Oedipus Stadt @ Deutsches Theater, Berlin

This new translation which premiered with the Deutsches Theater (Berlin) in August 2012 takes the many plays comprising the Oedipus myth and combines them; we begin with Oedipus Rex, are thrust into Seven Against Thebes after his blinding, see a sprinkling of The Phonecian Women (and I am quite certain Oedipus at Kolonus, though my very dodgy German may betray me) and finally we fall into Antigone. All of this happens in just a couple short hours. The result of combining the pieces of the myth from their respective longer plays into shorter bits is that the hubris of this family, their fatal flaw, is crystal clear. Each of the characters dives into power, willful to set things "right", and each of them learns of their terrible error and the pain it causes. 

First, the staging - within a traditional theatre space, the stage has been morphed into a white bowl, with stark and visible lighting, within which rests a large unfinished wooden curve extending from the front row of the audience up the back wall. The actors enter and exit down log runways on either side of the curve stage, echoing their footsteps in loud shoes. Every movement within this space was highly specified, self-aware and yet highly emotionally connected. It is as if the concept of verfremmdungseffekt is as inherent as breathing for these performers. There were countless visual moments which caught me in the pit of my stomach, but none more so than the moment toward the end of Seven Against Thebes/beginning of Antigone in which the characters (at varying times and sometimes together) ran up the curve, then slid down, countless times, exhausting themselves yet continuing to push on in futility. The simplicity of the direction was outstanding.  

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the brilliant Susanne Wolff. The usher we spoke with in advance of the show advised that she has built a career on playing men, and in this instance was the most powerful Kreon I could have imagined. Strong and wilful, she played such an understated fiery soul, peppered with beautiful physical work. I could not take my eyes from her, and as the piece progressed into Antigone, when she assumed a key role, this feeling grew. There was a moment when Menoikus was arguing, and physically got right up into her face. A lesser performer would have done something, even minute, to indicate their displeasure. Wolff did absolutely nothing, with chilling effect. In short, she was unbelievable. 

I am extremely grateful to have happened upon this in my short time in Berlin; it has excited me to consider returning to my own grapple with the Greeks, and Antigone specifically, No More Prayers. 

Steve Reich's Chamber Music - at WSO New Music Festival (Winnipeg)

Steve Reich is a name unknown to many, however his influence is heard in the music many of us listen to day to day. Considered to be a "father" of the minimalist movement in music, Reich's work has served as inspiration for countless numbers of the contemporary indie and dance music creators. He is, without exaggeration, one of the most exciting artists living and practicing today.

31 January the WSO New Music Festival featured 4 of his chamber pieces in concert, as part of their feature of Reich for this year's festival.

Opening with a performance of his piece, Clapping Music, the evening began with excitement. The piece, written for rhythms created only by 4 sets of hands, hearkens to folk music traditions such as flamenco or african drumming. As the rhythms depart from one another to syncopation, then intertwine seamlessly, the phasing of the same instrument making the same sound is almost trance-inducing.

Next, a quartet of string musicians from the WSO performed Reich's moving Different Trains. Reich is one of (if not the) first to begin experimenting with recorded sound and live sound in a musical setting, allowing the two to converse. Different trains begins with recorded sounds of America Before the War - train destinations, and a rhythmic chugging created when the recorded and live violins work together. Seamlessly, though, the trains and voice overs grow ominous, and the recordings are no longer happy destinations, but statements of fear. My 8 year old daughter attended the concert with me, and was moved to tears over the feelings of uneasiness induced by the second movement. The third movement's sounds reflect what we heard in the first, but our experience of them differs after having heard the second movement and its danger. Reich spoke in the subsequent Q & A about the desire to have rhythms change out of nowhere, and thus the role of the recorded strings. Their impact elicits a strange feeling of the impetus for change existing outside our own control, in my mind.

