So after last rehearsal, I was variously meant to watch all the video on Friday, but too busy with Melbourne stuff, then Saturday, but was alleviating incipient symptoms of a freakout by having Daniel pour half a bottle of Vodka into me (the word for missing out on Absinthe: disappointment), Sunday, but recovering from said alleviation through a prolonged stretch of doing nothing with Tara, Sandrine, Alex, Daniel, Alison and sundry others, Monday, but forgetting to bring in both video tape and “six-pin to four-pin FireWire cable for a DV camera”. So Tuesday when I only have an hour for lunch to do the requisite watching and editing, foiled by my often-mentioned In-Out-Error-corrupt-drive-Bad-Sector madness. Laptop equals frisbee.
It’s like an old person with Alzheimer’s, and you give them too much to think about … or a really bad ice-cream headache. My poor old laptop really doesn’t enjoy much more than simple lines of text these days, preferably not formatted either. Anyway do you really care about my excuses? No, neither do I. But sometimes this harried approach causes things to happen in much the same way as if I spent the previous four days picking and scraping at it with a small needle.
We are only using the first of three ten-minute improvisations that came from my nightmares and vivid dreams, and then maybe only a couple of minutes of bits and pieces, plane crashes, kissing and the white-headed monster, Japanese rope bondage. It was quite a lazy approach from me, read the dreams, improvise on their content while Throbbing Gristle blares, video, cut the good bits out, learn them, and then …
Occasionally in rehearsal, I manage to make myself really quite uncomfortable. I used to be, I suppose, wary of this, or would shy away from what I’d made. In blowup a short piece I made while still a student, there was what now I would consider very tame, lots of writhing and gyrating of girls in underwear to The Yardbirds. I was really concerned that perhaps I’d gone too far, and also that I was somehow opening up some lasciviousness within that would not be easy to account for.
In hell, the strangling, going so far as to see faces turn hideously red and eyes go black, I was so disturbed about what was within me that would want to imagine this, and make it, and ask others to participate in what, honestly when it comes down to it every piece of performance made in some way is your own personal fantasy.
Daniel and Tara … not so much kiss, but nuzzle each other’s heads, hair brushing over their face neck, arms and hands the skin also nestling sleepily into each other, Daniel’s fingers contort and search out Tara’s head, his mouth a toothy maw, she oblivious still fondling him, he is about to eat her brains. It’s like a midnight Hammer House of Horror demon movie, but also something personally disturbing for me, I’m not sure why. I like though that I can find things that make me cringe or recoil or upset me, and that I can stumble on them without knowing they are there.
I only have one properly usable rehearsal left, and I’m so far from having either something coherently finished, or – more importantly from a production opinion, less important for me – having suctioned it into an eight-minute vacuum-pack. I feel though that today’s rehearsal, concentrating solely on the Alptraum stuff was completely worth it, despite whatever anguish my lack of attention to schedules may later elicit. It feels now somewhat finished, that is to say, no more making, no more tiny scenes or ideas to play with, this is all and now the time is spent on stitching it together, what scrap or shard sits best next to what other, and how to arrange them all so there’s something there.
Slightly conceited to say it’s even somewhat finished. The Alptraum stuff need to be made to something not just disconnected blobs, the Rape of the Sabine Women hasn’t been exhumed for weeks, and I have a queasy premonition when it’s all done I’ll have something closer to twenty minutes than eight, no matter how much I plead, “Can you do it faster?”
But it feels like something now, I can recognise it. Also I think I may have managed to not reiterate all the tricks I’ve done before. It’s become what I imagined, even though I had no idea what that is. Or … it’s become something that the feeling of which is right, no gaps in the teeth, no clunks or moments of “eeeeew!”, though it still exists at that stage in my head and somehow I have to do an amazing contortion act tomorrow to get it there, and although it’s only meant to be a short work, and has variously appeared on two previous occasions, I’d somehow like to see it grow … hours of me me me.
I’m watching Tara and Danny, who have told me I have to dance to Britney, or mime her words, or something equally scary. It’s been almost two months here and somehow the performance season is dragged across most of October so there’s maybe another month to go, but I’m going to miss this strange little family.