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Plenty

I am a time line at the moment, I mean that I can’t separate things out, everything is merging into one, I’m seeing things or perhaps feeling things like webs.

Matthew and I discussed, in part, ‘origins’ at the last tutorial. That nothing is really new – so I live my life through a lens, that I experience what I do, in part, because of the experiences before.

I have perhaps lived my romantic life through the lens of Romeo and Juliet and My So Called Life. Clare Danes, Jared Leto and  Leonardo Dicaprio all seem a little odd when I see them ‘grown up’.

Of course first times, experientially, are first times, I may have attached what I needed to, to them. That I created the narrative I wanted and somehow needed for all sorts of first times when I was growing up…. maybe I didn’t really experience them at all, maybe I just created myself a sort of story I could play out, in a way that seemed right, or successful, or normal. Or fabulous even. But not ‘real’, or ‘authentic’.

I digress, I titled this ‘Plenty’ for a reason. I have just un-earthed a photocopied examination guideline for the essay I probably wrote to accompany the performance I did for my AS Drama exam. Since I doubt I used it then, it seems like it might be a nice structure to borrow, for fun, to push on some thinking, at least to try and put it to some  use.

…. flicking through the rest of the notebook, just after my notes on ‘scene 4, Pimlico 1947’ written in 2001, I have the original text from the first page of my journal for Underwear in 2006. Wierd.

When I came to Uni I missed my friends, I had the most amazing youth, I felt important. This section in the book is about that, I edited it for the Underwear journal, interesting what decisions I made then. (Maybe I felt I needed to re-make Underwear because it would lead me to the show I didn’t make then, the one I just managed to hint at in the last piece.)

“why is it so painful to let this go”

“the great love we shared is empty”…. this is what I was referring to in Left Luggage, this is my Nirvana moment. If I could take a fragment and expand it, its this one. I made underwear about sex, I feel this show is about relationships. I am still mourning the passing of that time….

….still mourning the death of englishmen who died in Dachau, men who died naked in Dachau…..

So logically, I mean, utilising my knowledge of a ‘process’, this is the moment I should expand. This is about first times, about always trying to replace the first time….. except, remembering of course that nothing’s new….. etc

Susan felt like this:

UNIT3: Section A, Study Area 3, Sample notes. Page 8

Rationale for putting on the play – what was it communicating about the time it was written or the time it was performed? Why are we doing it? What does it mean to us as a group? What relevance does it have?

I know Mr Harnan, really struggled to sum the play up when we were 17 for the programme notes. Its about that thing though, about having a time, an un-replaceable time that makes the rest of your life appear to be lived in tones of grey compared to the colour. Of course, its not to be discounted  that the times remembered in colour are somehow also blended with the life’s of everyone else, with the expectation of the experience – that we construct the history as we need to remember it, as we need to pass it on, so that others experience our first times too, as we constructed them,  whilst they use our constructions to help form their own…. r e p e t i t i o n? Where is the ‘origin’ in this scenario? With the Greek gods?

….

Study Area 1 – Analyse how characters, narrative and ideas are conveyed through theatrical presentation

Page 1&2:  Details of each character in the play and how they were interpreted. Comments on individual performances

Page 3: Examples of how the ideas were put across to the audience. Comments on the way the audience responded.

Page 4: Theatrical devices and conventions that were used to put across the play to an audience

Study Area 2; Interpret and evaluate a text as directors, designers and performers

Page 5: Notes on the Concept for the production. What was the ‘ruling idea’?

Page 6: Notes on how the design elements reflected the ‘ruling idea’ and contributed to the overall interpretation.

Page 7: Notes on what worked and what did not work and why in the production

Study Area 3: Consider the social, cultural and historical background of a text and its relevance to a contemporary audience. 

Page 8: Rationale for putting on the play – what was it communicating about the time it was written or performed? Why are we doing it? What does it mean to us as a group? What relevance does it have?

Page 9: Summary of research notes into the social, cultural and/or historical context of the play. Notes about the playwright and/or the first production of the play. Notes about other productions of the play.

Page 10: How did the audience respond to the production of the play? What did it mean to them? Was this response expected? Did it differ from the play’s original reception?

So if all the world’s a stage, if I have performed my life, in accordance with the lens I view it through, perhaps I could answer all of these quesitons, perhaps I could re-perform not only a ‘show’ but a life.

Actually, I think that’s what I am doing at the minute, I’ve taken to wearing t-shirts over long sleeved tops, like its the 90’s or something. The other night I went out for Halloween dressed as my 17 year old self. I actually ‘moped’ around a night club as a strategy for getting some male attention, ‘oh little lost me’. It worked, although nothing is quite as innocent when 10 years older that 17.

…… I could be 18 again……

The first time my heart was broken

A poem for the girl who broke my heart, written then, aged 16

And I hate her for not talking to me,
And I hate her for making out like everything is all right
And for making up, waking up and hating me again.

