So, first rehearsal today. Joumana wants me to be beautiful, or at least to stand up straight and not be angst-ridden and overly dramatic! It was slightly a shock, yet an interesting challenge. So I put on my corps de ballet face and she looked a bit happier. Then she had me eating lots of peanuts whilst I danced, which apparently helped my jaw relax. I felt like Eliza Dolittle.
New people, new studios, I thought, as I walked into the O2 centre today. Love it. Robert was there. Smashing bloke. All swoosh and verve. And then Shanti, the costume designer came in to measure me and I spent the afternoon in a crinoline asking Robert at one point, ‘does my bum look big in this!?’
Its tricky because I feel entirely unable to give up the secrets of the present. Everyone else has. And it’s been something that has lead to big steps forward for the work. But I cannot and could not. And so this is the point of tension that we are working with just now. I told Joumana I felt awful about it, because I always want to be able to give everything. And yet I just cannot say these things. They are too much to let out into the air. They are the reason I often sob myself to sleep and wake up feeling sick. I simply could not say them.
Still I hope that I can say a great deal else in the show and talk of other people’s secret which are fascinating, funny and tragic in equal measure.
Anyway, ten days and counting and tomorrow we all meet for lunchtime on our day of rest – no rest. Can’t wait!
The whole cast should be together soon. There are just ten days to go and it’s the first day I have really been here due to another project I was working on. Joumana and I have met up a lot though. Our conversations have so excited me, they’ve sometimes made my feet go fizzy. Now Joumana is concentrating on connections and structure. And I cannot wait to get going again tomorrow. Quite a day. Met almost all the other dancers. Helena was not there, but she messaged me to ask if I wanted anything brought from Paris. And I replied, ‘just a Frenchman please,’ though I had to settle for a bottle of white wine in the end.
I went to Pina Bausch tonight. It was simply extraordinary. So pure, so chiming in its joy. So searching, so unafraid, it shows all that is possible. As everyone left the theatre, streaming up the road, chattering high and happy like birds, I thought to myself – she’s illuminated our world tonight. Somehow she illuminates everything. And she slightly changes my life. Her ability to distill… I liked the line after a woman put down a chair – as she stalked off, she said ‘even ghosts need to sit down.’ And then Dominique, an older dancer standing centre stage, helplessly trying to reach out for a woman standing opposite him and missing and missing, and a younger man coming up behind her and biting her hair to pull her away and then gently biting her apricot silk dress and pulling and lulling her away from this man left standing there still, all stuck in time and loss.
Tomorrow turned out to be quite exciting. And Joumana’s fearlessness and flexibility came flying to the fore, as the dramaturg blew the present out of the piece apart. And it was quite wonderful really. I said ‘Don’t worry guys – we’ve got ages,” and they looked at me. Because actually we have ten days. I gushed something about time not being linear but made up of moments – and today we were faced with a myriad of new awarenesses… and moments. And not all of them easy!
I had to leave an hour early and I wondered what happened for the rest of the day. It was like Everest had suddenly exploded, and now it was time to make a new and much better mountain. I might be slightly exaggerating. But I don’t think so. What I loved was that it was agreed that we would re think and reconfigure to make a piece about what secrets was really truly all about. Because its really such a fascinating subject and Joumana understands it so passionately. Yet we we had understood that this was not really coming through.
I am hardly in it. That could be because my first full day was yesterday and I have missed a month of rehearsals. I am meant to be on the edge, but when we ran, I got quite embarrassed because I was just so on the edge and also doing deeply nothing! So we tried some things. Some things that worked, and some that didn’t. But we found new stuff and let ourselves lose bits and it was good.
I’ve never actually been in a piece with so much dancing in. Which sounds mad, but this is such a different genre to what am used to. I find myself bemused by the sheer volume of physicality of the dancers. I on the other hand am inhabiting the physicality of a mollusc in this piece. Which is fine by me, because I am not really in the mood for dancing right now. I am however being pushed really hard, and its great.
Today is a new day with new thoughts and new possibilities and I am not wearing any knickers. I’ve just remembered that Shanti is coming in for a costume fitting. oh dear.
I am also four hours early for rehearsal, which was better than being four minutes late which I actually was until reception explained we were not starting till 2pm. So I am happy here in the red cafe at Rich Mix drinking a red Coke and eating a red black Mars bar with my red z body of blood and my head and heart full of hope. There is much to do. And learning my lines it seems might be a good start.
A thought has crossed my mind. When I was leaving rehearsal yesterday, I stepped onto a weighing scales by reception. A rare thing. I noted that I weigh 20 kilograms more than 20 years ago when I considered myself to be very overweight. Only now I actually am, I couldn’t seem to care less. Funny that. Yet I wonder about the weight gain. Could it be the things I put into the hole on the front of my head? I’m going to think about it while I get another Coke.
Happy day to you. It’s Tuesday, the day of grace. I always remember that, mostly because I was born on Tuesday and I inhabit a graceful artform, even though I tend to bump into things alot.
Favourite moment of yesterday.: Alice, suddenly falling to the floor to run on her side lying down. Which looked amazing till she showed us her hip, for which no plaster was big enough to cover…
I wonder how it is today.