Libby said, “You’re panicking. Deal with it”. I said, “Oh I need to write that down”, it would go well with Gala’s “Shift the blame darl”. I didn’t, so I probably misquoted her.
An half hour is not enough for me to feel comfortable, even though the previous rehearsal we miraculously pulled the whole thing together … or maybe it was already there, and we just got on the right train … something happened and it happened. But on this Wednesday, there felt for me as if I was hounded, beaten faster with rattan and not just to a beginning and end and everything in-between in some semblance of complete but to – gods of horrors – show it to all the production crew.
The previous rehearsal – that would be day 15 I think, I’ve lost track a bit – we had found all the ins and outs, and while scratchy had made it through, it was there and we knew it and best of all, it worked. It was sad to lose Paea’s ‘frisking and saying it’s ok’ scene, Xuan saying, “This is how I like to be touched”, and all that followed, but it is too long a moment for what is obliged to be a short performance. Gone, then. Though along with all the deceased parts, it remains all through my notes. It’ll turn up somewhere again.
Gala came in and watched, though missed ‘rape fantasy’, ‘tampon story’, and ‘my first kiss’. Of everyone who isn’t us five, she is the only person I feel comfortable having watch this piece. She should be in it, and originally I conceived the piece as a duo with her and Daniel, then saw it expand to include somehow everyone who is in it, then rehearsal schedules failed us. It feels odd that she isn’t in this, the first piece in three years of mine that hasn’t included her.
It’s nice for me to have someone around who knows me and my work well enough to know and say if I’m … I suppose to say, not being honest. If I imagine my ideal horde of miscreant freebooters, sailing up the Danube and terrorising the populaces of every theatre we pass, she is always there. (Yes, I know you’re reading this).
So we come to the next day and back to me panicking.
I’m usually absurdly calm when it gets to the point of bedlam, and attribute this to having made three works in China, where rewiring the grid by hand a couple of hours before opening and engaging in insane motorcycle taxi rides across town to find homemade extension cords is normal and reassuring. I get so far beyond stressed in such situations, I actually enjoy it.
So here am I saying to Carol, “No, you can’t film it,” (why?) “Because I say you can’t”, (that’s not a good reason) “AAAAA!!! Ok! Because I don’t know if it’s even capable of being filmed yet!” In part it was a certain exasperation at needing another half-hour to just get it’s legs sewn on, but mostly it was apprehension, fear.
To make work at one step removed from myself, however personal it ultimately might be engenders a certain distinct nervousness when it’s seen outside our private little world where we have made it. To make a work that is entirely inextricable from me, that was so often embarrassing and hideously personal in our hours of rehearsal, to have this seen and knowing there’s no other way to read it than autobiographical is excruciating and exhausting. I had no idea the miasma I’d been snared in all day was solely this anxiety of having it seen, and in such rushed preparation, until it was over and I was sitting there utterly stunned at what Daniel, Paea, Tara and Xuan had done.
“It was beautiful and I can’t say any more”.