The rehearsal processes using super geographic technology. I can sum it up in one sentence. “Its awful- avoid at all costs..." But one must find a way of discovering positive within a negative.
Since June ITW has been in pre-production mode for our next new work, Panic. Everything’s Fine. The Block Island residency will be in October with performances in November. Over the four months leading up to this residency (the 3rd in ITW’s history) the team has been rehearsing two to three times a week in New York City. We have been training as a company, researching, writing and building a working script to use as a foundation for October.
Four out of the five actors working on this play are currently in New York, one however, is currently in London and unfortunately that actor is myself. It has been a challenging four months. It was unavoidable and subsequently has reaffirmed how much I want to work with this wonderfully diverse and talented group.
Last year all of the collaborators skyped into the company’s monthly meetings from Australia, Sweden, Boston, New York and the west coast. The main hurdles were time zone differences and poor internet connections, however we were all in the same boat, actively reaching out for one another. It was a unifying experience knowing we still could connect and create with oceans between us.
Being dependent on technology is never going to be a good thing. The internet is a hurdle that unfortunately can’t be changed with positive attitudes. There were days when it was perfect, it never cut out and when the rehearsal finished I felt really positive about the work we had achieved. Then there were days when the connection was so bad, that at the end of the day I felt lost, after only getting every third word of every sentence and frozen faces mid gesture, “ A container…. the catastrophe… no she… the zucchini… in her month.” and with my main input to this rehearsal being: “What?” “please repeat” “I didn’t get that last bit” , “please over articulate”
The training side of things…
The ITW rehearsal process always starts by coming together and centering ourselves by collaborative training.
Surprisingly, training in the Suzuki method was really enjoyable and being super geographic wasn’t that much of a hindrance. I think it worked well because the practise itself is extremely focused and grounding and outside influences aren’t vital to the practise.
I found training in the Viewpoints Technique was the opposite. Being super geographic for this practise was very changeling. Some days I was able to grow from that challenge and some days not so much.
It has led me to examine the bias in my physicality and what tools I naturally fall back on when I felt disconnected to the group. These experiences reaffirmed for me how strong a technique Viewpoints is for connecting with the space and people you are working with.
At the beginning of the pre-production we were mainly working in round table discussions and writing, which worked relatively well, as we moved forward it became more challenging when we needed to get up on our feet and create physical movement scores. We gave each other tasks to create and perform self devised scores, which worked wonderfully. As I could record the movements and send them as well as perform them live on webcam.
When we started building movement scores as an ensemble it was very limiting. When a group comes together to work it creates a new energy, a dynamic, this energy grows and fuels the collaborative process, it is an incredible feeling. It is infectious, it fosters strong art. For the first time instead of being in it I found myself a voyeur to it.
The biggest and most important challenge in the ‘super geographic’ rehearsal process was finding the most efficient way of reconnecting, plugging back in, after ‘falling off the horse.’ I would get very frustrated and anxious thinking of the work I was missing, all the beautiful little things that were happening outside of the little screen I couldn’t see, I would feel like I couldn’t give all I wanted to give at that moment. At times I would worry about how I was being perceived, if what I wanted to convey was coming across clearly, if my voice could be heard as equally in the work we were creating, so many little things that build up. Until you release, chose to let them go and try again.
I have been brought up with “all or nothing” sayings and “if tis not 100% its not enough” attitudes which permeate a lot of my actions. I don’t feel this way of rehearsing allows for “all” of an artist, at least not this artist. I don’t feel I have got close to “100%” and because of this I am now thinking of that next word “enough”
What and when is that?
Of course I wish I was in the room, of course I know it would of been very different had I of been, but I wasn’t and that’s that. We all as a group worked really hard, together, to make the best out of every hurdle. Caitlin carried me around while performing viewpoints so I could see what she was seeing, Juan improvised with me on a screen and we created shapes and lines together, I got to sing happy birthday to Dante with the group, I was in Kristian’s home and Jonathan taught me how to find and send google hangout links. I am closer to each and every person than I was in June, I care about them and am excited to be with working (in the flesh) with them. It was enough and there is more to come.