ArtsLab Shopfront's artists in residence

Finding out how I get on stage

So this week I have been thinking, and moving, about a basic question one encounters when making theatre: why am I on stage and who are the audience in relation to the performer/s (in this case me). It’s seemingly simple, as all complex things seem to be. So I am a clown. Yes. I am alice performing as a clown. Yes. The audience is there and expect something of me, both from me, alice, and (as I am wearing a red nose), my clown. Ok, that much is clear. I have been exploring an idea, not too far remote from Aslam (in content rather than style), how do you ‘show’ nothingness, or emptiness, a lack. I want to now begin the piece with my  no identity- an impossible task in itself I know for x, y, z reasons but at least to start with s little as possible. So, I thought for a moment this would mean I begin my show in the nude. But then (thankfully!) I thought perhaps that identifies me (alice) too much- in a way- it shows that I am infact a woman, when indeed  I had always thought of my clown having a less constrained sexuality, that it was more of an ‘it’ than a he or a she- it was androgenous and asexual. So I’m settling on a flesh toned underwear that technically could be identified as male or female- big briefs, bonds singlet, that kind of thing (if anyone reading this has a better suggestion please feel free to let me know). The show opens with me ‘caught’ in the (follow)spot light  unawears in my underwear. I see the light and am annoyed at it for eposing me- and then, I see that not only is there a spotlight, but that behind it there is an audience, and Oh golly! I’m in my underwear. But they have come to see a show, but I am in my underwear and am not prepared. But they are waiting to see me perform, they are waiting for a show. And thus this is where I begin from. I try at first to do the obvious thing and step  out of the light, but the light is persistant and follows me around the stage. And so, after trying ‘flight’ it’s now ‘flight’ time- I hold in my anger at the light, put on a happy face and begin a journey of trying to find out what the audience want from me and thus, what I can do for them. It’s just a beginning, and it’s changing all the time, but it’s something to start from and hopefully allows a set up that inspires a genuinely imaginative performance where the audience is witnessing the actual act of creating as it happens. Well, thats the goal, I’ll see how we go.

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