Empty buildings

I’ve become quite familiar with being in large buildings alone. I’m alright, manage to enjoy the relative solitude and sense of space around me until I start to get a little spooked and sound travels differently.

I’m in the Bath University ICIA performance theatre in residence to start explorations for a new creation. Very fragile beginnings. A residency, the first of four supported by several partner venues and a grant from the Arts Council. After two days with Magali Charrier, looking at light sources; a mirror, a super8 video projector, a white sheet, digital projection, small windows of images, traveling horse steps, smoke machine on remote control, a step ladder, an overhead projector, drawings on acetate, aperture frames of light, a piece of A4 paper catching the projection cast on the far wall, lifting the light onto the page from the shaft of light from the super 8 camera, exploring my body with the beam of light traveling, tentative utterances on microphone, a man and a woman, she conceals herself under a sheet to not see where she’s going, she doesn’t want to keep moving, to have to keep moving, so gets lost, it’s not practical not to know where you’re going. Smoke traveling. A list of things I don’t want to keep changing. The start of narrative streams. The edges of darkness, the edges of shadows. A feeling. A contemplative place. The edge of the stage to talk. ‘I’ve been thinking about…’ a ribbon dance. A silhouette.

I’m not scared in here anymore. The creaking has stopped. I’m no longer afraid. The mind can run. It runs. A rumble of an engine. Distant voices. The hum of the PA. Working out how to share a space.

Tonight Brian comes. Then we will try moving with two people. For three days. Then see what is lingering.

I remind myself that it takes time. That the not knowing isn’t new. It’s every time. That my reluctance to move is caught up in my fear of moving. My aches and ageing body. The smoke moving across the space does something all on its own.

I will try while I’m here to dance in the space a simple dance. Not caught up in the relationship with an object. A dance just because. Because I am here, still. And while she moves from the chair to the toilet to the table to the chair and to the bed. I can still move at will. I can still dance and must.

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