Sunday, August 21, 2016

Two weekends

Just some nice things I did over my last couple of Saturdays and Sundays. Significant because I haven't had a weekend in New York to myself with no commitments or responsibilities since...err...early June.

Last weekend I took myself out for breakfast and enjoyed a quiet hour listening to a podcast while eating. I spent time at home cleaning and tidying and then a bit of lolling around. In the evening I went to the cinema with Rosi and Jeff to see Captain Fantastic with Viggo Mortensen - I liked it a lot, recommend. We went for a frozen margarita afterwards at a great place with a huge outdoor seating area.

Over the last couple of weeks the daytime temperature has been between 85 and 93 degrees Farenheit although I suspect it was actually much higher in some areas. 

Sunday I met Sam, Val and a friend of theirs from L.A. for brunch and a really nice catch up. We ate near their place and I chose to enjoy the sun and walk most of the way back to mine, crossing the park as I did so. I went home to sit on the sofa eating frozen pineapple (my new sweltering heat snack of choice - trust me it's genius) before cleaning myself out to go and meet Natalia and Lauren for a long overdue catch up over some drinks in a Cuban diner and then on the roof of some guy Naty works with. A very pleasant way to spend time with my friends.

During the week inbetween I worked, babysat, chatted with roommates. Also had the second rehearsal for the podcast play written by mighty Ben Holbrook - it's so much fun and I can't wait to hear them once they've been recorded and sound edited. Love my job. I'm also really excited to start work on an immersive dance theatre piece with a choreographer I've been dying to work with for months, not to mention dancers I'm really happy to be in a cast with. Watch this space, we go up in late October.

So this weekend I had a morning at home doing more cleaning and tidying things before going to watch 'Sinners on a Southbound Bus' also by mighty Ben Holbrook which was selected for the New York Fringe Festival. It, like everything he does, is fantastic. Super cool to see his work being fully produced and viewed by so many people, we are proud.
Then I went home and was joined shortly after by David and we enjoyed some chit chat aroind the kitchen table before retiring for the night.

Today (Sunday) I woke up unexpectedly early and got going with all kinds of things. Scheduling my life for the next two weeks, working in dance classes and studio space around work and rehearsals. I ticked a few things off my to-do list the biggest of which was 'retrieve my bike'. I chose - perhaps a little unwisely - to run to Sam's. I should say I haven't done a long run since about mid-June so I was a bit apprehensive. Full disclosure I didn't run the full way - I took a walk break. In fairness it was about 90 Fahrenheit and its nearly 6 miles. But I arrived at his front door running. I hung out with Bobby and Bitbit for a little while, both because I miss them and to catch my breath/cool off before finally rescuing Frances and heading back across Brooklyn.
After a quick clean up and turnaround I'm now on my way to Anel's house because she decided, unprompted, not long ago to cook brunch for a group of friends. Thanks Anel!
After that I will head to the first rehearsal for the new dance project - I'm really looking forward to being in a room with this group of people for the first time.
I'm out!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Make Room

I spent the last week of July living in my own home again - yay
Working
And taking the ferry to Governor's Island to create and rehearse a piece of immersive dance theatre under the direction of my lovely friend Roseanna Bell.  
She applied for and received a week long residency in an empty house of Governor's Island as part of a program called 'Make Room', produced by a company called Barton Booth which is all about giving artists quite literally the space they need to produce work.  For dancers especially this is often the hardest thing about creative endeavours - to rehearse a play you could in a pinch make do in an apartment, or a small rehearsal space.  To rehearse a piece of choreography or to improvise or hold a dance class you kind of need a decent amount of space.  And that doesn't come cheap and the demand  often outstrips the supply.
So this program is a wonderful thing and wonderful use of the large empty former officer's houses on GI.

It was a hot week.  The kind of hot where everything seems burnished.  I do well in the heat.  Also because we were going to dancing, sweating, rolling around on a dusty floor anyway the thing that often makes city heat the toughest - trying to maintain any level of composure and presentability - was a non-issue.  Dance clothes, every day.  

Ross wanted to create a piece that was inspired by the struggles of creating a piece.  I know right.  So meta.  She had that as a jumping off point and once we were in the house we were able to expand on that, taking further inspiration from our physical surroundings (this bannister is inviting me to utilise it in some improv, this room is very live and conducive to percussive movement, this glass door could pretend to be a mirror).  We used every space except the kitchen which acted as backstage, including the staircase and the porch terrace that wrapped around two sides of the house.  

Along the way we also picked up a Southern/Colonial vibe thanks to the architectural style, which ultimately contributed to the costuming and the choice of music for the finale.  Apart from that we had no sound other than that which we created ourselves - some vocally, some with breath, some with clapping, stomping and in my case banging on the walls.

The piece had five dancers and each of us had a different journey throughout the house - there were rooms that were never entered by certain people, or certain dancers who never interacted until the very end.  I can't speak for everyone but I really enjoyed giving myself a character and giving that character a specific journey - this was very much a piece of dance theatre not just choreographed dance, with an element of improv and storytelling so Rosi gave us reasons for why certain moments happened and allowed us to find our own reasons for certain others.  Why do they run up the stairs? Why does she shout? Why does this stretch of wall hold fascination? What does she see in the mirror? 
It was a kind of creative freedom and energy that I wish I had more of in my life - the whole week made my spirit soar and I was positively vibrating with ideas and creative impulses by the end of every day.  I'm so grateful to Rosi for having me be a part of it and for allowing me to contribute where I could, and making it such a collaborative and affirming process.  We were really proud of the end result and had some great reactions from audience members - I also learned a lot about how immersive pieces can work.  It helps to have at least a couple of people who understand the conventions of that type of theatre because they know to follow the performers without getting in the way, and to take their cues with as little guidance from us as possible.  There were a number of people we encountered who had never experienced anything along these lines - during one performance I finished a vignette in a room alone, the other dancer having finished hers and moved on to her next space.  Some audiences followed her out leaving me to finish unwatched, but this particular group waited for me to finish and then continued watching me.  I silently gestured towards the door.  Nothing. I made eye contact with several then looked pointedly at the door.  Nothing.  I moved behind them and held my arms akimbo while walking slowly toward them.  Nothing.  I went to the door and gestured one more time.  Still nobody moved...so I left the room and shut the door.  My next moment was meeting Rosi in the hallway and moving together into the next room to join the others. Before we did that, she opened the door I'd just closed - they had finally got the message because they all streamed out and went down the hallway.
Come on guys.

It is an amazing feeling to dedicate almost all your time (I still worked for Troy in the mornings) to doing the thing you live for, and it only gets better when you add a ferry ride, free run of a huge space, sunny days and working with good friends.








Mystery bruise sustained some time while wrestling my bike up the steps to Sam's building while simultaneously trying to hold the heavy outward-opening door open - it's a very poorly planned situation.














Friday, August 19, 2016

The Illustrated Adventures of Red Hook


My furry alarm clock





Siblings playfighting



Bobby on the bed




Bobby is tired: the series





D'aww









Sunset at  Valentino Pier, part I

Mighty Frances


Bobby watches Game of Thrones


And now presenting Tessa and Lauren's Sundae Funday






















The End





Sunsets part II



Where's Bobby?


DERP


HAY GUYS


Bobby is tired cont'd





Human sunbathing





Synchronised CatDog sunbathing