Thoughts on Not Sucking

In a couple of weeks I, along with my collaborators Katie, Susan, Stefanie and Stephanie, will be presenting The Chemistry of Lime Trees as my thesis concert for my MFA in Dance from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. As I've noted elsewhere, this performance consists of two separate, but related works exploring how borders, real or imagined/personal or political, effect our lives. The first half of the evening is a duet with Katie based upon an oral history about a young Russian woman who is left at Ellis Island by her fiance. The second half is a trio for myself, Susan and Stephanie based upon a couple from Sarajevo (he Orthodox Christian, she Muslim) negotiating and living during the Bosnian War of the early 1990s. Both these works deal very specifically with character, plot and storytelling. This level of theatricality along with actual 'acting' is new to my work. In the past I have always dismissed the idea of "pretending" and wanted a "real" physical experience - we, the performers, were always ourselves in the moment. In this work we are definitely portraying other people - in both works, real people.

Because this type of work (theater) is new to me I certainly have a good dose of nervousness about it, as well as questions. Does the story come across? Are our characters believable? Are we pushing it too far, or not enough (the 'sex' scene, for example)? Can I push myself emotionally to the edge I need to get to? Can I help the other performers get there? Can they help me? Will the audience find this engaging, funny, terrifying, sad? Because the work is so different for me I go back and forth on how to judge the work (though that is probably clear by now). How do I make it better? What does 'better' even mean?

And, of course, the big, overarching question is simply, "Does it suck?". Of course, I don't think it does, but then...does it? I guess this is the question, problem or challenge that we all face when we do something - at least something that challenges our normal processes and products. And, I think, this is what we should be doing with most, if not every, project we take on - challenge our norm, push our process, dare to suck!

The show goes up July 15 & 16 here in Milwaukee, then again November 19 in Reston, VA.

Come and let me know if it sucks or not.....

No comments:

Post a Comment