the second act

Already almost 1am and still long before I find sleep. Today was another long one, with a running of the second act to finish. (Cleaning ropes and talking meant leaving happened around 19h – daylight is largely absent from our lives.)

The morning was spent working things out again. More suspensions. I’ve reverted to the side suspension because I can move better in it, and the multiple ropes – takatekote, hip, knee and foot give me much more to push off from, to twist and writhe in.

I fall asleep watching Dr Who.)


I am in no way doing justice to the rehearsal process in writing here; there’s simply too much going on and so much to think about, talk over, and watch, and that’s just as an audience of the rehearsal. The actual physical rehearsal has all that again. Maybe to say that in the two and an half weeks we’ve been rehearsing, we’ve done more with Shibari than in the last year. Not to belittle the last year, that too has been a subtly intense process also, it’s just an application of all that and then going further with it in a compressed time period.

Last night talking with Dasniya, we both agreed what we have done so far has reached a good point. It’s solid, coherent, starting to feel right … but to go further, to take this in both hands and to somehow twist and fold and rotate it on itself, to go further, a qualitative difference is now what we’re looking for.

She bought Dreyfus’ Wagner and the Erotic Impulse, and we’ve been talking about this, the sensuality and perversity in both Wagner and his characters, Parsifal, Kundry, Klingsor, the leitmotifs in the libretto and how they might be used to create some change.

Yesterday afternoon’s run felt the best so far. The morning of going up and down, talking and trying mostly carried through, though for Jorgos, everyone wants something from him and he was running around like a delivery boy immediately before as everyone dumped last-second instructions on him. For a scene that is bedded on a neutrality and even pace, it gets quite hectic for him.

We added the magic and brilliant idea of a layer of fabric taped to our skin on the pressure points, in my case left hip where the skin was getting mangled. Yes, Shibari is about pain, but you can’t do pain if your skin comes off with the ropes. A little under beneath and hanging pleasure was resumed.

Another discovery while watching Gala was the toes. This is going back to Butoh for me, the counter-flexing and extending of digits, not pointing, sickling and grotesquery. As I found when I played with this, it makes moving in the ropes much easier, as if starting from the toes and fingers somehow makes me slippery.

The Blumen Mädchens were there also, and uuuhhhh!!!! when they started to sing the room rang and vibrated, it was quite overwhelming, beautiful and somehow also barbaric; you could destroy worlds with such a force. And Anna … I have this memory of her, from side stage as I was raking myself of ropes, head back slightly, mouth wide like the snake she had in hand when it would devour whole something much bigger than its head, letting out this blast. I’m not sure it even came from within her, more like it came through her.

Oh, but snakes! Today the snakes arrived for rehearsal, being the sneaky eavesdropper I am, I overheard that 14h would be the time, and oh are they beautiful. Yellow and white, with red eyes, and that completely unanthropomorphic intelligence, tongue flickering tasting the air, I could have spent the whole day with them. Of course the whole time I was thinking of Daniel and how much he’d love these beautiful ones. He said in Malaysia they believe if you touch one from head to tail it will bring luck for a year.

Photos! (There’s a lot more I really like but trying to balance maintaining the mystery with documenting.)