Monday 23 September 2013

Zoe's rehearsal shots

Rehearsal Shots @Greenwich Dance taken by the wonderful Zoe Manders






Thursday 19 September 2013

Greenwich Dance studio shots by Tim Copsey

We've been rehearsing Running on Empty at Greenwich Dance this week.
Here are some studio shots taken by Tim Copsey...




Buried in the countryside

We have been buried away in the Sussex countryside cracking on with Running on Empty.
Intense. Focused. Challenging. Exhilarating. Fulfilling. Exciting..... scary! 

The sun was shining on week 1, the horses were grazing and the wild flowers were out...

Not quite Tuscany, but a pretty spot to share lunch...

The team started gathering for the second, third, fourth.... production meeting, it's really hotting up!

My amazing team:

Director                Jo McInnes
Writer                   Brad Birch
Performers            Greig Cooke, Scott Smith, myself (AG)
Choreographer      Charlie Morrissey
Composer              Scott Smith
Song writer           Lee Ross
Designer               Fabrice Serafino
Lighting                Beky Stoddart

Producer               Elizabeth Mischler
Coordinator          Zoe Manders
Production manager  Stocky

We've also had the lovely Lorna acting as Stage manager for us in rehearsal.

Monday 12 August 2013

Going to Edinburgh

Time to take a break from Running on Empty...

Taking my solo Small Talk to Edinburgh Fringe:

18-25th Aug
9.30pm ZOO venues, Aviary

Twitter: @probeproject


From the epic to the intimate, looking at human resilience through history, our survival of the present and our fears for the future. From natural disaster to the intricate and sometimes absurd nature of our daily human interactions...


Wake-up, open my eyes, not sure which comes first
Put the alarm on snooze, at least twice, 10 minute intervals
Get out of bed, put on a t-shirt, open the blinds, just a little, switch on the kettle
Make a cup of tea, eventually, after filling the time the kettle takes to boil doing something banal
Switch on the radio, sometimes, sometimes silence is ok, sometimes it’s not
Start getting dressed between sips of tea, that’s if it’s a morning when I have something to do

Sometimes sit and meditate for a while, 10, 15, 20 minutes at most
I don’t try too hard, but it feels nice
Carry on with the day, turn on my laptop, make the breakfast, let other people in.

And then came the FLOOD... and the ARK.... and selecting which animals would be left behind.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Water bear Water bear what do you see?

Week 1 and 2 completed.
Stories written and shared.
The writer has been writing, we (the performers) have been writing, dancing, playing, speaking...

We devising this piece, and entering a process of no return.



These Extremophiles can survive extreme conditions.
This is beautiful.
I would like one.


And when I leave what will I leave behind?
A two bedroom flat, with my half eaten breakfast on the table next to my morning mug of tea, and the unopen bank statements piling up on the sideboard?
Will the sheets be crisp and fresh and recently laundered, or still warm and full of the smell of me and many a well slept night of dreaming?
I want to leave my children behind, I owe them to the future and the future to them. And if I have done any good, said any good, lived any good, pleased someone, loved someone, helped someone, held someone, listened, touched or witnessed, may that be left behind too.
May others enjoy what I have enjoyed, over and over and over again.
Keep sucking at it till its dry
And when I do, let others rejoice, “She is dead!”
I owe you that, I owe you no suffering.
I owe you nothing, I leave you nothing.
Burn the bank statements and the bed sheets, wash the bowls and the cups.
And please just bury me in the earth, and let the earthworms nestle, the vultures peck out my eyes, and the maggots fester, till I am all used up.
For my deeds have all been done.


.... Paralysed by love. Paralysed by fear. Holding fear. Seeing fear in front of me. Being fear. Urgh. A pain immense like serpents squeezing the blood flow to all your arteries, forcing your heart to panic and pant like a tired dog. A dog. He’s having heart palpitations. I feel like a dog. One of those dogs that people buy as presents for Christmas after years of yearning, and are so excited, elated and euphoric about but then inevitably discard and send back to the dogs home with teary goodbyes once reality sets in. Shit....

Annoyances... a studio stream of consciousness

Guns that don’t shoot
Knickers that don’t fit
Dog shit on the pavement
Too many cars on the road and the people in them
Parents, in general
People who claim to be shy and then draw attention to themselves
Supermarkets, consumerism and adverts about weight loss
Fabrics that old people wear
Lazy teenagers and their push-up bras
New Look, Peacocks, M & Co
Mass excursions to peaceful beauty spots
Attachments to anything or anyone just “because” and not for love
Bus fare inflation
Men that grab you in bars
Men with girlfriends that grab you in bars
Men with wives that grab you in bars
Cosmetic surgery
Racism, sexism, homophobia, agoraphobia
Photos in drawers, boxes, on cds, hard-drives, anywhere but in albums
Big brother
My little brother starting an argument just for the sake of it
Clever people that break your heart
7 out of 10
8 out of 10
10 out of 10

Friday 5 July 2013

Why is she running?

I went for a run yesterday and a four year old child in a pushchair said as I passed, "Mummy, why is that lady running?"

I wanted to say, "because I love to run!" but I didn't, because it felt slightly mental and also I wasn't loving running much at that moment!
I was more curious to see what her mother might say in response.  It's so interesting that a young kid would view running as a strange and rare occurence for a grown up to be doing. Her mum was a little embarassed and said quietly "She's just running. Um, er,  you run sometimes don't you!"

Imagine the world in a future where the need to run decreases to such an extent, and maybe even walking becomes rare, or moving at all becomes unnecessary.... How little will people need to move to survive?
 We can already order groceries and almost everything we could possible need direct to our homes. There is a new phone app which enables us to have a lover at our front door within minutes- so no running involved in that game anymore!

