Wednesday 27 February 2013

Planet of the...

You thought there was only you, you've never seen another one before...

and after some time, with much curiosity, and some trepidation, you begin to investigate the options... 


And after some more intimate time...

          And space

Cohabiting this planet

holding on for dear life



Photos of Antonia Grove, Greig Cooke and Jo McInnes by Zoe Manders
Taken at Greenwich Dance

Sunday 17 February 2013

What might we say?

What might we say?
What do we HAVE to say?

Toni and Greig Cooke by Zoe Manders

...that all ‘men’ are equal
... that we die alone
...that our minds are a constant surprise and an ever changing, growing,  disintegrating web of thoughts, knowledge, fantasy and fiction
...that  things are never as they seem
...that humans can communicate through silence, stillness and touch
...that we repeat and we repeat and we repeat, our mistakes and our habits
...that we forget, and we invent, and we blatantly lie
...that we rub each other up, we collide and fight and harbour grudges and start wars
...that we are all capable of loving and being loving
...that we all get tired, feel empty and find ways to fill up again

Monday 11 February 2013

Tribute to all my research collaborators

Inspired by yesterday's Bafta's I wanted to thank my research collaborators for all their input, before we step into the next phase of the project.

Jo McInnes

Thanks for helping me remember how sacred my connection with my body is, and for reminding me how much i love that. It took someone without any knowledge of making choreography to come in and approach it almost as a primitive practice, and direct it purely from gut and gut instinct. It is with this positive approach, responsiveness and a lack of cynicism and fear that you created a free world for us to play and enjoy dancing in. 
You will help us find a relationship with text and dialogue that is as connected and honest as the dance and movement, and that will be an exciting and challenging journey/process for us.

You get the thing i'm trying to say with this work. You have passion in abundance, and most of all I trust you!
cheers for that.

Greig Cooke

There was something about those 3 precious days we had right at the beginning that won't go away for me and Jo. It's often that way in the cycle of things creative. But we touched on something that feels like the heart of this piece. something about the ambiguity of the relationship, the equality of our roles, the playfulness, complexity, knowing-ness, familiarity, independence of character, softness, strength of will, freedom and honesty that has stuck. 
It was fun, and i look forward to more fun times. More running and more dancing with you. Thanks Greig.

Ben Webb 

Thanks Ben for your positive and generous nature, the gorgeous swathes of writing you produced for and about us, and in response to what you were seeing and feeling in the studio and out. 
Thanks for running all the way to the marina and back despite your body and mind giving you grief the entire way (I really didn't enjoy the run back that day either). For dancing.  For 'deadly lady', 'unfinished business' and for making 'Do you love me?' the most complicated question ever.

            Ben Duke and Ben Webb running

Ben Duke

                       Ben Duke and Toni by Matthew Andrews

Thanks Ben, you know I think you're brilliant. You certainly surprised me by how angry you are underneath that cool, calm, nice-man exterior! When given a green card, you gave as good as you got, and it pushed us both into challenging territory. Thanks for going there with me, i enjoyed beating you up and being gentle too. It was nice to be a child with you, not so nice being a teenager or a young adult, but really nice to be 90 years old together. 

Brad Birch
                      Brad Birch by Matthew Andrews

When you speak we all want to listen.
Thank you for the 20 page script you produced having written it over your xmas holiday, of which we only covered 2 pages, but it was brilliant and necessary all the same. Thanks for pointing out that when someone expresses a dislike for your jumper, there's probably a lot more to it. Thanks for sharing my dislike of wizards. I would like to meet an 'emollient nun' one day. It's an absolute pleasure to work with you.

Charlie Morrissey

I hope you know how much i appreciate your input into the work. Thanks for arriving on week 3 and getting stuck right in. Not only have i felt supported and inspired by your presence and direction, i also loved you stepping into the piece to dance with me. Thanks for chucking me around and allowing me to be fearless and completely trusting.
You and Jo make a complete team, I knew you would. Thanks for your curiosity, gut instinct and intuition. Let's keep digging together, its very exciting. 
                       Charlie by Matthew andrews

Lee Ross

'Thank you for the music, the song i'm singing, thanks for all the joy they're bringing...bla la la'
Been a joy to have you in the process. When you started playing for us that first day at the Nightingale I remembered how much i was missing a musician in the room. You've been writing some great tunes and lyrics for the piece and I can't wait for you and Scott to get together and have a little music session. 'I'm doing fine' is a mighty fine country tune, and i feel stoked to sing it. Looking forward to making more music with you, and finding different style songs and places for them to sit in the work.