And for seeming to take the recognition for all that I’m responsible for,
Not even trying, yet gaining everything I’ve longed for
And for paying attention and doing what’s right, so I can’t,
‘cos I’ve got to change and oppose her in everything;

So that someone who doesn’t know us will see that there is no us,
It’s me,
And her,
Not even that. Two people not presently related.

I hate her because I don’t know her,
And she doesn’t want me,
And she doesn’t say hello.
She doesn’t even look.

I hate her, ‘cos she wears the right thing,
Says the right thing, does the right thing,
At the right time, all the time.
Or so it seems

And I hate her for leaving scars on my life,
Reminders of the love I’ve had and the fun I’ve had
And everywhere I look or run to, I find her.

I hate her for not saying anything, yet being their even when I sleep.

x

an open letter to Michael Pinchbeck (and Nottingham)

Dear Michael,

You don’t know me, but I feel as if maybe you should. I don’t mean to sound crazy when I say that, although I am aware that perhaps that can’t be helped. Last night you stood on a stage/theatre studio floor in front of me, and several others, and you said something about not knowing me, not knowing us, your audience – who of course sit in the dark.

So, in response I wanted to try and let you know the number of ways and times you’ve been present in my life. I don’t know if your presence means anything, but it feels worthy of noting, so it must mean something.

I grew up in Nottingham, long before I knew how I would make work in the future, when I dreamt of being an actress or an artist perhaps, I wore purple flares that I’d bought from that Vintage shop, near the theatre royal, on the way to the Victoria centre. I don’t know if you know it, you went up some wooden stairs, it was covered in photocopied flyers for gigs and band members wanted, it smelt of old clothes. It was a vintage shop before vintage shops were cool and expensive. I don’t think it’s there anymore. If it is still there, its probably expensive and probably not cool, at least not in that way.

Whilst wearing my purple flares I spent a lot of time at Angel Row gallery, in fact that art gallery was one of the most influential places on my work now. It was there we first met, when I picked up a flyer for ‘The Long and Winding Road’, well I wore flares, it follows that I liked the Beatles.

I took up the invite, I did email, I was asked to await further instructions but they never came.
I didn’t really know your name then. It’s not on the flyer. The ‘Steering Committee’ never got back to me. To be honest I forgot about you, I filed it away along with all the other bits of paper I picked up and kept from that time.

I heard about it again, later, something having happened outside of Broadway cinema. The Broadway is also in my list of the influential places in my life. Neat then that a little peruse of The Left Lion, recently led me to Deborah Pearson’s recent performance there, a ‘Hatch’ event. Another link.

Let me honest, at this point in my life, I have still not really heard of you, but as I mentioned I loved the sixties, the music, I spent a long time trying to be a hippy. When a new play came out called ‘The White Album’ I had to see it. It was on at the Nottingham Playhouse, another incredibly influential place. They used to do ‘price of a pint’ tickets for under 25’s, I saw a lot of amazing work there. I’d just started university in York, the show got a mixed press, I loved it. I defended it on the comment thread of an article on The Left Lion, I tried to find it, to hyperlink it here, but it’s disappeared into the virtual void.

I’ll be even more honest, I didn’t really take a note of the playwright’s name. Well Giles was directing it, that was as much as I needed to know.

It was year’s later then, which is another way of saying a couple of years ago from now that a younger student who was working with me mentioned your work, apparently she loved it. I tried to be intelligent, I mean I did recognise the name, but in her presence, trying to sound like I knew something, I agreed with her. I might have said, “Yes, it is, quite brilliant”.

She was going to the lecture you were giving at York St. John University. I went too,  I imagine I might have been sat with Andrew Brown, a fellow student at YSJ and a lecturer at Nottingham Trent, this is how he knew Hetain Patel. I wrote an essay on Hetain Patel for a second year, undergraduate assignment, after seeing his work in Angel Row gallery. Small world.
It was in that lecture that I joined the dots, I realised that I knew you, well your work anyway. It was weird. I came and spoke to you afterwards, explained these things. I think it came out a little odd.

Maybe there it would’ve ended, except for your website, which is one of my most useful sources of inspiration, I’d like to thank you for posting your CV on there. It has been a great help, just having a template for what is often termed an ‘artistic cv’ and knowing that being diverse in the work I make and who I make it with is okay. As have your blogs and process. I often use them as a source of inspiration if I’m having a blank page/can’t make anything/I’m just shit aren’t I, sort of a day. These have been a really, really great help. Nice to know someone reads them perhaps…. I couldn’t help but notice Mole in some of the video’s you have on your Vimeo channel. I’m almost certain that when I was in primary school and again in secondary school Reckless Sleepers came to do workshops with us. It’s times like that, which can inspire you as a kid, and so are perhaps in some small way the reason I’m writing this now.

