Dramaturgical Analysis of the Final Performance

‘As It Appears In Dreams’ was built upon the essences, emotions, and narratives of the core characters of Chekov’s ‘The Seagull’ in an exploration of artistic identity. The performance, existing within what we as the creators felt to be an ‘artistic purgatory’, raises a core question of what it means to be an artist, allowing the audience to experience such questionings in a state of immersion that presents a particular character’s perspective. For this reason no two experiences, or ‘journeys’, will provide the same audience experience, and in turn each journey deserves its own dramaturgical analysis, as well as an overarching one. For this reason this analysis is divided between a brief overall dramaturgical analysis and a more detailed, specific one for the ‘Trigorin Experience’, the aspect of the performance I created.

Overall Analysis

The performance, due to the projects prescribed limitations – its occurrence in Regent’s Park, its sound basis, the element of gig-theatre – meant that an overall cohesion occurred. However each journey was designed so neatly with the specifics of the character who informed it, that each bore traits entirely of its own. In turn, to discuss the dramaturgy of the piece it seems clear to highlight the measures taken to inform a continuous experience between each journey and the finale.

Aesthetically the finale took on aspects of various performances, such as the red boats from the Trigorin experience, and the bottles from the Masha experience. The key continuation however was found in the undertaking of character essences by members of the finale, this being in some cases clearer and smoother than others. The passing over of the underskirt between the Arkadina Experience and the Arkadina embodied in the finale (Celeste Combes) creating a linear structure within their piece that their audience observed, so they could follow the metamorphosis of the traits of the character they had embodied or followed. Moreover, the essence of Masha (Audree Barve) was almost guarded by the members of the Masha experience, who stayed close to her bar, and undertook tasks of serving drinks alongside their counterpart. Some crossovers were more subtle, such as between the two Konstantin’s, one who held the space and the other who controlled it as their production (Reka Pavel and Matt Powell respectively); others were without are clear connection, but this could arguably be a portrait of the dreamlike quality of much of the experience; because as an audience you only participated in one piece, aspects of the finale were totally unexplained, much like parts of dreams that appear nonsensical or totally irrelevant.

In interpreting other dramaturgical decisions made within the finale it feels difficult to speak of them, as much of the piece I was not party to, and did not have a hand in making, and so am not at liberty to discuss.

 

Trigorin Experience Analysis

It seems somewhat ironic the depth and magnitude of our piece and all its layers when so few people experienced it. Nonetheless, our piece held a coherency and consideration I feel greatly proud of, especially dramaturgically.

Firstly, the element of the game and its recurring presence came from an understanding of Trigorin as a man; he thirsts for power over his artistic life which he entirely lacks, and yet he plays with people on a personal level, for no purpose other than to fulfill himself. The game became overarching as well as present on specific levels, and my own role within the piece adopted the persona of the ‘game maker’; in a way Trigorin sometimes appears I was omniscient, always appearing at points of importance for guidance or concern, and then providing the obstruction at the end of the piece, one that puts the audience of the defensive.

The introduction of following Conor within the piece provided the incentive for audience participation; he represents that which is desired, but is just out of reach. For us Conor embodied the lost youth of Trigorin, but in developing the script this became less explicit, leaving interpretation open, so that Conor could embody whatever the specific audience member desired.

We introduced elements into our audio and into the reality of the piece to enforce the ideas of a dreamworld. In the opening of the script reference is made to “having followed him [Conor] into sleep”, while the chessboard used in our piece, presenting only one piece, was to aid in forming an undertone of the eerie and otherworldly. We used various textures in the sound to add to this.

Finally, the use of the origami boats was an indirect reference to Trigorin, as a character who is referenced to spend much time by the lake fishing, within The Seagull. The boats and their close placement to water throughout the journey was a subtle tie to this element of the source text, but also provided a platform for us to add a textual element to, this again being a direct reference to Trigorin’s art. The poem written that was formed on the notes could be read in two ways:

Only traces of me remain
                                             Fading
                                             Fading
                                             Fading
                                                         Into days
                                                        Into lovers limbs and strangers faces
                                                        Into empty pages

Or as follows:

Only traces of me remain
                                 Fading into days
                                 Fading into lovers limbs and strangers faces
                                 Fading into empty pages

This decision to construct a poem in two ways was to give the audience autonomy in how they themselves would write it. Though no reference was made to this during our piece, we made enough notes to ensure the audience could keep them, with the hope they would go and re-read them, finding their own meaning within them. We felt this to be a was to open the question of artistic identity back into reality; to give the audience member themselves tools to form their own piece with its own meanings.

Movement Reflection

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It seems awfully hard to reflect on only movement from this term and the year as a whole, when I feel I’m always moving. It’s ingrained in all I do; I’m not a person who really knows stillness well. If there’s one thing I want to reflect on, before I go into actual detail on the actual movement topics of this assessment, it’s how grateful I am for movement this year. I think my body has always felt a little alien to me, something other. I have fought it for a long time and in so little time I have not only come to terms with it, but found its power. Something I think is quite special.

Very little of my part in the immersive project was movement focused, which was something I really struggled with. Even during the performance week when we hurriedly adopted a process for filling the space in the finale, there was no energy in it. I feel I am a person who works hard even when the work feels stilted or empty, but such last minute planning came a lack of care, at least on my part if not on others. I have come to realize in all my work I like structure, a prescribed period of time, and mutual understanding that these retain their body, and I am aware I need to work on this to better my ability to cope with sudden stresses or changes in the rehearsal process.

So on the note of working with ensemble connection, I didn’t feel that this term. I think we lost a lot of what we were aiming for, for more reasons than anyone cares to admit. But I won’t deny the moments I felt those connections during this term, such as the afternoon of the intimacy workshop, and in other parts of the year. I have come to feel that for all the individuals in our room movement is a place we can find a level playing field; in movement sessions I rarely notice the tensions or natures of the people, only the sensation of gravity and the bodies cooperating with it. So although this term hasn’t truly built the ensemble we hoped for, I think to an extent we partly had it anyway.

Exploring space has been one of my highlights of my growing movement practice. Space, in my mind, is only known through your body and the sensations it produces, and though our piece didn’t incorporate choreographed movement, I spent several mornings in Regent’s Park waiting for Conor and discovering what it feels like to dance, specifically, in an outdoor space. Height and travel become limitless, which as my interest in contemporary broadens, really excites me, and I envision (and hope) some of my work will take place outdoors to further discover how we move in a seemingly limitless space.

Observing and engaging with Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints was a highlight of term two for me, and I really wish we’d had more time on it. Stripping back movement to passage through an arena-like square and then adding in new considerations gave me a new process through which to approach movement-creation. In much of my interest lying in dance stripping back in not always a first approach, but it really allowed me to consider how to instigate purpose in movement, and to discover how tempo, gesture and repetition can better enunciate a character, narrative or emotion than textual work can. I enjoy working through the elements of viewpoints when dancing or teaching dance, particularly in a warm up, and I am working to adopt its processes in developing movement within the play In Addition that I am working on over the summer.

The intimacy workshop was hugely enjoyable, though like much of this term, too short to feeling wholly engaged in the process. The distinction between personal and professional really interests me, because in the arts it often blurs, and finding balance between work and artistic endeavor is far more difficult than many anticipate. I find the approach to dealing with intimate scenes that Ita has developed so interesting, and such an invitation to make an experience always seen as awkward not only less daunting, but enjoyable. It has also made me consider how I in acting or performing, may learn to deal with expression some emotional truths of my own, to bring power to my performance. I think there’s something to be said of introducing an intimacy process on yourself, to find a balance between yielding experience as a force for expression, and unearthing things that we are not prepared to confront. Nonetheless, even in our rehearsals of In Addition we have began to adopt an openness to approaching physical contact and movement, to ensure the comfort of myself and Lewis (the other performer). This has made the whole process more enjoyable and less challenging.

