The Theatre of Walking.

I am currently writing and directing a project which will be performed in June. It is called The Swallows. If you read some of my other blog posts, you will see that I often reflect on theatre projects or art projects I am working on and how they reflect to the wider world and also to the inner world. The Swallows is performed by Helen Morse, Ria Soemardjo and Helen Mountfort, with designer Joanne Mott, all extremely accomplished artists crossing different areas of performance and art. It is a sensory sound and vocal based work, genre bending in how it communicates across the forms of voice, music, text and design.

Helen Morse, Ria Soemardjo and Helen Mountfort in The Swallows. Image Darren Gill

I will probably reflect more on this work and process as we progress, as we are only just starting, and the thick of rehearsals are still a month away. There are always deep learnings for me from any rehearsal process. Indeed, in the past I have been at times very challenged by interpersonal communication, especially leading processes. I love it, I love bringing a vision to life with a team, especially across forms, but I have in the past struggled also as the old sense of unworthiness, connected to trauma, arose and took hold. I have in the past experienced deep unworthiness and shame after a highly successful project! As I heal I am able to observe and reflect on this more, and writing about it is definitely useful for me and hopefully also for others too. So I will come back to that.  

But for now, I really want to share with you about the work itself, especially the script. The work originated from an audio guided work composer and vocalist Ria Soemardjo and I were commissioned to create during COVID lockdowns. The idea of the work stems from the fact that I spend a lot of time walking. Walking has been very healing for me. Walking is the dramatic structure of a lot of this work. Because when we walk, there is a sort of theatre that takes place. It is the mundane, the passing rhythms of trees and birds, people and the interaction of wind, water and plants. But also, thoughts. How our thoughts become a theatre, interacting with the external world. As we walk, we are often deeply invested in the theatre of our life, not even aware we are engaging in theatre as we mull over things. We reflect over the series of intersecting narratives of our lives, playing themselves out. Really, for most of us it is a soap opera. With ongoing repeated episodes which basically have the same story line, just different characters and circumstances. To me, this interplay of our thoughts with the external world is just as fascinating as any story playing out between external characters.

As I walk, I now use it as an opportunity as much as I can to be present. Centred. To connect with nature, with the birds, with the here and now. With my heart. And with my higher self. Sometimes as I walk I talk with my higher self. I ask for guidance to navigate some of those story lines. My higher self lives in the future of my dreams, living naturally with courage to speak the truth, with independence, and unconditional love. My higher self knows how to fly above the ongoing cycles of circumstance and is no longer tethered to what others think or the opinions of anyone. My higher self creates from a place of inner alignment with my true nature, of love. My higher self is just love. It radiates love. Any discomfort I feel, is minimal compared with the love my higher self lives in. This is the source of courage my higher self has. Pure love. Expansion through love beyond the fear of daily circumstances. And I have plenty of those, believe me. A couple of blog posts ago I spoke about my housing situation, and other current things happening in my life. But my higher self always guides me to expand beyond those things. To regard them from a distance. To keep my focus on where I want to be, how I want to live, what I want to create. And the more I do this, all of the things which have held me back, the repeated cycles of lack of self worth from childhood, are no longer relevant. In fact, when I am in this space, I love those old parts of me which were full of fear and drama, as much as I love the freedom of my higher self. So my experience of walking is often like this, flicking between the drama of what ever is going on in my 3D world, and the freedom I feel to fly high above fear, connecting with my higher self towards the future I want.

The Swallows is really a work about this. It’s about someone who walks, mind going between the mundane dramas of life, and the will to fly. And as they walk they slowly free themselves, and become more and more birdlike, eventually like an embryonic bird in an egg, they become too big for the old universe they have inhabited. They naturally put a crack in the shell just through their natural expansion. And that is when they are able to effortlessly push the shell open and expand into a new universe, and everything in their environment follows, and suddenly they have a new expanded universe to play in.

This is the opening text of the Swallows. A prologue of sorts. It’s starts and ends with a bird at different stages of life. In between is the human story. Hope you enjoy.

1:

Dripping eye of invention

flap of wings

Squawking spill of life

X meets Y comes I

Dividing then dividing inside hardening membrane

Laid into a cup of hard mud and grass          

12 days unfurling under warmth

which comes and goes but mostly stays

mostly warm, I form

soft bone into wing

soft cartilage into beak

expanding like the universe I am.

We all are that universe.

expanding

till so compressed

the slightest movement cracks open

all previous notions.

Influx of air.

With no resistance

I stretch

this universe open

broken shell all around

naked skin against fledgling skin

first vibration of vocal folds

chit chit chit

eyes closed

chit chit chit

wriggling under soft under feathers

warmth

baring down.

Chit chit chit chit…..

Bookings are now open for this work here.

I strongly advise you book, if you can make it, as one show is already almost booked out!

By the way, if you are looking for a hoodie, we are just putting these organic cotton hoodies up in our shop (my son is helping, and this is my daughter modelling). I am shifting my focus away from my Etsy shop to put the things I love here on this site. These designs also are connected to walking, collecting plants along the way and turning them into art works which ended up on hoodies and t-shirts! They are so soft and warm. Check our shop out here if you are interested. I love moving between forms, not only in theatre, but also in life. I like being free to work in any form I like. Much love xx

Thank you!

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