And maybe there it also could end, except for a gift you made me with ‘The Ashes’. My Dad doesn’t really ‘do’ theatre, my great passion, it’s not really his thing, I’m struggling to recall if he’s ever been to see any of my work, perhaps the the primary school Christmas play. It’s not a criticism, like his Dad, my Dad likes cricket, it’s just I’d like to be able to share what it is I do with him. I bought us ticket’s to see the play, as a father’s day gift, better than whisky or socks. Something we can share together. Something we shared as a family. Thank you.

It was a strange crowd – I’m not sure it falls into all the Arts Council’s engaging new audiences stuff, but that show, that night, really seemed to have drawn quite the strangest mix of people, all interested in cricket, all sharing stories. It meant something to them, you could tell it was important. I’ve never experienced a theatre buzzing in quite that way before, it was really something. It was certainly something to me. Thank you again.

I noted in the back of the programme, in your bio, you’ve also worked with Hetain Patel. Smaller world. I did once think of writing him a letter to let him know he’d been the subject of that essay I’d written in 2007. That’s the sort of thing I’d like to know, I mean if someone ever wrote about me. I’m sure plenty of people have written about his work by now.

And so there Michael, it ends. The End, which I saw last night and seemed to speak to me, in my current performance makers block. Once again your presence, your work (and Ollie’s) floated a couple of creative bubbles to the surface, some pennies dropped. Lots of questions, lots of examples…. I am still looking for my own answers…  in my process at the moment. I am looking back a lot, trying to re-cycle, to make again, to begin again, if its possible to repeat a beginning. If its possible to repeat at all.

I like to think I might invite you to my next show.

I like to think I should move back to Nottingham, stuff always seems to be happening there, maybe I could happen there.

I like to think that I will be part of the great happening here, in York, instead.

Perhaps our paths will cross again, perhaps they won’t – but if you ever read this, and you say those lines again in performance, the line I wish I could quote, the line I’m not even sure you said now. Well I think you did, I think it was about never knowing who ‘we’, the audience are. Well now you do. Perhaps you will remember this, perhaps in some small part I will be remembered in that moment.

All the best,

Gemma

beginning again…

now feels new.

A fresh start

time over. again.

I know my past, I have come one full circle. I know who I was, I am resolved, answered. satisfied.

Time now for a new adventure. Time to take stock, leave the luggage, say goodbye, let go, au revoir, mais pas adieu, time to begin again.

Time for new mistakes, time again for innocence, for scars to fade, to be forgotten, for fresh eyes and optimism. Time to be on top again instead of always catching up, instead of becoming second best of feeling too old, too fat, too been there and done that.

Now is the time of our second youth, now IS the time to ‘seize the day’ to realise our ambitions, to become our dreams. I am not up a tree. I can deal with that. I grow herbs in my kitchen and eat vegetables and imagine one day I’ll stop eating meat. I’ll perhaps always be a hypocrite.

Now is the time of MY generation. Possibility is here, its ours. My youth wasn’t wasted in my early years, my potential won’t be now.

Now is a newness, a chance to BE again, a chance to ascribe myself, to aspire, to create to be. I don’t need to look back. I’ve waved goodbye…. I am waving goodbye.

Here’s to new shoeboxes, new memories. new dreams and hopes, new ideals, new lovers, new friends, new ways of being. together. alone. new me, new yous.

 

On teenage love (aka; desire. lust. a crush)

I want to fuck you.

I want to fuck you.

I want to fuck you.

This is hard to say, imagine this audience is bigger, imagine I’m talking to more than the 2/30/100 people here.

I want to fuck you.

I want to kiss the soft skin on your neck

I want to take the cartilage in your ear between my teeth…

… and nibble

  …. And bite

 I want to fuck you.

I want to fuck you,

You

Yes….. you

I mean you,

I want to fuck you.

I don’t care about

 Your wife

 Your husband

 Your partner

 Your children

 I want to fuck you and I don’t care what your friends might say

What my friends might say

I just want to fuck you. I need to fuck you.

You…

…. now, here on this stage, with everyone watching,

 I want everyone to know how much you turn me on. How good we feel, how real this is.

 Maybe you don’t even realise it….. I like to think you’re just being coy.

I like to think you know.

I like to think you know I think we are playing a game. This game.

I want to play this game with you.

I want to believe you need to fuck me, be dirty with me, that sort of breathe fast,  heavy, slow. To need to hear me whimper, moan…..

…..(….scream)….

I need to believe you’ve imagined what my skin tastes like, that you’ve

thought about how I feel in your hands, how I might sound when your lips inch closer to that soft spot..

…right here…

…right there on the back of my neck…..

…I need to believe you know.

I want to fuck you….

 Yet if we ever did, this moment…

…this moment

…this..

moment….

Would be gone.

 

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