I feel this is now extremely long and winding, but I just want to finish on a note of gratitude and a look to the future. This has been the year I have undertaken the least dance ever, and yet somehow I have found my moving body, as I coin it. I think there’s something to be said about how in confronting yourself, you find comfort in your own skin, and for that I am so humbled. Now I look forward to developing a dance and choreographic based practice, and seeking new journeys in which my seeming ‘short dancing life’ doesn’t feel like a limitation, but a strength.

Immersive Project Reflection : Week Eight

Have you enjoyed this term?

Hello.

It feels nice to meet here, considering most of the entries in this journal are back-dated. But here we are, in the present. I feel about this journal how I’ve felt about much of this term – frustrated by the lack of effort I’ve put into it but at the same time so detached from it being in a form I don’t like. This is samey, devoid of any of the creativity of my other journals. I get it – I understand why we’re doing it this way, but at the same time it has zapped a lot of the fun out of journalling for me.

This term has been a little like that. Though I’ve enjoyed parts of it – particularly working with Conor – some elements of the term really took away the joy of creating a performance. Not all of it could’ve been helped or controlled, and I am a believer that some things are meant to happen.

But more to the point, I’m glad they did. You learn a lot from making work you don’t really like. It’s actually probably more useful than making work you do like. Yes it lacks a creative enrichment, but it’s not entirely without it. More to the point it’s the other things you gain that make the experience worthwhile; perseverance, working in a team, self-motivation. The list is actually pretty endless.

For me, this term was about finding the joy in things that aren’t for you. And yes, you could argue this isn’t school, and we should be doing things we enjoy. But with something so specific as Performance Art or Design For Stage you’re never going to please everyone. Imagine how boring it’d be if you did. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth and learn what it’s like to build something beautiful out of something that’s ultimately grey. Building out of hatred is far easier than building out of boredom.

And I think we managed it. I think it collapsed and rose and did all sorts of strange things but I made something I’m proud of, and something that makes me proud of all those people. Fundamentally I’m so happy for all the generous and loving people who have come into my life through this, and for all the people who came before who’s love I have built upon. I wouldn’t want to be in this industry without that, and to me that’s the best thing this term could have ever provided.

Would I make immersive theatre again?

It’s hard to say. It’s not where my interests lie currently. And I wouldn’t have made it the way we did. But I could be persuaded. Never say never and all.

Shows Two and Three : Week Seven

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This photograph makes me laugh so much. Thank you Dad for calling my sweet eating so ‘Kate Moss’.

The matinee, like so many second shows, was a little downturn. I was fit to collapse by the end of our piece, and the finale lost the previous night’s energy.

But then Mum and Dad came, and they got to meet Audree and Jamie and Wunmi, and the day was glowing, and there was a lot of smiling for no reason, and that made it all so much lighter. We were all exhausted and a little done, but there was some peace in this day.

The last show was wonderful, it was exactly what I wanted it to be. Rada, our audience, loved ours. When i approached her during the piece she looked so afraid of me, so apprehensive about the end coming, and it was as though the words she’d been listening to had fused with her own mind. It had worked, after all.

Show ends. Mum, Dad, Wunmi. Izzy and her beautiful smile. So many people. A cold cider on my cheeks. The get out. The room coming apart. Uber to school. Flight cases and Ana’s birthday. Pub. A decision to not go out. Macdonalds till 1am with Aoife and Matt. Crying on the way home. Sparkling.

Show One : Week Seven

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This was my favourite night. Our audience member, Thembe, was wonderful. He seemed so into it, so absorbed in the story. And then the finale became its own being. Communication was what we’d been missing, and we found it on this day, and I think there was a lot of joy in that.

