Skip navigation

[This is a post in several parts, the text of a talk I gave in Nottingham for World Event Young Artists. Scroll down to get to the very beginning]

There is an event score
Created in 2004 by the artist Ken Friedman
Which I was first introduced to
By the brilliant theatremaker Chris Goode
And this event score reads
In its entirety
As follows

 

Imagine a Life

 

Live it

 

Performance
For me
Exists somewhere in the unstable territory between those two imperatives
It is the imagining
And making that imagining into doing
Making it into something real
Theatre is where we go to know what our hopes and fears and fantasies would feel like
If they were made of real bodies and real spaces

Freud described dreams in a similar way to this
As a way of thinking through doing
Dreams are never dreamlike when we are experiencing them
They are visceral and real
We feel them
We cry
We jump
We cum
We make our hopes and our fears and our fantasies
Into something that is
Real
And by doing so we are thinking
These are ideas running
Jumping
Dancing
through our heads
The in shape of real bodies that we can see
And feel
And touch
Bodies we fight or fuck
People we talk to
Or imagine we are talking to
But it’s all just us
Thinking
Painting an imaginary world
With things we’ve learnt from the real one

And the most exciting thing about this whole process
Is that once they have been dreamt
These wild experiments
These immersive environments
These chaotic unfiltered ideas
They can’t be undreamt
Once you’ve dreamt about kissing someone
Or killing someone
Or someone being killed
You don’t look at them in the same way again
An idea you dream
Is something you’ve learnt by the time you wake up in the morning

Dreams bleed into the world
Full of possibility
And desire
And this is perhaps the best evidence we have that we are not the rational, logical creatures that we like to perhaps believe we are
Because in what kind of reasoned world
Would most of us still spend several hours of every day
Hallucinating in the most visceral and tangible way possible
Imagining a life
And living it out
Inside our heads
Creating
Implausible stories
Combining
Memory
History
Celebrity
Friendships
Horror
Sex
Sadness
Beauty
And then we wake up
With the residue of those ideas
Streaked across the inside of our heads
Like the detritus of a riot or a carnival
And go to work
As if nothing has happened.

You don’t need to believe
As Freud did
That dreams are the expression of some unconscious longing
To know that they are important
To me they are important
Because they are dangerous and exciting
Because they are full of ideas that we are having before we know what to do with them
We are thinking in ways that are undisciplined and chaotic
Messy, full of flaws and longings
We are being changed in ways we can’t control
We learn from dreams without understanding them
They stain our perception
Leaking out into the way in which we see and believe in the world
We can touch

Georges Perec said
We can even allow ourselves to dream

Is performance like this?
Could it be?
Could theatre be a place in which ideas
Are made out of bodies
Breathing the together
Moving around each other
Nonsensical scenarios
Nightmares
Fantasies
In which we think not by listening
But by doing
Together
Figuring out a way of living
In the shapes that form in the space between us
Out of chaos
And play
And possibilities
A theatre that is actually, properly dream like
Because it feels like a real life
That we might be living
But aren’t
Yet

If you could decide upon your own dreams
What would they look like?
What things might you want to explore?
What might you want to experiment with?

And if you could decide upon somebody else’s dreams
What would you put in their head?
Where would you lead them?
What would you want to make them feel?

If you could imagine a life for someone
And give them an opportunity to live it
What would it look like?

And if this isn’t what your theatre looks like
Why not?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: