Too much of the stuff that I encounter and experience gets lost in the folds of memory, filed by default because of a hesitation to respond quickly, and an ensuing notion that temporal distance from an experience either renders commentary redundant or creates an expectation of profundity. So here is a habit-breaker – a taste of a performance festival that I left two hours ago.
Chris Bailey’s eight minute opening to the festival left an impression on me despite its length – there’s something utterly delicious in a performer taking their time on stage, being confident in their presence and in the constructs they have chosen to adopt to both deliver drama and subvert expectation.
The Oh Fuck Moment, by Chris Thorpe and Hannah Jane Walker, lived up to its critical acclaim and recommendation. It boldly displays the potency of poetry and exposes the audience to one another, making the act of viewing visible. It made me feel uncomfortable, nauseous even, and by extension weak, yet its message is empowering:
We are not perfect beings who occasionally fuck up; we are fuck-ups, who occasionally achieve perfection.
Molly Naylor’s beautiful story, My Robot Heart, was accompanied by The Middle Ones, whose gentle music creates the perfect mood to support this simple and endearing tale of love. Though I wondered whether the ending should wrap things up so completely, the piece showed me how highly I value economic storytelling.
Little Bulb’s Goose Party was a superbly energetic end to day one – if the catchy music wasn’t enough in part one, the totally whacky party of part two, replete with a shower of bubbles for the enthusiastic dancing audience, couldn’t fail to win me over. Five talented musicians, each with a varied repertoire of instruments and an inherent sense of the theatricality of a gig: simply stupendous.
My extraordinarily high expectations for Ross Sutherland’s mixtape were expertly exceeded with a humble, lyrical, honest and touching performance of a work-in-progress. Exploring a technique that uses the rhythm of screen to dictate the composition of poetry, Ross discovers notes on familial love and loss in the opening credits of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
I was eager to see ‘A conversation with…’ because I’m a daughter that dotes on her father, and because I have massive respect for Hannah Nicklin. I wasn’t, however, expecting such precision: an intimate audience for an intimate confession; a careful construction of a protester; an honest account of a perceived failure; a physical artefact passed from palm to palm; and a surprising revelation that doesn’t just blur the lines but suggests art is life, and life is art.
What a weekend.