Dress Run – No Audience : Week Seven

We’re still pretty mad about this.

We worked SO HARD. SO DAMN HARD. I don’t think we’ve ever been so excited as we were when we shared our piece with Andrea and Duska this afternoon, and they told us how much they enjoyed it, and that they thought we’d really taken the brief and made it our own.

And then we didn’t get an audience member for the dress run.

I’m not really that mad, I wasn’t even at the time. I think my gut instinct told me we were fine, because we didn’t need to change much, because it didn’t really matter. In the end making a performance for one meant it was always completely unpredictable. You couldn’t count on anything. And so whether we had an audience on wednesday or not, it didn’t necessarily prepare us any more or less for the real shows.

It felt ropey, but as though all the things that went wrong were fixable. And we had time now, nothing else to think or worry about, we just had to build it up.

 

Boat Making And Lost Audio : Week Seven

Safe to say, I am not a sound designer. Using Adobe Audition this term was mildly terrifying, but also a lot of fun. However, it didn’t half confuse the hell out of me, and though I get why it happened, it was mildly heartbreaking to lose the cuts of our audio we spent all of the monday of this week on. I was having a rough week and to come in at 8:30 on tuesday morning thinking there wasn’t much left to do and find out all the work I’d done till late on monday was gone was shit. Actual shit.

Conor as always was such a light of optimism. I was much more ‘the-end-is-nigh’ kinda vibe. It was fixable, easily, but it would need the whole day. We were now nowhere near ready to show our piece, and it was the day before the dress run.

This to me epitomised the fault of this term. So little time seemed to have been given over to going through audio editing, rehearsing, experimenting. And so now in the pivotal moment we were swiftly running out of time to fix this problem.

But we did. We didn’t show our piece but we re-edited the script, re-recorded it, and then stayed until 10 in the design studio editing it. It was fun, we had Aoife and Anna and Matt and a lot of origami boats to make, and a lot of paper to rip. It was fun, more than anything. Even though I spent most of the time plugged into the computer, hearing repeats of my own voice over and over, it didn’t matter. We were a team, and I think we were determined to enjoy the week whatever happened.

‘Longing’ – The Final Script : Week Seven

Hello.

Welcome to As It Appears In Dreams, an immersive performance. For part of this experience, you will be the only audience member. Don’t worry, you’re quite safe, the headphones will explain everything you have to do.

You’re about to be handed an envelope, containing an emergency map of Regent’s Park, in case you at any point feel unsafe or lost. Please only open in case of such an emergency, which is unlikely to happen. Someone is always close at hand if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

Please let me know if you feel your headphones are too quiet or too loud?

Are you ready? Wonderful.

Now, wave goodbye. I’ll be seeing you very soon.

Rachel leaves, going out of the park. Conor, who is incognito, takes off his coat, and starts to walk towards the lake.

On arriving at the park, you stop at the entrance, feeling exhausted from a day of searching. You’ve been all over the city. It’s felt like days, weeks even. There’s a small sense of relief in your chest, and you’re quite grateful your search has taken you away from the busy streets into a green, open space, a canopy of leaves shielding you from the sky above. You move to the tree on your left, (pause) feeling out for the caress of rough bark underneath your fingertips. There’s so much life here, you feel it beneath your hands and under your feet. The park has rejuvenated you.

You look ahead towards the lake, (beat) and there he is. It feels as though the red of his shirt has taunted you for so long, you might as well have followed him into sleep. You can only see the back of his head, but it’s as though his sly, charming smile is looking right at you. Teasing you. He wants to keep playing the game. He wants you to follow. And you know, for all your doubts you just can’t help but keep chasing him.

Slowly, you step away from the tree and start moving towards him. He’s so close after all. And this game is only just beginning.

Audience member walks to water’s edge/Conor. On almost reaching him, Conor places red origami boat 1 on the ground, containing miniature Conor. Delay.

