So it was very helpful for Kate Flatt, the choreographic mentor with whom I'm fortunate to be working for this project, to come and talk to the dancers and I last Friday. The outside perspective brought us a welcome opportunity to reassess the impulses at the heart of the piece and the Matters of Life and Death project as a whole. By continually rediscovering those impulses, as Kate encouraged us to do, we will ensure that the work never becomes tired or predictable. Anne Bogart, as Kate told me, calls the moment of beginning to set choreography having improvised for a long time a 'brutal act', because it can cause the performers to begin to repeat rather than to revisit and develop. Now we're entering into the final stages of realising the piece we need to continually find ways of revisiting our source material.
Some other gems that Kate encouraged me to think about:
- What does the activity of repeating and/or rewinding signify in the work?
No matter how much the characters try to resist going forwards in the piece, they ultimately cannot do so, and later in the piece it gets even more difficult to go backwards.
- The characters are individuals throughout the work.
- We have to always take care when handling the objects in the work, even when carrying out an ostensibly simple transition. It is never quite that simple.
- We have to acknowledge the many qualities of contact in the work that are appropriate at different moments, so the contact never becomes uniform throughout the piece.
- 'home', or of what is known
- truth, or the real version of events