Sunday, 9 June 2013

They tell me its one week...

This past week has been high on stress, low on time and crazy on the body. As life would have it, after stretches this year of not having much work, and stretches of unemployment which will still come, I am currently working on three dance shows simultaneously.

My very first non-university show, TODAY’S YOUTH TOMORROW opens at The State Theatre in six days. Which means that including today I have five rehearsals left with my cast, and in the limited time I have had to create the show, with the limited availability of my actors rehearsing has not been easy. I also leave for Grahamstown, performing in Smithfield along the way in 16 days to perform CHASING and AS NIGHT FALLS at the National Arts Frestival. And, just because that’s how things work out, I had a two day intensive Laban course and an unexpected audition in Johannesburg this week. And the cast of As Night Falls had to perform at UP Drama’s Head of department’s inaugural speech on Thursday evening, which required rehearsals from Monday as well. I feel like this week of my life was exactly what they meant with the whole raining and pouring scenario.

Myself and fellow dancer Mdu Nhlapo, waiting backstage to perform
at an inaugural speech.
And the powers that be decided that my show needed to be viewed by The State Theatre in this week too. Considering the amount of hours my cast of very understanding friends and fellow dancers have had to rehearse together I feel we had come quite a long way, and yet not in my opinion, far enough to be viewed this past Saturday. And when our Friday evening rehearsal needed to end earlier than expected I tried to cancel our viewing the next day, but to no avail. And then on Saturday morning one my cast members informed me a few hours before our said viewing that he would not be able to attend. After an out-of-breath phone call, in my five minute water break while rehearsing for the shows I will be performing in Grahamstown, my said viewer informed me that, no matter who was or was not present, I would be viewed that day. I bluntly informed him that if this was the case, he really would not be seeing all that much. He steered on, apparently non-plussed that a quarter of my cast would not be present.

So, innumerable stomach knots, curses and a rehearsal later a dancer from The State Theatre arrived to view our little incomplete cast. We walked through choreography and I discussed the flow of our show with him (which had changed again about an hour after our viewing). To my absolute surprise considering what we had shown him he was very impressed with the work that he had seen. With the concept of the show and the style in which we were working. I think the relief rolled off my physically as he left the rehearsal space about ten minutes after the last quarter of the cast arrived to rehearse. And we could, eventually, carry on with our much needed rehearsal, and the precious time that we four have to dance together.

As our show is physical theatre I am more of someone pulling draw strings together in the collaborative process of generating and making movement/dance material for our show, and I feel that the title of choreographer doesn’t necessarily suit my position. But at the end of the day I am responsible for the content going on stage, and I feel like I am in a cocktail shaker of emotions at present. I am elated that I will not only be performing at The State Theatre for the first time, but that ‘my’ first show will be on stage soon. I am also stressed out about the fact that the show is not entirely finished as of yet, that I still have costumes and props and makeup to buy and songs to learn and music to edit. And somewhere in between all the ‘I have to’s all the ‘I must still’s and  my Stage Manager that can’t be present at my technical rehearsal, I have faith in the people I am working with, my training and myself. Saturday will bring an amazing Today’s Youth Tomorrow to The State Theatre, come hell or high water.

But that, it seems, is how theatre life goes. 

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