Many things have happened over the past 5 days. In fact, many things I would like to delve into more deeply. However, I also have no time to do so. I have a preview next Friday night in London (please come please please please please come) and my most pressing matter at the moment is learning all my lines. I mean, I know most of my lines. But ‘most’ is not ‘all.
So, without further ado.
Walked from Goodge St to Angel. Here:
It was nice. Highlights included: Russel Square, where I saw the final rehearsal for an open-air Shakespeare play (which I was unfortunately unable to attend); Corams Fields, which included some kind of community garden that had a GOAT (a freakin’ GOAT in the middle of the city!); and, my personal favourite, the ‘Goodenough College’. I mean, that’s just inspiring isn’t it? ‘Where are you sending him?’ ‘To the Goodenough College. Because we don’t want him to get too smart.’ I just googled and apparently it is a residential college. Which makes it slightly less funny. But, still!
I was given a free sample of this:
Verdict: AWESOME. I will buy it! I will search if out in pubs! Excellent work with the free samples Jack Dainel’s, because there is no way I would have bought it on my own!
(NB I have heard that the bees are dying at alarming rates. And that if they die we will follow pretty quickly after. Can someone fill me in? The Jack Daniel’s lady didn’t address these particular concerns. And I know not drinking Jack Daniel’s honey most likely won’t stop the bees from going into extinction, but I still feel like making this my drink of choice would be like buying your first 4WD just as peak oil is discovered. Just a bit dumb, you know?)
I went to Ireland! I was flown out by my Creative Connections ladies to come and perform at the Cork Midsummer Festival. I don’t know how I’ve been so lucky to have been so welcomed into this group and to be so connected with this festival (I have now performed at the Cork Midsummer Festival three times), but I don’t want to talk about it too much just in case someone realises that they’ve given me too much already and they should stop now and include some other artists.
No! Keep bringing back the random Australian girl who used to live in Cork for 12 months! We want her again! (I have plans to go back again next year when my UK visa is up. We’ll just see).
The day I actually performed with the Creative Connections ladies at Cork Midsummer. This was what I wanted to talk about a little more in detail. The ladies had created a live art durational performance piece. So, on Friday, they stood on the quays as people went to work and help up giant logs which had ‘The Family Name’ burned into them. They did it for 4 hours as people drove to work. The next day, they sat in a graveyard and chipped away at the blocks in a graveyard for 4 hours. The final day, it was meant to be all the secrets pouring out. They were back in the graveyard, all doing different things. One woman was wrapped in cling film and attempting to bandage a broken vase back together. One was dressed in white with a plastic bag over the top of her and standing on a pristine white tile. I was the only one coming in and out of the graveyard and in the end, I would sing to them and draw them ‘out’. In the meantime, I came in at 15 minute intervals and cut off my friend’s hair and then attempted to shave her head.
It was a pretty intense experience. As the performance went on, I got more and more involved in the process. It was a strange feeling. We had spoken before about the fact that shaving a woman’s head in public is a very ‘heavy’ act. It has echos of witch trials and religious persecution and the treatment of women who slept with Nazis during WWII and mental patients. Even though I was doing it for my friend, we didn’t speak. Those images came up inside me and I felt very cruel. To make myself feel better and to communicate to my friend that I didn’t want to hurt her. I would brush the hair off her shoulders and her head and face. It certainly made me feel better, I don’t know how it felt for her. In the end, I wasn’t able to do such a great job because the tools we had weren’t particularly good.
The thing that was interesting from a production point of view, or no, not ‘interesting’, bloody irritating, was that Cork City Council, despite knowing that this performance was going on, decided to lock the gates of the park early. At 8:30pm. Which was a good hour and a half before we had been told they would lock the gates. Which meant we lost our audience. And we suddenly had to change our performance. It meant the ending was not as strong or as definite as it could have been, which was a real shame, because I could feel that we were building up to something amazing as the hours went by in the graveyard. Still, you live, you learn, I suppose. And it makes it clear you really need someone outside of the performance to be ‘caretaker’ or ‘producer’. We were lucky, we had Mark Storor with us again who managed to sort out a compromise, but it really shouldn’t have happened.
We were all kind of exhausted by Sunday night. Me not so much as the other ladies, as they had been working for months and I just swanned in at the last minute and cut some hair and sang some songs, but we were still all tired. The alcohol and the staying awake until 4am of course didn’t help matters. So, Monday we spent the day in bed pretty much. There were about 4 of us who climbed in and out of the same bed for several hours, plus one of the women’s children. So, actually 6 in total. It was very oddly comforting. Like a sleepover, but different. I realised one of the saddest things about London is that my group of friends (whilst lovely) is pretty much exactly like me. Most of them are Australian, many of them are on a two-year work visa, they are young, travelling, having adventures. What was nice about my social group in Cork was that it did include women who were at different stages of their lives, who had families of their own and it was wonderful to feel a part of that. You felt a part of a wider community than in London. For all its diverse people, you can live in a very homogenous little bubble in London very easily.
It means I have no opportunities to do this:
And that’s a real shame. Because my friend’s kids are gorgeous and fun and happy. And they have soft little bellies and arms that are probably the best things in the world.