Well its been an amazing week creatively and professionally, of course in my life these things go hand in hand.
Yesterday (Tuesday in Australia) was an amazing discovery of effective process for creative development - working with Tara Heard, Ross Barber and Tracey Kaye, all Australian artists, the gals OZFRANK performers and Ross, well established visual artist. We began the physical exploration of THE ROPE, Ross' response to a poem by Baudillaire, regarding the suicide death of Manet's 11 year old assistant Alexandre. Ross' reponse is in the voice of Alexandre's mother and is a riveting piece about culture, class, suicide, child sex and infatuation. Training was sensational, Ive learned you must work with professional performers who all 'speak' the same physical language. Watching back the footage last night, I am totally impressed and shouting from the rafters that the FSAK Actor Training Method, a development of the Suzuki Method of Actor Training, is THE only holistic method for developing theatre-based performers. If only I could post video here.... A very big thankyou to QPAC for the use of Merrivale St Studio, and for J&J for organising it for us.
Further to the great experience yesterday was the work in progress showing for performing detention. Again, really well received by the public, two exciting experiments unleashed (interrogation room and the confinement cell) and its potentials for performative delivery. Think in lines of good cop bad cop, I learned how easily people are compliant when authority is asserted. I learned that when given an opportunity most people would talk rather than write. I observed my internal impulses of exuding empathy and sympathy, and the 3 days of debrief after, enabled me to be clear about the difference of those two things - thanks to ex-pat Loretta for this one.
What became clear is that the design of prisons, or any urban environment for that matter, is key to the experience of its users. I learned that a person who is an engineer for prison construction in Australia, spent three years as a Refugee in Deutschland and whose family, of Polish descent, lost members in the Holocaust. I glimpsed how easy it is to enjoy the roll of Detainer and this authoritarian roll is my next research goal for intensive 2 - next week at Metro Arts.
In speaking with writer Michael Gurr, he offered that you must decide on the time when research ends, as it can by its very nature, be endless. He also recommended the Safety Net team - an artist/mentor + a person who is most definately not an artist, and who is distanced enough from you personally to ask straight up questions. I have now formed my team. The other piece of info that was vital to my practice, and the content I work in, was the reset ritual - to avoid the depression that follows 6months of nothing but intense immersion in genocide, war, violence, sadness et al.
My final thought for the day will be from one very clever and respected lady working in the Australian Prison Research & Performance studies, Linda Davey, who reminded me: "Alicia, you are the Artist. You are not the therapist, the counsellor, the trauma specialist. Your job is to make the art. Just do that."
And so I will do that just.