Week 8 August 8 - 12
This week, I pronounced things wrong, wrote a poem, played with my left hand, wrote a play with props from kalabasharts.com and rainbowkimono.com, and Sean Francis stepped on things!
The process message from this week from the ether/god/universe/allseeinggifterofnews to me was....
Every performances begins at its initial conceptualization. The plot contains all the brainstorming, questioning, decision making, divergence from and stickiness to the plan. Then, it's all reactions, dialogue, buzzing feelings, blog posting, and remembrance of. It carries on until it fades like sound in the distance. If we are to look at all the directions a title can move, in the same way there are all the directions a point in space and time can appear. Every trajectory we can imagine exists. Just like a baby, the creator does not know the ultimate outcome of what they have made. Infinity outcome means infinity repetition. Infinity infinity infinity...
Monday August 8th
Title: “That’s not how you say it”
Instructions: Pronounce words wrong.
Why? It’s fun. It’s entertaining. Commentary on the sound of language.
Rehearsal discoveries: Coming up with a way to present this as a performance led me to print out a list of words I wanted to pronounce incorrectly. Nancy Ross said I should get someone to “reveal” the real word after, so since I didn’t want to ask anyone for help, I transformed that into the white board reveal. The order of stating incorrectly then revealing works well as a format for entertainment.
I also tried pronouncing some of the words from the list incorrectly to make sure I could swing it.
Performance write up: Surprisingly, coming up with incorrect pronunciation on the spot proved challenging while attempting to maintain some conversational style character. There were a few blank, thinking moments. I didn’t have much of a plan. I thought only that I would say “Here are some of my favorite words,” then just make statements. After the first couple words, I started developing some connectivity between the words and their relationships and leading myself into the direction of being a storyteller. The colorful dress I was wearing, courtesy of Fancy Nancy, played into shaping and energizing my stage personality. We know this about clothes. We know this.
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Tuesday August 9th
Title: “OMG I CAN CROSS MY OWN BOUNDARIES?”
Instructions: Write a poem to read aloud. Play “w” shapes on guitar to accompany.
Why? Wrote the title words upon inner realization of the question.
Rehearsal discoveries: Poem first? Guitar first? Variations? Yes.
Performance write up: First time I read any prewritten text beyond a title-inspired phrase. It’s such a different realm, performing and reciting vs improvising. Improvisation and impulse have defined so many of these performances so far, so doing one with such clear guidelines yet plenty of room for anything and everything was a comfortable amount of liberation and guidance.
A lot of improvisers and creatives know this about creativity: limitations/rules can allow for a guided flow state. Sometimes, guided flow states get there faster than ‘anything and everything’ attempts at flow. I guess that was the case here. I guess it also gave me some feelings of confinement. I do believe all these methods for inducing creativity are more successful when the mind is prepared and intention is set by the creative making use of such tools.
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Wednesday August 10th
Title: Left Hand
Why? Conceptualizing a part of the body as a stage prop. Exploring the concept of my non-dominant hand.
Rehearsal discoveries: Hands really are interesting. I figured sitting on the floor was a good starting place. Giving the hands something to walk on and with which to play.
Performance write up: It was a nice surprise that no one came to this one. It definitely influences the stakes and the elements of playfulness. When people come, as we have seen, the show can change in ways unexpected and often set into motion by the notion of stakes and entertainment. When people don't come, it sends me right back to the existential remembrance that we are the universe witnessing itself: essentially the theme of the week as stated above.
Thursday August 11th
Title: “Under the Spell Endure the Wanting”
Instructions: Write a weird play involving the rock creature from kalabash and the stone face
Why: I had a vocal concept piece I think in 2012 that involved singing this phrase. I liked the phrase. I figured, make something else out of it. I had no idea what it would become.
Rehearsal discoveries: Writing a play in a day is something you do a bit of forcing to get out. I tried to imagine a basic plot. I started with the phrase, "There have not been stones in a circle since the day of independence," as a brainstormed combination of Natasha Kozaily's piece "still a stone dancing in a circle" she performed on July 4th and the stone characters I was gifted by her Kalabash School of Music and the Arts (kalabasharts.com). It became the plot's conception. I utilized the transformative fringe face glasses made by April of Rainbow kimono for the Sol character. What was so exciting about this piece and its length is the way it hid my face and allowed me to speak without the audience seeing my mouth move and to play the stylophone without even really showing the instrument. rainbowkimono.com
I love existing in the vague, where many impressions of ideas can be made fluid, but still take form. I did not get to rehearse the play really. I wrote it up until the hour before, printed it out, color coded the paper to make it easier to follow, and figured out a placement for the characters within the last 10min before 10am. It was quite an exhilarating rush.
Performance write up: I am so happy with how this turned out. However, there was a moment where, in the play I had written, there was supposed to be a musical interlude. I skipped it because I did not have a good line of sight to the clock, and I was worried I would run out of time. Turns out I had a little chunky bit of extra time that would have probably been about the same excess chunk as inserting the interlude. Because of the chunk, I ended up performing 1 variation on the initial melodic concept, then having just the right amount of time to sing the original melody at the end.
The philosophy and themes for this piece were rooted in points of my own psychological experience as well as other performances that have happened at tenam. The concept of "wantedness" came back from earlier weeks as well as There was a point in writing the play where I found out how I personally related to the themes. It was right around the notion of "acid" burning away at the bond between the rocks and Sol. that I found out it was about me while writing it. That's not a good description at all, but at the time, I was pretty fried. I'm pretty fried right now typing this out on the Tuesday after.
Anywho, I'm really stoked on this one, and definitely hope you check it out!
Friday August 12th
Title: “Stepping Piece”
Sean Francis Conway Fridays!
Sean set up a collection of stepping instruments to include his iconic balloon bassoons, a bag of plastic bottle caps, metal pipes, and a cymbal. He also held a bell, something I'm not sure of, and strapped a bell to his body. These devices made sound when shifted around by his stepping movement. Two red lights triggered by sewing machine pedals lit up as he stepped across the many steps he set forth for himself. And boy, did he step. See for yourself