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Leo's blog: Tour Notes # 4

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The Masculine and the feminine hidden within our action.

On the first day that we arrived in Brighton to perform at The Nightingale we headed to the beach for fish n chips. The portions were an exaggeration. An exaggeration of chips and of the batter surrounding the fish. We decided to share our feast with the seagulls. What we then saw was a clear hierarchy of dominance. Male dominance. One male dominated the group. He would fight any bird, male or female that stood between him and the lions share of the food. We had to work fast and with cunning to get food to the masses behind the back of this tyrant. His sense of righteousness justified his aggression and was in stark contrast to the needs of the group.

Over the last few weeks we have performed in massively contrasting spaces and been hosted by a variety of very different organizations. From a 40x40m warehouse, to a 2.5 x9 m stock room, above a pub and in a dressing room back stage at a regional theatre. Hosted by amongst others a free unfunded, profit share art collective, a repertory theatre and a nationally funded multi million pound institution. This tour is constantly demanding acceptance and accommodation. This is what we have invited upon ourselves and is the greatest adventure and challenge of the tour.

Within the interview for a study opportunity, a couple of years ago, the interviewer confronted me with a series of provocations. She said: “I can see from your CV and what you say, that you have created and been involved with many projects, you have an incredibly broad and varied track record. But what have you actually chosen to do, what is your vision? What have you demanded beyond anything, been unwilling to compromise on? What will you bring to this course that is different from any other creative.

It became apparent that creative strategy and vision making were fundamental requirements for entrance on the course. They wanted to be confident that I had high ambitions and clear vision of where I wanted those ambitions to take me. Yet, I was hoping that the course would help me to focus my vision. Though I know where I want to go I also have a tendency towards acceptance of what is being offered to me in an attempt to make this function and satisfy my needs. I want to work with the possibilities latent within the elements that are present in the moment. Be this a group of young artists who have raw talent and potential, a new performance environment for an already created piece or an improvised performance structure shared with a new audience.

I have recently started thinking about what are considered to be essential artistic attributes and how the masculine energy that is in control and effecting our world so strongly may also effect the relationship we have with creativity. The idea that you must thrust yourself forward and that your individual needs or vision is justification for any action. It seems to me that the continued depletion of the worlds resources is justified by placing human needs and desires at the centre of existence and In the most extreme of visions there seems a lack of concern for the damage or effect that these creative actions may have on other humans, animals or the environment.

Coming close to the end of the tour now I think the whole experience has been a test in acceptance. Amongst other things, acceptance of a lack of support for over ambitious performance environments, challenging space for intimate performance and seemingly inappropriate atmosphere for the creation of the performance. By embracing the specific parameters of each individual performance context we have released creative potential and continued to explore both the content and form of the performance. It feels empowering to work with what is given to you. I believe this is a feminine drive. Not that it is female, but that it is using the feminine energy innate within all of us. The energy connected with growth and nurturing of what is, in an attempt to create what can be; as opposed to the masculine energy of thrusting forward and demanding and conquering to create.

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