Next came New York Counterpoint, a clever and cheeky clarinet piece which counterpoints against several recorded saxaphones. Again here, the impact of phasing, the live mix of recorded and live sound causes an uncanny sensation of confusion in the ear, which is very satisfying.

Finally, In Tandem, which paired Reich's Double Sextet with choreography from Peter Quanz and outstanding dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. With the musicians on stage, surrounding the dancers, the 3 movements of the piece truly felt like an experience of the dance and music working together. Both could exist independently, however experiencing them together brought forward a heightened experience of the two. (more on this idea from me later...things are brewing). Quanz' choreography with its broken shapes and complex detail fit impeccably with Reich's music. To be honest, I have trouble finding sufficient vocabulary to express how outstanding this piece truly was.

Some more thoughts on the performance here: Winnipeg Free Press - Review

And a bit more about Different Trains here: CBC Scene - Different Trains

Review - Twyla Tharp's The Princess And The Goblin - Royal Winnipeg Ballet

You know a performance is really enjoyable, when you suddenly realize you have been sitting with a huge grin on your face for an unknown amount of time. This is how I found myself about 30 minutes in to Twyla Tharp's new ballet The Princess And The Goblin, performed by the RWB with Guest Artist Paloma Hererra. The piece begins with a fairly classical look - king father, princess daughters, classical movement vocabulary - and as the story twists and turns, the movement also twists and turns, until the Goblins are moving in a very contemporary manner. There are even touches of break dance in some areas. The blurring of style is what one would expect from Twyla Tharp, and this piece did not disappoint in any way.

One of my favourite things was the dance-fight choreography, which was highly stylized, and almost looked like Brazillian Capoeira. The humour and fun in the movement, along with the more dark and serious notes were fabulous.

The sets and lighting were beautifully simple, with many lovely diversions coming down from the ceiling to populate the same space as the dancers. One highlight was the use of shadow to create a music box style image - this section was absolutely captivating.

Paloma Hererra - her mischevious grin filled the stage, and every movement she made was outstanding. I am honoured to be able to see this living legend dance.

Yayoi Ezawa - an RWB favourite, Yayoi really shone, particularly in her moments opposite Hererra as the grandmother.

Sophia Lee - This girl is a star. Her turn as the Queen of the Goblins was a fantastic performance, and a highlight.

Yosuke Mino - I could watch him jump for days and days, and his strengths really came through in Tharp's choreography.

Please see this if you can! It isn't every day that Twyla Tharp has a new piece performing in your city, nor that you get to see it performed by this calibre of dancers.

The Little Things

Last Friday marked my first night teaching the Friday Night Drama group at PTE School. This is a new project for me, working with a special group of adults with various abilities. This was the first time in ages that I have been nervous to teach a class; not because I was unsure of my preparation, but mainly because i was anxious with anticipation of the group, their dynamic, and whether I would fit into their circle.

We did a range of work on drama exercises, focussing on imagination. We began with a circle, talking about imagination and creating an imaginary place together. We then got up to walk around, creating our own imaginary beach, eventually finding an object, and sharing it with the group. The imagination game was very successful, every member of the group participating. We moved into other imagination-based exercises. As the group got more excited, I sensed myself getting excited too, veering from my plan into exercises with varying levels of success.

Several times through the class I found myself simply grinning with joy at the enthusiasm of these individuals, and how happy the simple theatre games made them for those 2 hours. I recently read an interview with Robert Lepage in which he stated that these days there is too much acting and not enough playing; this class reminded me of exactly this, the joy that comes from playing.

Overall, my fears were for nought, as the group really took to my style of physical imagination  and games. I'm really excited about my continued development with this group over the coming weeks, and may share more of my trials and tribulations.

Photo: Autel @ Gas Station Arts Centre - photo by Leif Norman

The Performer Experience

The two performances I have been involved with this week have gotten me thinking about the performer experience in various forms of theatre. In the traditional, commercial theatre, the performer is a vessel; they experience physical work, speak words, move around the stage (in musicals, jump and dance about) but little consideration of the experience is given to their perspective. Everything is facing outward through the proscenium, targeted at the bums in seats who have paid their £30.