You watch as he places something, in the same shade of red as his shirt, on the ground. It’s tiny, toy-like, but you know it’s for you. Your pace quickens, wanting to get close, but so does his, as he turns left, heading away, further up the path.

You stop and watch him, feeling torn between what he’s left and where he’s going. Do you follow? Or reach out for what might be a clue? You head towards the lakeside – you can’t ignore the gift he’s left for you.

You kneel down, and pick up what appears to be a small, red, origami boat. You can’t deny it’s pretty well-made, the folds perfectly in line. Inside is a small miniature man, seeming to resemble the very man you’re following, red shirt and all. You’re bewildered, frustrated. What’s it all meant to mean?

You turn the boat over and over in your hands. It’s simple, delicate, but at the same time clever. How it was made eludes you.

You notice on the sail, in small hand-writing it says, ‘open me’.

Delay.

Feverishly you do, carefully unfolding and smoothing out the creases until the boat has disappeared into a flat sheet of paper.

Delay.

On it is a note. It reads:

‘Only traces of me remain.’

Delay

You read it over and over. Traces. Remain. Me.

You look back to the small figure, now in your hand. It feels whole, tangible. Sturdy but at the same time, as though if it were to fall, it would shatter, turning to dust.

‘Only traces of me remain’. It echoes through your mind. You keep a hold of the note, and hold the miniature figure in your hand, protecting it.

Looking up, you see him, slightly distant but still distinguishable. You turn left and carry on up the path, continuing to follow him, though keeping a distance. Where is he going? Why does he want you to follow? You wonder why you’re playing this game, but at the same time it’s thrilling.

Musical Interlude. Delay.

You pass the boathouse on your right, a small circular pond on the left. You see him turn a corner, disappearing into the shrubbery. You keep following, turning right towards a blue bridge.

Delay.

Walking across the bridge, you stop and look right – a parting in the trees allowing you to see across the lake. It’s tranquil, picturesque. You could look at this view forever, but a glint of red catches your eye. He’s close. You keep moving.

Delay.

Stepping off the bridge, you head left, the surrounding wilderness pulling you into the dark metal archways that rise from the ground to meet the trees. Passing underneath you are washed with dappled light and a fleeting feeling of peace. You find yourself reaching up towards the branches that entangle the archway. (Beat)

Nothing matters. The world might as well be empty and an eternity could pass but nothing would change in this place.

Delay

The archway guides you to face the lake. You stop in the last arch, and obnoxiously there he is, facing the water. He seems to be bent over something, his shoulders hunched forward. By his feet is another red object – it must be another boat, another message. He slowly places a second and a third by his feet.

He turns, his gaze meets yours, he’s smiling at you – there is something behind his eyes. You can tell he’s enjoying this. All the moves and countermoves. Suddenly the park no longer feels like a haven. It’s a game board, and you don’t know who is a piece and who is a player.

He’s on the move again, moving away from the lake, away from this brief moment of respite, on over another bridge. This time there’s no doubt in your mind – you walk directly to those little red boats, knowing he won’t be far ahead.

15 second delay

You reach down, picking up all the boats at once. You need no instruction this time – you begin to unfold the little gift. The paper seems to unfurl itself in your hands now, the sharp folds of the boat no longer seeming complicated.

You open one note, and there’s one word splayed across the centre of the page:

Delay

Fading.

Pause

That’s all? You start opening another note, your fingers fumbling, wanting the next word.

Delay

The next one reads, again:

Fading.

Delay

As you go to open the final boat you sense you already know what it says.

Fading.

Beat

You hold them together, looking from one version of the word to the other, its shape disappearing into its very meaning. You look out across the lake, the reflection of the trees shimmering on the surface of the water. It feels like an illusion now.

You turn, he’s watching you from the bridge, his face obscured by leaves and branches. You see his arm rise up, his hand beckoning you.

You move first this time, turning and heading straight for the bridge on which he stands, purposeful but you still keeping your distance.

