On Love: OPENLAB session on Friday, 14 February 2014; facilitated by Jan Lee

This time OPENLAB happened to be on Valentine’s Day, and matched my theme of LOVE very well…
In this session I wanted to promote LOVE as an important part of performing, as a practice of seeing myself in the other, and seeing the other in myself.  As a performer I really want to connect with myself, my collaborators, those that direct me, the intention of the performance, and maybe most of all, the audience.  It’s a strong desire to feel affection and to affect others…
The OPENLAB question – what does performing entail?….  at the moment right now, it’s the fine balance of being in love with eyes without trying to control eyes…  Eyes as audience/witness, eyes as our own sense of ourself, eyes as the director on the performer, eyes as the group mind, eyes as the vision of the performance itself…
(Some of the tasks we did in this session I took inspiration from Peta Lily the clown, and neuroscientific choreographer Corinne Jola.)
In this session is myself and Thelma Sharma.
The first task – ‘I only have eyes for myself’.  We close our eyes and perform for ourselves, having the luxury of being the only eyes to see ourselves.  We do this a few times.  Each time, my outer shell dissolves a bit more.  My ‘eyes’ become less about vision and more about filling and emptying energy and spatial pathways inside my mass.  Filling and emptying myself with feeling and intention.
Sometimes my legs would become branches in the air, or my hips a boat rocking in the sea, and the rest of me were my ‘eyes’, still and silent, passive, watching the legs or the hips.  I wanted to fill every part of me with energy.  I wanted my legs to love my arms and my arms to see themselves as my belly…
The second task – to work in a duo, as performer and audience. The performer explores how the filling and emptying of energy and intention can affect the emotional energy of their audience.  Using breath and movement to impact the space inside us, to match our audience’s state or to change the audience’s state…
When does the audience need some change?  Has it been too long that they haven’t moved at all?  Can you change something in yourself as a performer?  Or… does the audience need some space from you?  Stop eyeballing them?  Or maybe they want to be looked after for a moment, give them some time to relax and calm down…  ease their troubles, make them laugh… make them stop in their tracks, think about life seriously…
Affection – to affect, to be affected by
I feel like I am being tickled by Thelma while I watch her breath rise and fall as if she is silently laughing.
I feel the suspense as I watch her almost fall this way and that, letting go, holding on, as I do the same inside myself.
As a performer, we look after the audience, accompanying and matching their physiology.  This is… just… before…. (!) taking them for a ride … !! up and down the rollercoaster till its time to rest.
We invite each other in, and reassure the other that they still exist.  Together on a journey to find tunnels into each other’s worlds.   Do I want to join in?

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