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Tuesday 27th October 2015:

We talked about words as ghosts, as imprints, as pathways to weave.

Jane asked whether the ghostly trail is a continual trail. Where is it leading us?

Today things began to connect across the disciplines, in fragments, but there nonetheless and we felt it after weaving in and out of words and movement in the making space.

Words of course also get rejected, re-thought, scribbled out, don’t make sense when they live in a heightened state, written out of instinct out of despair, out of a want to explore this subject matter. I wonder then whether words do justice. Whether, as Masha Gessen’s book about Pussy Riot suggests, that “words can break cement”. This can get stuck in an internal and intellectual frame, as well as being ‘active’ in the world as a form of protest. It is definitely active in relationship to Pussy Riot.

What do I know? I keep asking myself this.

It’s what I feel here that is a driver, and we’ve established that there is more darkness than there is lightness, but today what we started to hear was beauty, and a fragility in the words that made sense.

Jane asked: Who are the words for? On hearing some of the sequences we explored yesterday. It opened up something about how the text is heard and read and accessed by an audience. It made us look even more closely at what was their function and what was the feeling that they were coming out of.

There is too much feeling between us.

It is tricky when a writer hands over some words. What is the expectation then in a collaborative devising context like this one?

We weave. We seek. We find. Weave some more. Something gets noted to take on further.

Belinda asked for something to launch off from to make things more tangible and so we impose some rules and context. A window, a gallery, two chairs. The domestic enters the frame.

We weave. We seek. We let things go.

How are we enabling them to connect when this is all they want to do (the ‘characters’ they are and they certainly aren’t characters) (they are women), but can’t due to the context?

For a moment they are many women meeting.

Moments of looking
Moments of eye contact
Moments of almost touching

Something tangible emerges in the space.

Stories of meeting. The actors improvise and bring something human into the room. I feel myself withdrawing as I feel lost amidst this and I don’t quite know my role in it. I discover I don’t have a process for this and so what do I need to do to connect to it as a way of revealing and exploring something? Do I totally reject the idea of improvised words? Do I find a way to shape this? I need time to think about it.

Ha! It does bring in laughter. Much-needed laughter.

I wonder again about making a story for them to tell of how they met so it looks and feels like one of the stories from Gay Propaganda. But they keep improvising and it brings lightness too into the space. Michelle and Belinda are freed from the heightened poetry of my text and it does something else.

I am unsure. But what they do is good. Revealing. Bringing them into the world of these two women, of many women, each with a different story about love to tell.

We look at some sequences of blocks of text to hear them anew. And we do. Stripping and stripping away all that we start with:

Carry me
Invite me
Touch me
Take me

This text produces a very intimate space for us all. It is so tender and raw.

There is love in there.

It is a place where the breath is held for what feels like the longest time. It is intimacy and something so privately shared between two people. It is the “uh” moment.

To find a safe place we have to find the terror.

I talked about the Greeks and Antigone and how when we first meet her she is walking a fine line between life and death. Is this where we are here? Is where they are?

They wrestle. I ask if they can wrestle and then hear some text about meeting in Red Square. It opens up another new space. It feels like another shift. I feel it. It is noted down. Held as something to continue to explore.

Nix wants to seek out the domestic to see what that is like. There is a glimmer of it in the text and so we play with it. It is so different to anything else. Nix talks about operating between the epic and the domestic.

So much feeling. There is, there is so much feeling in the room.

I was not prepared for so much feeling
I am two people
Two people
Because of this love

Nix talked about the many layers of resonance in the wrestling. Jane pushes the performers forward to seek meaning and detail in their actions. To breathe. To take it in, to draw us in. Michelle and Belinda are strong and powerful and fragile and the text is haunting at the end of it as it is about not being able to meet and we have thought so much about them meeting. What happens when they can’t?

What are the resonances then?

Meet me 

Meet me under a blushing moon

I ask myself whether they can have a moment that is free of the wider context?

I do not know the answer.

I do not know.

NM / 1st November 2015