He’s on the move again, his pace slightly faster than before. Is he in a hurry? Or just trying to lose you? You feel your breath sharply hit the inside of your lungs, the fear of losing sight of him taking its toll.

4 second delay

You reach the other side, the path opening out into a wide circle surrounded by trees. You watch as he walks toward a smaller dirt path, heading into the woodland. You instinctively move towards him, the sounds of other people seeming to be washed out by his footsteps, his tread seeming to echo through the surrounding trees.

30 second delay.

You’ve lost sight of him. A sinking feeling pervades through your stomach, but you know which path he took. You make your way towards it, this path formed not by concrete but by the many feet that have passed along it before you. You look along it, and see a glimpse of red. He’s there, he’s not as far ahead as you feared.

You look up, and he’s standing underneath a large oak tree, its expansive branches creating a sheltered space. You move along the path, seeking him out. His stopping seems deliberate, almost an invitation. You feel like this time, approaching is necessary.

Delay

As you get closer you notice there are lines drawn onto the trunk of the tree, in white chalk. He’s there, looking over the makeshift game board he’s created. He looks up at you. It’s the first time you’ve really seen his face, been able to make out the colour of his eyes. He looks back at the board, and then makes his first move.

Musical Interlude. 20 second delay. 

Suddenly he moves off, the game board left entirely intact. He’s heading down the path, out of the trees, seeming not to care who won or lost. You watch him saunter off, passing a tree and heading out into the light.

You follow, suddenly feeling a weight in your hand. It’s the miniature figure. Though you’ve held onto him the entire time you’d forgotten he was there. You hold him up, next to the man walking away from you, and wonder what all the games mean. Its weight in your hand is a reassurance, though why you don’t know.

Keeping a hold of it, you carry on along the path. You’re back on the chase, once again keeping your distance.

1:30 Delay

You see you’re nearing the end of this path, nearing a junction that appears to spread out in many directions. He’s nearing the end – which way will he go? Suddenly he stops and turns. You stop too, watching. He pulls out something red – another boat – from his pocket, and places it on the ground. You start moving towards it, he sees and goes on, carrying on towards the main path.

Short Delay

You near it, you bend down and reach for it, and begin swiftly unfolding and unfolding. It’s as though he has made a move you can’t quite follow, but this is the clue. The game changer, as it were.

It takes a moment to decipher the slanted handwriting. It reads:

Delay

‘Into days.’

Delay

It echoes in your mind alongside all the words that have come before. Fading, traces, fading, only, me. Your body moves you forward, out onto the main path, the need to follow no longer a curiosity, but a longing.

10 second delay

You pass over the crossroads, taking the path to the left of the bridge, the red of his shirt a beacon in the sea of green. The sounds of slowly shifting water come from the lake on your right, and a convergence of trees shields you. Though this strange pursuit pushes you on, you know there’s no hurry. Time slows here.

1:40 Delay

 You see him abruptly turn right, off the path towards the lake. Your pace slows, and for the first time you realize there’s a great part of you that doesn’t want this to end.

30 second delay.

You turn the corner, stepping down into what must be a lookout point. The sound of the water grows louder, and you notice the waterfowl swimming between the two islands in the lake.

He’s there, sitting on one side of a chessboard. He’s playing blacks, only there’s one piece present. It’s his king, sitting almost in the centre of the board. He’s looking over it, his brow furrowed, as though he’s waiting for his opposition to make the next move.

Bewilderment passes through you. Then you remember, the miniature figure. It’s still in your hand, but so often forgotten now it’s as though he’s become a part of you, his small frame fusing into your skin.

You hold him up, then look back at the board, and that’s when it hits you. This game didn’t start at this board, or the noughts and crosses board that came before. It started the moment you picked up that first note, the moment you decided to hold onto the piece that’s in your hand now.

Without thinking, you place your piece on the board.