                       Lee Ross by Matthew Andrews

Chris Fogg (producer)

Thank you chris. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all your support in making this happen. I am completely bereft to be loosing you as my producer and yet so pleased we have made a future role for you as mentor of the work. You are amazing inside and outside the studio, and we all loved having you there. You have a ridiculous amount of faith in my ability and vision, and I have so needed that support. Thank you.

Zoe Manders (administrator)

You are amazing, i don't know what i'd do without you! I love that you bumble along with me in the office and then go away and make everything happen all efficiently when i'm gone. Superzoe. 

Thursday 7 February 2013

Short beginnings

In preparation for this project I decided to sit and write the beginnings of some short stories, to help express something of what I might want to explore and to feed the subconscious minds of the collaborators. 
So i am sharing a few extracts from these short beginnings. 


1. The sprinter

I am a sprinter. A short burst, no holding back, living in the moment, fifth gear turbo acceleration kind of girl.
Long distance, sticking with it, pushing on through and in for the long haul just isn’t in my make-up.
Will it ever be? I don’t know.
Am I bound to an eternity of being this way? Or can I keep a steady pace, slow down and trudge through time, space and experiences.

I wanted to find the answers.

I met a guy recently who made me want to stay still, let time pass. Time after time after time.
He made me want to climb back into bed on sunny afternoons and bask in cotton sheets. To read a book, lots of books. To learn the guitar and spend hours perfecting a single chord change. To write a song. To write this story.

This is a story about a baby who never crawled. Who ran fearlessly towards icy waters. Who never lost a race. Who never lost at anything, but ran open and unprepared into the world and never looked back.


2. A Happy Christmas

As I lie naked on the cold kitchen tiles, next to a pool of my own vomit, I get to thinking what I’ve always known: we really should have installed that under floor heating we talked about. But then we never would have agreed on that, we never agreed on anything. He thought it an unnecessary waste of money and energy consumption, a luxury not to indulge in. The case was closed, no further discussion needed.

The revelation came at Christmas time. These things always surface this time of year, buried under a mass of twinkling lights, celebratory drinks and dark nights huddled up on the sofa. I was not in love with him.
I was well programmed in the art of celebrating Christmas. I knew that for the kids the anticipation began on December 1st. I knew I had to book babysitters early to avoid disappointment. I knew that putting up the tree was a full family affair. And I knew that things would never be the same again, no matter how hard I tried.

                       Exploded shed by Cornelia Parker

3. Inside his Ribcage

I’m running hard and fast now.
The cold air burns. It hits the warm air inside my lungs and both hot and cold begin to compete for space.
That’s when I feel it. As it enters into me I feel the pain and tightening.
And I remember what you told me.
I’m inside you, and you’re inside me.

I’d been storing you up, little by little, filling the cavity with pieces of you.
It started with small almost un-noticable fragments, splinters,
and then moved on to larger bite-size portions as I became more brazen and brave.
Like an addiction I could not stop, and there was always room for more.

But I don’t want you there anymore, I can’t breathe.
I want the space back inside my ribcage.

                     Jannis Kounellis, untitled 1979

4. Empty spaces

This room is empty, accept for me.
This home is empty, accept for me.
The space between us is growing, like forest clearance, exposing the earth to the sun, letting light flood in where once there was a thick canopy of green.
I have a table and four chairs, but they are empty, accept for me.
The walls are white and bare, and the air around me moves slowly and gently. No cool desert winds, no hot steamy nights, thick and humid and ready to burst.
I am invisible, behind these white walls, and yet they are like mirrors bouncing back at me. No escape. No hiding place.

I am not running, I am still. And there will be no chase. No adrenalin rush or sprint to the finish line. 
I have already been caught.