.

A “Lower Walkley” step.

A “sex for pleasure” step.

A “Class 2 National Insurance” step.

A “draft schedule” step.

A “Darren Brown” step.

A “Protect and survive” step.

A “Rubiez” step.

Too many steps…

Few more steps… (patience)

Step, step, step…

Fuck the steps, fuck ‘em up!

Step up.

Step forward.

Keep stepping.

keep stepping..

keep stepping…

step alone

Step together

Yes, step together.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Lets Gather Together, Like We Used To

Alex is composing, scoring, attacking, questioning, managing and making sound.
Carly is dancing, signing, thinking, remaining mute.
PK is talking, shouting, breathing, reading, presenting out, pushing the action inwards.
Scott is playing, reading, talking, measuring time in pauses.
Janusz is copying, noting, notating, correcting, watching, refusing, stealing, reworking.
Aurora is floating, drawing, drawing breath and tending to her baby girl.
Henry is moving, often alone.

Patrycja's Thoughts, 9 September 2009

I'm pleasantly snowed under an overwhelming amount of text.

There are hundreds of paper sheets floating on the stage floor,

a massive pile of printed words on my stage desk,

dozens of wrinkled, half-ripped and stained pages waiting backstage...

I feel like a

WORD collector

WORD deliverer

WORD transmitter

WORD interpreter

WORD presenter

WORD consumer

WORD broadcaster

...some WORDS are more MINE than others...

The ACT of organizing all these words in the space, in my head, my mouth , in my memory, in a loop station, is an ongoing task. The DIFFICULTY of organizing them will be explicit throughout the performance too.

WORDS as a substance

WORDS as sonic value

WORDS as rhythmical value

WORDS as emotional value

Tangible WORDS

WORDS flying in a 'storm' scene

WORDS squashed under the pressure of the expectation of MEANING

WORDS chopped and divided to syllables, singular letters.

WORDS as a weapon against abstraction.

WORDS seasoned with a Polish accent.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Signs and Languages

Tomorrow we all stop for a week - offering some much needed head space. This week with Alex Carly and Janusz has been a good week for the work. A fog has lifted and we are working towards some kind of common understanding. The ground work that has been done is beginning to reap rewards and the work is gathering its own momentum. This is when I start to make connections, where people's journeys and languages start to fall slowly into place, where threads are picked up and sense is made of 'scenes' or functional actions. We are practical in the approach to making this work. What does the room need now? I am carrying a vast amount of stuff around in my head - connections between materials from May, July, August devising periods. We have talked a lot this week and it has been useful, non-egocentric talking - about the work and what it needs, what it means, what it offers us, where it may be going. All three performers are is working within a restricted palette of language - pushing one idea as far as it can go, amking, dismantling, reworking, reshaping, repeating, pushing it around. We end up with multiple versions of similar material, material that can be looped and repeated, but what is exciting is that we are now distilling down - making decisions about what works and what needs to be rejected and removed from the picture. I enjoy this process. Mining, digging, reforming, recalling, settling on one version that might be something. And we are rupturing the material- marking it, speeding it up, stealing from others, writing it, scoring it, reading it, omitting bits....shifting between languages, just like the flyer says we should be.

Thursday 27 August

Alex Writes, 26 August

If language is the key to cracking this, than surely we can find each other in the dark…?

If this sort of darkness is anything like fog, it will settle, leaving us were we started: the place we want to know for the first time again (wink T.S. Eliot)

Carly, Charlotte, Henry, PK, Val, Scott, Sam, Ruth, Wendy, Janusz and I…..six weeks later

42 days and 41 nights

Some of us don’t want to move

Some are reluctant to piece two movements together in fear of actual choreography arising from the ashes of afterthought….

I don’t think it’s about the movement or about the words or sound or about acting or about the lack of a set (so to speak) or about art in general…

We’re dealing with an internal strike; We want to pause. In the limelight. And unravel ourselves as you’ve never seen us before (outside a pub): just being here and trying things out, failing and getting up….because if you never fail you will never experience getting up.

We are trying to move the spectacle from what we do to how we do it and eventually to who we are.

Is that interesting?

The Arts Council seem to really hope so…

Darkness is settling…

Here we go

Buck naked (so to speak)

Stuttering from the heart for the first time on stage….enjoy us.

Enjoy us as we attempt to pause…

What we do, you’ve seen before

This is a total one off

So to speak

Sunday, 23 August 2009

More Sunday Questions, 23 August

How to place instruction at the centre of the work?
'I've got something I'd like to show you'
How to 'mine' the material.
'Just put your foot there.
There in the dark

Reluctance and refusals
Audiences are very quiet.

How to put a frame around events to introduce our intentions?
How to make an invitation to do something?
How to state the instruction?
'We're going to try something a bit different tonight, Ladies and Gentlemen.
When the lights come on I will dance for you. When they go off I will stop'.

Should every performer just have one action that is repeated and repeated and repeated with time measured and duration noted. Repetition in a changing context throws new light on the material - and includes the audience in the game of recognition and change.
How to avoid a jumble sale of ideas - limit the options?

When to stop?


These are not my words