The two pieces I took part in seriously challenged this.

How We Met (still running at the RADA Festival - - until Saturday 7 July) is a piece of promenade theatre. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that the audience go through the experience one at a time, with headphones on and a host to follow, guiding them through a way of seeing while walking through the streets. As a performer in this kind of piece, with your small but important pattern to perform repeatedly, feelings of loneliness and solitude are evoked. Much like the people enjoying the performance, the performers are simultaneously together (as a unit) but alone (doing their specific sequence). Not unlike people every day in life, who are together in this experience of London in July of 2012, but alone in our own path and perspective. The performer experience thus reflects the audience experience, taking the performer on a journey as well.

Moving Forest (500 Slogans) was an entirely different style of piece. Part of a 12 hour performance art installation, we read the poem amidst all sorts of other noisy installation pieces, crowds out on their lunch, workmen going by. Even our interpretation of the poem, as a cacaphony of noise and sound, rendering us unable to pick out the actual value from the unending stream of information flowing at us in every day society reflected this. While reading, though, focused, moving in my pattern and reading the text as rehearsed, I found myself almost in a trance-like state, unaware of all the other noise around me, having blocked it out. I cannot speak for the audience experience too directly, but writer Matthew Fuller (of 500 Slogans) noted that coming outside to our cacaphonous reading was an audible break from the volume and noise of the other installations, despite its overwhelming sense on its own.

I propose that the most exciting pieces of theatre are those which help the performer experience something while they are helping the audience experience something; the performer is not simply a vessel, but a conspirator, experiencing and changing in the world at the same time as their auditor...each having an affect on the other.


So, as I approach my 30th birthday, growing ever further from the "emerging" 16-25 year old artist category, but certainly not yet "established" at least by my definition of the word, I am at a loss for how to describe my position. It is funny that we see such a need to rank and label everyone and everything - emerging director, young theatre practitioner, veteran actor - as if the label somehow justifies what we do. Can't I just be an artist? A moderately successful artist? Does that work? It is hardly a selling feature to write on my next grant proposal. I can see it now - "Kendra isn't quite young, nor is she old. She has done some work, but not a ton. Truthfully, she lives a life of artistic moderation." Not really going to rake in the cash.

I don't know whether I really have anything to say about this, beyond what is above....what do you think? What do you call yourselves?

Also related to the birthday, I'll be travelling to Paris in a couple weeks to celebrate my 30th. I thought that given my proximity now, and the elegance that is added to any task by doing it in French, I would turn 30 en francais. It is better that way. I have not been before, and am looking forward to taking in Montmartre, the Seine and all the public gardens, along with some French Gothic architecture at Notre Dame. I also plan to make a pilgrimage to Montparnasse cemetery. Unlike those who visit the graves of more popular figures (Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, etc at Pere Lachase) I plan to visit with Ionesco, Beckett, and Sartre, 3 minds with whom I have been engaging over the past 6 years or so. I do love cemeteries, but have never been one to visit "famous" grave sites (although my toy poodle once peed on Louis Riel's grave in St Boniface) so this will be an interesting and unique day out. Also, I love the idea of creeping out my daughter with an afternoon in the cemetery. I am a nice parent.

Intellectual Fan Girl

Our dissertation term (aka right now) is peppered with weekly lectures and workshops to help us along with our process, and also to help us consider paths once we have finished the MA. This has included various events from panels with emerging artists, Q&A with former students of the course, and talks about casting and organizing. A highlight has been the fabulous workshop on directing from Andrew Visnevski for which the quote of the evening (whilst dissecting a scene from The Duchess of Malfi) was " 'How Now?' here means 'Holy Fuck she's going to shoot my balls off' " - something you have to imagine this polished, intellectual, very proper man in sweater vest and tie saying to get the full effect.