5 second delay

There’s a moment, the tension between you and this man you’re playing against almost a tangible, physical thing. Then his head drops slightly, before looking up to meet your eyes. He smiles, almost sadly, at you as he stands up.

Pause

Immediately he goes past you, back out onto the path.

You look back at the board and there it is. Another red boat.

Without thinking you reach down and pick it up, unfolding its points and creases.

5 second delay

It reads:

‘Into lovers limbs and strangers faces.’

Delay

You want a moment to sit and question all this, but an urgency fills you. You too step out of the lookout and turn right, continuing along the path after him.

20 second delay.

You feel a calmness return as the man puts distance between the two of you again. Each moment of closeness brings out a slight fear in you, though you know its not a fear of this man and what he might do. It’s deeper than that. It’s a fear of the end of this chase, this journey. Of what it would mean to truly catch him, or even worse, to lose him altogether.

15 second delay

The path seems to curve. You look right, and notice you’ve reached what seems to be the tip of the lake, the bank circling back around, creating an seemingly endless body of water.

He takes a fork on the right, guiding you on. You keep your distance still, waiting for him to do something, make a new move, make a board appear from nothing. But he doesn’t. He just walks on.

Slight murmuring starts.

Suddenly the trees around the path disappear, and you see a green expanse in front of you. Is it just you or does his pace quicken a little? What’s he trying to reach? What else could be waiting up the path? An anxiety begins to whisper in your mind, a tightness spreading through your chest. You keep following.

1:40 Delay

You notice you have passed under a canopy of trees. He’s still going, rushing almost. You continue, and then you see her. A woman in a white dress, waiting for him.

You freeze, in shock. She’s facing him, smiling at him as he moves towards her. The woman is small, her hair cut short. You don’t know why but she seems familiar.

You watch them, wishing you could reach out and pluck her out of the frame.

Until now you had no idea how intensely you felt about this man.

The white of her dress seems blinding.

Delay

You watch as they turn to one another and embrace. It’s a moment of warmth but it tears at what might as well be the very fabric of your soul.

The woman turns to you, moving along the path towards you. You want to run but it’s as though your anger has poured out like molten lava over the ground, fusing you to the very spot you stand on. You know she’s coming to you, and you have to stay.

Delay

She comes right up to you, staring into your face. Her’s is blank, unreadable. She reaches down and pulls something, a red boat, from her pocket, and hands it to you.

You take it, watching her face. She says nothing, but there’s a glint of mischief in her eye, before she turns and walks away.

Delay

You look back to the man in the red shirt. He looks up at you. He’s waiting for you to open it.

Delay

The paper comes undone. You notice your hands are shaking a little.

Delay

The words are sprawled across the corner of the paper:

‘Into empty pages.’

Delay

You look back to the man in the red shirt. He’s not looking at you anymore, he’s watching the woman as she walks away.

Delay

You know you should keep moving, go on towards him. And yet your feet still feel stuck, the image of this man and woman and their parting fused in your mind.

He lifts an arm, beckons. Eventually you go on.

Delay

The journey seems to become a haze, all the moves and counters and this strange tandem. A chessboard with only two kings, a game of noughts and crosses that’ll fade with the morning rain. It’s all collapsed into this. Something that no longer feels like a game.

Delay

The man heads out a gate. You follow, feeling the tautness of an invisible string between you. He stops and turns at the gate, making sure you’re there, still following. Something in you makes you lift an arm and wave. He smiles and waves back, before turning and continuing right along the path.

You follow, realizing there’s nothing game-like about this anymore. That part of the journey is over, all that’s left is to follow.

You head out of the gate, coming to a roadside. You follow him on, perfectly pruned hedges on your right. He keeps looking over his shoulder, checking you’re there. Something tells you he’s comforted by your presence.

You watch as he pulls another red boat out of his pocket. He passes it between his hands, and then slowly lifts it up, beginning to let it rise and fall with an imaginary tide. The man begins to turn around and around as he walks, letting the boat sail through the air. You smile at his childishness, at his freedom.

