I started back in the studio this week on two distinct projects. The first is a solo work directed by Bagryana Popov and the second is a project called Recovery that I have been asked to direct. The project was initiated by Shannnon Bott and Natalie Cursio, and includes sound and image by Pete Brundle, and light by Ben Cobham (Bluebottle). You can track some of Recovery’s development at http://recovery.posterous.com.
Bagryana and I have worked together for many years now so the relationship in the studio is relaxed but very focused. Her interests are in experiences of displacement — geographical, psychological, sociological — and her background in theatre and music seems to add to the sense that she is grappling in a very determined way with the conditions for meaning in performance.
In our first session on Tuesday she brought a lot of materials to the ‘table’ — writing, video, conversations, reflections — and it was very clear that her preparation for our (limited) time together was intensely rigorous. But, what Bagryana never loses, regardless of this preparation, is her sensitivity to what is going on in the space. She has the ability to let go of all of her preparation and thinking if the action and conditions of the rehearsal space appear tangential to her ‘desires’. There is an openness in her approach that seems to facilitate the possibility of threads of meaning being generated between the ‘state’ of the room, and her interests as a performance maker. Time and time again I sense her allowing my work (as performer) to depart from her ideas, and in doing so, new imaginings of the materials are manifest.
This was particularly evident pretty much this entire week because my sense of being displaced — through jet lag, homesickness, and a severe case of what-the-fuck-ness? — meant I was struggling to be as sharp as I would like to be. And yet, Bagryana was able to enfold these personal conditions of mine into her planning. Always adapting, always negotiating, always being ready to sensitively include the various micro and macro states of the room.
It was inspiring stuff, even as I struggled to keep my eyes open.
There are some materials here: conversationswiththedead.tumblr.com