The most recent installment was from the academic side, and featured the brilliant Elin Diamond, feminist theatre writer and professor at Brandeis University in the US. Elin's lecture focused on a chapter of her book - Unmaking Mimesis - which looks at Brecht through a feminist lens, calling for a Feminist Gestic Theatre. A chapter (and book) I would strongly recommend.

What was most inspiring, for me anyway, was her discussion of how she got to where she is now. She began as an actor, trained in drama school and working professionally, but always had an intellectual side, writing essays and reading voraciously. After completing her MA and committing to being an academic, her focus was on bringing theatre and performance into the contemporary discussions of criticism. She argues that playwrights are theoreticians within each play, and the time spent to consider a play and/or performance text is unendingly valuable in understanding many of the ideas that scholars so readily apply to painting, philosophy, gender studies, etc. I was encouraged to know that it is possible to make a move such as this; to sit on both sides of things, and force not only work, but serious intellectual consideration of the work through your own writing. This is something which I hope to be able to do with at least minor success in the coming years.

Reading Time

My mind is engulfed with reading on performance theory right now. More on that later. That, and Laura Wade's "Posh" now transferred from the Royal Court to The Duke of York's Theatre in the West End. It is a good thing I am not a reviewer with deadlines, as it is taking me awhile to decide exactly what I have to say about it.

In the interim, I have come across two excellent articles today that I must share.

First, Dennis Kelly's (colourful) speech to open the Stuckemarkt festival in Germany. Kelly, a Brit playwright who pushes the boundaries of "polite" political theatre, challenges theatre makers to stop trying to make plays political for the sake of it. Quote of the piece "I believe young theatre makers need a very healthy does of 'go fuck yourself'". Well said, Mr Kelly, well said.

Link Here:

Second, Lauren Gunderson on the economics of presenting female characters, since (gosh darn it) a significant proportion of audience members are female. I can't say I agree with the argument entirely (which pretty much relies on mimesis and our desire to see the self reflected in the theatre...) but she does make a valid point. Worth a read.

Link Here:

Happy Reading!

Video Post....Lavinia

This is an older video of a piece-in-development from 2009 (Performed in autumn 2009 at FemFest Cabaret in Winnipeg, Canada). Titled Lavinia, it is inspired by Lavinia, Titus Andronicus' daughter in the dark Shakespearian play. Lavinia is kidnapped and raped, then has her hands and tongue cut off to stop her from telling who did this to her. In the piece, I wanted to explore her mental state, knowing that she is henceforth unable to communicate, trying to tell of the horrors she experienced whilst still re-living them in her nightmarish reality.

The audio is a cut-up interpretation of the BBC production of Titus Andronicus (1985 - the voice you hear is Edward Hardwicke), merged with a PJ Harvey song....all audio editing done by John Norman.

Here is the vid.

Perhaps I am odd

Still mentally reeling from the aftermath of 10 weeks intensely studying Jean Genet's work. I think it is the mark of a truly great writer that the further you get from the work, the more it seems to pop up in you, resonating across various areas of your life. One thing that is really interesting to me is the fascination many of my colleagues have had with Genet's own disregard for his writing, particularly his plays. He himself refers to them as "clumsy attempts", which many have voiced is frustrating, or difficult to encounter.

Perhaps I am odd. Somehow, in the midst of a world of people with limited talent taking themselves entirely too seriously, and even those with immense talent forcing a specific understanding of their work on others (The Beckett Police, anyone??) I find it refreshing to come across a writer who has had such immense influence, and yet disregards his own work in this way. It is important to note that he doesn't call out his work or tear it down, he simply acknowledges, with what I would argue is some modesty, that all we ever do is try. We never know all of the answers in our own work, or in how others will interpret it, and I find it rather inspiring that a man of such greatness can allow his work to be viewed with such simplicity. Certainly a lesson everyone can take from Genet, whether you like his work or not.