Communication Research

'Communication research'  from Greig Cooke:

I think it's supposed to be me and him in conversation. 
Well, I think it went quite well, and we seem to be capable of listening and understanding each other. 

Thursday 27 June 2013

Making sweet music together

Day 1 and 2 of Running on Empty
Myself, Greig Cooke and Scott Smith- the 3 performers- begin the process at Scott's home in Shoreham making music togther, and tinkering about with some of the songs we already had from Lee Ross.

Brad Birch is busy writing away (think Nicolas Cage as Kaufman in the film Adaptation) and we are waiting in gentle anticipation to see how the story will unfold, or maybe there will be no solid story, what's ever solid anyway.

We have done the research, we know how this beast will work, and it is a beast. The writing comes next and will inform all the next moves.... this is the exciting bit! 

Well, whilst we're waiting i can go for a run (tick!) and practise the few chords i have learnt on guitar and banjo...


Saturday 22 June 2013

The Beast

"I love the beast. I actually look forward to the beast showing up, because every time he does, I handle him better. I get him more under control."
... on ultra running in the Sahara.
Instead of cringing from fatigue, you embrace it. You refuse to let it go. You get to know it so well, you're not afraid of it anymore. You can't hate the Beast and expect to beat it; the only way to truly conquer something, as every great philosopher and geneticist will tell you, is to love it.

Ummmm, Ok, I'm going to face the beast. I'm not afraid of that cold windy day outside, of the steep wooded hill I have to climb to get up on the hill and run across the top. I'm not afraid of the blustery sea in the distance, calling me in. Just me, a little human, padding alongside the ever present ferocity of nature. Bring it on, and we shall see if I learn to love to beast or not!

Born to Run

Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rhythms on hollow trees, we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. and when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash, lightening bolts through the bottom and middle- behold, the Running Man.
Running was indispensable; it was the way we survived and thrived and spread across the planet. You ran to eat and to avoid being eaten; you ran to find a mate and impress her, and with her you ran off to start a new life together. You had to love running or you wouldn't live to love anything else. And like everything else we love- everything we sentimentally call our 'passions' and 'desires'- its really an encoded ancestral necessity. We were born to run; we were born because we run.

From Born to run by Christopher McDougall,  I really recommend the read!

I just looked out my window to see a man running past, the typical Brighton type- beard, thin well-worn T-shirt, white running shoes- battling against the wind and hill, red faced and sweaty. I'm thinking I'm gonna put my runners on and follow him, see if I can impress him, this is 2013 after all! 

Friday 21 June 2013

Lift off, we have funding!

Running on empty has its Arts Council funding!!!

we are so unbelievably happy...

we are most definitely celebrating...

we are very thankful.

Now lets all go and make the best art we can possibly make.

Photography: Matthew Andrews

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Jackson Browne

Greig Cooke's funny and ironic contribution to this blog. A little tune from before I was born entitled 'Running on empty' by Jackson Browne
I find his slinky hair and the backing singers particularly fascinating...

The photoshoot

Me and Greig keeping warm on our desperately cold photoshoot w/ Matthew Andrews in the Sussex Downs last week... Snowfall in April

Monday 25 March 2013

when a lion wakes up...

"running unites our two most primal impulses: fear and pleasure. We run when we're scared, we run when we're ecstatic, we run away from our problems and we run around for a good time.
When things look worst,we run the most. We have seen distance running skyrocket, and its always in the midst of a national crisis. Maybe it was a coincidence.Or maybe there's a trigger in the human psyche, a coded response that activates our first and greatest survival skill when we sense the raptors approaching."

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, I knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up, it knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter if you're a lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up you better be running."

From Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

Saturday 16 March 2013

I am hungry

I am hungry
You are hungry
We are hungry
I will hunt
You will hunt
We will hunt 
you are stronger
I am fitter
you are lazy
I am angry

What the fuck are you mumbling on about?
Be more assertive
less habitual
You always do what you want anyway

It was simpler on my own
I'm not sure I want to cohabit this planet with you 
you primitive ape-like beast
but i like the way you smell and the warmth of your skin.

Can we eat now?
I am hungry 
You are hungry
We are hungry...

A new producer

I would like to welcome to the project my new producer (Producer- Artist development at South East Dance) Elizabeth Mischler.
We have been working together over the last few weeks on a GFA and booking of a tour for Running on Empty. Elizabeth is nothing short of outstanding, and I'm really excited about us producing this work together.

Everyone can run - it is a primitive instinct. Escape from danger. Hunt for food. Competition. Freedom. Gameplay. It reminds us to breathe. It makes us feel alive.

Running wild
Running out of time
Run away with me?
Running out of love
Running on Empty

Running on Empty tells the story of two people colliding over time, where a relationship filled with curiosity, intimacy and tension can suddenly explode into movement – until something has to be said.  Dance, text and song combine to take us through an ever changing, ever growing web: between peace and struggle, between reality and fantasy, between escape and confrontation.
Perpetual, repeating, like a cycle, like running...

 Im attracted to writing that is timeless, that speaks of simple human interaction, chance encounters and of deep-rooted connections, connections between physical and emotional mindsets, underpinned by these central questions:  ‘what gives a person the ability to run for a long distance?  And what is the connection between the physical act of running and the mind power involved in any action that repeats a pattern over and over again over time?’   Stamina and longevity are about more than just fitness, and can also be applied to human relationships and, finding further analogies for that, running away from something, going full pelt, a step too far, running on empty.(Antonia Grove)