Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Preparing a performance

I have been working on a ("site-specific") durational performance.

It's about intimacy in times of distance, political, social, personal distance. It's about the possibility (?) of revealing and getting closer. The images you see are the "prototype" of the main structure.

Two things have surfaced during the preparation:
1) For a while we flirted with the idea of using fragments of (Sophocles' or Anouilh's) Antigone. It all seemed to fit: the tension between the private and the public, the drama of wanting to respect your private world/values, the overwhelming role of (social/state) structures in personal life, and even the isolation of a "cave" where the intimacy is "consumed" (burns out). But then, it didn't fit at all. The tragedies bring an incredible burden: they have a story to tell, which is an ancient story, not quite corresponding to the things happening around us. Of course, we can say, as is usually said (also about e.g. Shakespeare) that the whole world is there already. But this is exactly the problem! I don't want the whole world, not that world. I would have to choose and either a) destroy the tragedy by "manipulating" it to my needs, taking away everything that makes it the tragedy I admire, or b) listen to the tragedy and lose my play. I tried for some time to find the right balance. Then I let go - and feel relieved. "This tail does not belong to this cat", my Dad used to say. How does it ever?
2) I'm discovering to my surprize I have been developing more and more work in "non-traditional" theatre spaces. Now, this wouldn't be worrying, if it were the road I had opted to take. The problem is, I have never really liked this sort of work as a spectator. I never gave it much credit. And here, suddenly, I find myself digging in the same site-specific dirt I found so unthrilling.

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