Dasniya and I have been talking for some time about performing together, mostly between either ideas for works I’m thinking of, or the same from her. The thoughts and talks also come to those of smaller Shibari performances, and in London – and here in Berlin last night – we had out debut. This is more some words and thoughts on us rehearsing together, where it came from.
Goats. Sheep. Baaaaaa!!!
Yes, my fondness for the horned ones, the cloven hoofed is well-known, both from satanical theatrics and because they are quite beautiful animals. Dasniya and I have has an on-going relationship between a sheep and a goat for some weeks now, a play of characters that maybe also demonstrate aspects of how we interact with each other.
Playing with ropes. We began one evening after her regular Wednesday Rope Techniques workshop in Kreuzberg, and finished that night well past the witching hour. She had bought a sheepskin rug for me and another for herself, along with a vast and opulent stage kimono, and much rope. We’d been talking about inverted suspensions, for me the idea of being suspended firstly by the feet and then working up the body instead of the standard chest harness and then working down was a fascination.
Much playing with roles, human and non-human, much rope, silliness that was also serious. It’s odd to write of this compared to say writing of a rehearsal for a dance performance, as this kind of rehearsal play has some quite personal and sensitive undertones. Is it writing too close? Or is this just a new stage in my writing on performing and making performance?
We returned to these initial ideas over the coming rehearsals, with various degrees of success, and during this something began to make itself known. Most of the photos are of this second rehearsal, a more technical one, how does the suspension work, what is possible, how long can I endure it for? (Around 12 minutes the first time, now wrapped in kimono and sheepskin and familiar with it, longer is not uncommon.)
Sound never found itself until just before performing, though talks led to using a string quartet and the beautiful Element of Crime, so suited for Berlin. The last rehearsal took us till 3am, beautiful to be working so late, something of the darkness I remember from pestilence. What else to say? I’m not sure. It felt so unfinished and vague even on the morning of the performance.
In London, rising as early as we could on a Sunday in the studio beneath the railway lines, finding calm amidst others and arrivals. We tried the whole thing basing ourselves on what had come out of talking as much any clear corporeal idea. Somehow it felt ok, still vague, but at least an idea and a clarity on technical points. Later that night, we performed. The room broke into cheers and noise when Dasniya finally began her upsidedown flight and after, that unique European stomping applause, clapping in unison, like hammering. Still for me having no idea what it looks like.