Review - Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Royal Opera Ballet

There are certain companies you grow up in awe of. For the most part, this awe fades as you get older, learn more about your craft, and see more work. The Royal Ballet, home-base of two of my favourite dancers in history (Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn) was one of those companies I was in awe of, and finally this week I had the chance to see them live. The awe has not faded in the least. This production, a re-mount of their 2011 world premiere, was every bit of brilliant dancing, amazing costumes and clever set design that I had grown up expecting to see at the Royal Opera Ballet.

The choreography, unlike many new full-length ballets, uses a significant amount of classical ballet language, with the majority of female roles en pointe. This was refreshing, as we have come to see a lot of character-shoe or bare-footed ballerinas after the contemporary dance waves of the 70s and 80s. Wheeldon spins a beautiful story, hearkening back to the original Lewis Carrol book, one spinning through confusion, illogical associations, and silliness. Some specific choices stood out; Alice's free-spirited and youthful movement carried through the piece, while the Queen of Hearts is shaped as a prima-ballerina past per prime, in full egotistical glory. The most genius stroke, however, was to make the Mad Hatter a tap dancer; Wheeldon's choreography allows the Mad Hatter's tapping to underscore the emotion in each moment, his steps mirroring the ballet ones, but adding sounds throughout, all of which was beautifully executed.

Overall, an amazing night-of-a-lifetime.

Review - The Master and Margarita - Complicite @ Barbican

Another company whose work I have admired for some time, and one which I had the immense pleasure of participating in a weekend lab with over the past two days (look for the blog on that too!). This piece, based on the Bulgakov pre-WW2 novel, was visually stunning, taking the audience through a mad and twisted fairy tale land of devils and talking cats, all with the assistance of 16 committed performers, minimal furniture, and amazing lighting design. True to their form, Complicite work from minimal props and sets, and will use physical theatre defamiliarization techniques to use these props to make all sorts of locations, objects, and feelings. In the hands of these capable performers, chairs become olive trees, weapons, stairs, you name it. The sheer imagination of the piece had me on edge, and completely wanting to invent work like this of my own.

That said, I did have some concern over the vocal work on the show; at times actors were not understandable (notably, the lead "The Master" was unintelligible from the upper stalls) while others' voices were strained and overworked. As well, I did find myself wondering how the show would be possible without the multi-million dollar lighting rig and amazing sound and lighting design they had. Obviously this is just my poor theatre student sensibility coming out, but there is something to be said; there were moments where I felt without the lighting or sound the energy of the piece would have been mute.

On the whole, I have immense respect for Complicite's work, and was fully inspired by the piece, despite a couple small queries or misgivings.

More Questions

I just had my preliminary meeting with my tutor, Andrew Visnevski, in preparation for my dissertation work commencing in May. All I can say is that I had a lot of questions leading to this meeting, and now have even more, and even fewer answers and less focus. That said, I am extremely excited to have this project beginning, and cannot wait to see where it will take me intellectually, artistically, and personally.

Now to make a plan of attack, keep reading like a crazy person, and find some actor-collaborators.

I want to go to France

I have been reading quite heavily about French politics and art, particularly in the time between the wars, and after world war 2. This is solidifying my desire to visit France. I have wanted to go since I was a small child, but the desire waned slightly in my older years, after visiting amazing German cities such as Berlin, and falling in love with London. Maybe it is time for another new love.

Some 20th century French poems that are speaking to me in reference to Genet's work:

French surrealist Robert Desnos (1900-1945) - I've dreamed such dreams of you

I've dreamed such dreams of you that you're losing
your reality.
Do I still have time to reach your vital body, to kiss
into life that voice I love so much?
I've dreamed such dreams of you that my arms,
across my chest, might not yield to your body's shape.
Faced with the real presence of what's haunted and
guided me all these days and years, doubtless I'd become
a shadow.
Fine balance of feelings!
I've dreamed such dreams of you that the time for
waking must have come and gone. I'm asleep on my feet,
exposed to every image of life and love, and you, the only
thing which counts forme now, any lips, any forehead
will be easier for me to touch than your forehead, your
I've dreamed such dreams of you, I've walked so
much, talked so much, lain so much with your shadow,
that perhaps now all I can be is a ghost among ghosts, a
hundred times more shadow than the moving shadow
cast and lightly cast again across your life measured by
the sun.

