Leo's Blog: Tour Notes # 2

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You Can Find Beauty Everywhere...
Reading is where, the company is resident at South Street Arts Centre run by the undercover super man: John Luther. Not to be confused with his nemesis: Lex.

You can find beauty everywhere, I said walking up a wide, boring road in reading. Carlao challenged me to prove it and I pointed up to a wild flower growing out the red brick work next to a street sign on the side of the road.

beauty in reading

I think I believe this. But reading puts the statement to the test. Oxford to reading. Like Hetson Blumental to ChickenBase. Both of which culinary delights are located within reading borough…one of which we ate at last night…


Masala fish and chips.  Attachment Vs Doubt. Truth Vs fiction

After the show people often come up to me, in the small room we perform in, and ask one of two questions, both referring to the same ambiguity. They either ask: “Were you drinking vodka through out the show?” Or: “How much of the stories you tell are truth and how much is fiction?” They then proceed to tell me which bits made them think that maybe it wasn’t all true and what their emotional response to this sense of doubt was.

I want people to find it hard to define what they are watching. Is it a piece of theatre or a man telling them tales of his life in a front room, like a late night sofa chat? I attempt in the performance to hold back all theatrical aesthetics for as long as possible and then seep them into the performance so that the gradual build almost goes unnoticed, the final section being overtly theatrical with embodied characterization, lighting, sound effects and abstraction. I feel that this exploration of truth and fiction, of documentary theatre vs constructed dramaturgy, of script vs improvised conversation with audience, of persona lead performance and embodied characterization points to the core of my philosophical interest within the show and current performance preoccupations. I am inspired by that which cannot be defined so easily, that which is allowed to be free to not be boxed in by rules and regulations, that which makes its own rules and inspires by showing the growth present within doubt.

Again someone told me of a Buddhist teacher who once said the only true belief must be Agnosticism: you can never know for sure.

This statement rings very true in relation to It’s Like He’s Knocking which is about ancestors, about letting go and letting be, about construction, destruction and reconstruction of the past and present.

“But actually I am quite an annihilator. Again and again I want to build up something new and surprise myself. Nothing is certain, is it? And what makes sense to some, makes no sense to others. Only the uncertainty and the fear to lose things is primary for everybody. That is in everybody’s nature. That shackles him to his emotions, as soon as there are things he cannot say goodbye to. There always is a moment when you start to become attached.”

This quote by a great Belgium dance theatre maker: Wim Vanderkeybus, also defines what I have subconsciously challenged myself with through making this show. A performance that demands intense authentic contact with the audience and an attempt at a gentle and honest sharing of space. As a performer I am hoping to relate, to create a shared sense of understanding between myself and the audience, I hope that they ‘get it’, they enjoy it and they celebrate what I believe to be universal themes. But I have placed the audience a metre from me and in doing this I become acutely aware of their reactions. I read their faces, their body language and from this, gauge how well I am communicating. Part of me hopes that as the tour goes on I become more confident and settled within the work, less concerned with how each individual relates to the work but another part of me recognizes that this anxiety, this wish to relate, creates a sense of attachment. Attachment to the audiences response and it is within this intensified struggle with attachment and letting go, allowing doubt to be ok, that the metaphor/theme of the show is once again played out.

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