Delay with murmurs. Begins to build.

Abruptly he stops on the path. Something makes you stop too, watching him, waiting for him to motion, to make another move. Perhaps the game isn’t over after all.

He does nothing. There’s no board to manoeuvre, no pieces anymore. You don’t even have his miniature, you left it behind long ago.

You walk towards him.

Delay

He still does nothing. You walk up right behind him and stop. He knows you’re there. You can see his shoulders rising and falling, the life moving in and out of him.

Your hand lifts up, and gently you place it on his shoulder. It’s as though your touch brings him back to life, and he turns to face you. There’s a look on his face you can’t quite read. He looks down at the boat in his hands, and then passes it to you.

And there it is. The final move.

You unfold the paper, all the other notes still in your hand. Fading, remains, into days, lovers, traces, pages, me, empty faces. All the words and all their meanings cascade upon you.

You flatten out the sheet of paper. It reads:

Delay

‘Come and find me.’

Immediately you look up into his face, but it’s too late, he’s turning, walking away.

Delay

You look down at the words. Come and find me. If this is the final move then it feels unexpected. All the notes and all the words that came before it were riddles, metaphors. Lines of a poem you couldn’t quite follow. But this, this is an instruction.

Come and find me.

You look up and he’s there, ahead, growing distant. Come and find me.

Come and find me.

Delay

You follow.

Delay

Find me.

Into Into into –

Follow.

A gameboard made of

The path and the road curve in what feels like a perfect circle. You pass entrances on your right, into houses, into other parts of the park, but all are ignored. Left to explore on other days. All that matters is the man and the smattering of red that seems to fill your vision.

Fading. Fading. Fading.

Keep walking.

Into days. Into lovers limbs and stranger’s faces. Into empty pages.

Only traces –

Fading Fading –

Keep following me.

Days limbs pages days limbs days pages

Unfolding and unfolding

Abruptly he turns right, into a gateway. You follow, your pace as quick as his. Your close so –

Only traces –

Come and find me.

He goes inside and you follow.

Lovers limbs and –

Only traces of me remain

Come and find me.

Empty empty empty pages.

Follow

Moves and counter moves.

Come and find me

Only traces                 fading

Into days into lovers limbs into days                      Purgatory

FADING FADING FADING

Moves and counter moves

A chess board with only two kings

Empty pages                                      A woman in a white dress

What would happen if you didn’t follow?

Of me remain                        Welcome to purgatory                      Traces

the image of this man and woman and their parting fused in your       fading

Into into into

Welcome to purgatory                      noughts and crosses

Lovers limbs and empty faces

A man in a red shirt

Welcome to purgatory

The audio dissolves in anarchy.

Building Purgatory Live : Week Six

Watching the finale as it was during the Week Six Presentations really inspired me. Being in that room, watching as these characters we have so painstakingly undertaken were represented in ‘essence’, it felt strangely tranquil. As though the events in that room could be happening over and over again for all eternity, these people never quite managing to find peace.

It was purgatory. It felt like it at least. As though all the walking performances were an invitation in. It was gratifying to see how it all came together into a strange cohesion. Even though I’d disagreed with the initial themes of the piece, this concept of the waiting room was one I loved, and seeing it in action made the piece real to me.

Much of this week was spent writing the rest of our script, and making our props. It was slow and hard, and on the friday I turned to Conor and asked if he’d mind if I just sat and finished the script. He was more than happy for me to do it, as he worked on his miniature self.

I put some music on and wrote, and that was for me when it became a story. My novel hat came on and all else fell away until there was nothing but continuous streams of words that lined the path we were taking. It felt like we’d jumped a hurdle when we finished it.

Much of this week was also dedicated to getting the online marketing up and running. Eventbrite. Facebook. Instagram. Agata’s drawing splayed across the internet, over emails, around school. Tickets started to go.