Swiss-born French poet Philippe Jaccottet (1925-) - Serenity

The shadow within the light
like light blue smoke

Belgian-born poet Jean Daive (1941-) I rise from the depths

I rise from the depths of my resemblance
at the very edge of enigma

evening after evening
I have vanished I vanish

blinded resemblance
falls back into cold's fabric

All taken from:
Sorrell, Martin. Modern French Poetry. London: Forest Books, 1992. P. 63, 105, 227.


I am starting to find such wonderful overlap in the themes we are discussing across all classes, and in what I'm looking at for my dissertation. It might just be Genet seeping into my very existence, but I am acutely aware of layers and what people want you to see versus what you do see, both in themselves, in their work, what they present to the world. Where is that core of truth? Do we want to know?

I have also been reading Violence and the Sacred by Rene Girard, an examination of the roots of tragedy in sacrifice, in violence and ritual, and how sexuality is linked to all of these. This is linking with Genet in many many places, and leading me to exciting thoughts for my installation project for the end of term. What is our ritual that is shared, since we as a people no longer share religion? How do we practice this ritual?

Beginning to think about our end of term presentations in response to Genet as well, and what themes we would like to look at. I'm reading up on Paris and politics in Genet's time for inspiration, and also some poetry from his contemporaries. Visually I am inspired by Picasso, Cocteau, and De Francia. Still searching, watching, apsorbing everything I can.

Encountered a ballet, Poppy, by Graeme Murphy with Sydney Dance Company, premiered in 1978. This is inspired by the work and lives of Cocteau and Genet. Warning - beautiful. But also, contains some nudity (I need to be a responsible adult sometimes at least).


Read an amazing article by Anne Bogart today, which was very timely for some of my recent hurdles. We are struggling through mountains of written and devised work in our RADA classes right now; devising a LABAN based piece from The Lady In the Moon, an Elizabethan court play, and more recently devising a response to Genet's Our Lady Of The Flowers for Scene Study.

As we work through these tasks, all in differing groups, the same things seem to recur. We end up spending a lot of time sitting, talking about what something can look like, and this can go on for hours if we were to let it. But if we just get up and DO something, even if we don't know what that is, the results are far more fruitful. We need to get out of our heads, because as we do our bodies take over, and the results are breathtaking.


A video of Lindsay Kemp's Flowers, inspired by Jean Genet's Notre Dame Des Fleurs, which I am reading right now.

Words can't even begin to describe what this does. Kemp manages to embody the extreme beauty and grotesqueness of Genet's words, the perfect balance of the two.

She dies beautifully.


I have a terrible habit of selling myself short - either by not stepping forward when I know I am best for a task, or by letting myself settle for something less that my best work. Usually this happens when I worry I am being overwhelmed, or that I am being overwhelming....most commonly a twisted combination of the two. I did just that at the end of last term, and am now feeling the effects of it. At the time, I told myself it was good enough. But is good enough okay? Not for me it isn't. I am more than a little disasppointed in myself for this, as I feel I poured a lot of energy and thought into something without really thinking through the focus and the goal of it. I have, however, learned from it. It will not be happening again.

Anyway...enough self-musing. My scene from The Balcony went up today, with decent success. My 3 actors did a great job of bringing to life the layers I was hoping to see, with the short rehearsal time. The feedback was positive, that my choices made sense, and I was able to bring out something interesting about the parallels and rivalry between Carmen and Irma. So that is good. I didn't really get a chance to talk about what inspired me, all of the research I had done in Prisoner of Love, and the Gene Plunka "Rites of Passage of Jean Genet", not to mention the DeFrancia painting that inspired a lot of the connections in the movement. I did get to bring up the ideas I latched to from Genet's "Pour Jouer Le Balcon" which was good.

I have a mountain of films to watch, and a novel to read, and a book...and 2 scenes to write. Goodness me. Blogging might be slow for a couple days.


Apparently didn't blog at all for the latter half of last week. It included continuations in Playwriting and Laban approaches classes, which have been great.

Also did some initial rehearsals and voiceover recordings for this week's scene study, another scene from Genet's The Blacks. In this, we learned that apparently I can do a Nigerian accent. Still can't do German, though!

Outside all this, I've been reading Genet's book 'Prisoner of Love' which was (I believe) his last publication. It reflects on his encounters with Palestinian rebels and the oh-so-confusing politics of Northern Africa in the 1970s (Heck, even now). What I am really finding fascinating is his ability to draw historical parralels to the French Revolution, The Black Panthers, The Nazi regime, and yet nothing seems put on. The beautifully poetic lens he applies to the people and space of the conflict is wonderful; at once it makes you feel completely aligned with the individuals, and yet completely separated from them. Some enjoyable moments for me...

"The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them. . . all the images of wars have been created after the battles themselves thanks to looting or the energy of artists, and left standing thanks to oversight on the part of rain or rebellion. But what survives is the evidence, rarely accurate but always stirring, vouchsafed to the future by the victors." - (p7-8)

"Everything happens in the dark. At the point of death, however insubstantial those words and however unimportant the event itself, the condemned man still wants to determine for himself the meaning of his life, lived in a darkness he tried not to lighten but to make more black." (p54)

"What was to become of you after the storms of fire and steel? What were you to do? Burn, shriek, turn into a brand, blacken, turn to ashes, let yourself be slowly covered first with dust and then with earth, seeds, moss, leaving behind nothing but your jawbone and teeth, and finally becoming a little funeral mound with flowers growing on it and nothing inside." (p102)

"When someone leaned out of the window of a departing train it used to be the custom, apparently, for his friends to run alongside waving their handkerchiefs. But the custom has probably died out, just as the piece of cloth has been replaced by a neat square of paper. You used to know the train would take good care of the traveller, and you expected him to send you a postcard. If someone set out on a journey on foot, his friends would wait until he or even his shadow disappeared. But even in his absence he was still with them, and if they heard he'd died or was in danger or trouble, they felt for him." (p240)

"When a man invents an image that he wants to propagate, that he may even want to substitute for himself, he starts by experimenting, making mistakes, sketching out freaks and other non-viable monsters that he has to tear up unless they disintegrate of their own accord. But the operative image is the one that's left after the person dies or withdraws from the world, as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Saladin, Saint-Just and so on. They succeeded in projecting an image around themselves and into the future. It doesn't matter whether or not the image corresponds to what they were really like: they managed to wrest a powerful image from that reality." (p302)

Photo: Portrait of Jean Genet by Anthony Weir


Friday's movement class was great. We spent time re-visiting some LABAN concepts, and then began to look at the play we will be using as inspiration for our end of term creation. It is an Elizabethan court play about, not the Pandora with the box, a different one who Nature creates and pisses off the 7 planets (of the time). The play is hilarious, and I can't wait to create something out of this.

On the subject of movement, I was sitting on the DLR Saturday afternoon, and caught myself watching a pop can rolling about, back and forth, completely aimlesslly, for around 10 mins. The train would stop, it would roll one direction, then it would begin again and roll another. Never in straight lines, always random, and changing direction if it hit the chairs or someone's foot.

Spent some time at the Tate Britain Saturday as well, and came across this fabulous paintin (pictured below) by Peter DeFrancia called "Bombing of Sakiet". It made me think of Genet's The Balcony almost immediately. It is sort of what I imagine the world outside the brothel to look like.

Anyway. . . happy sunday!