On Love of the Theatre and Feeling Alive…
Sometimes, particularly recently, I forget one of the things I love about theatre. Watching and experiencing it.
It’s easy to become wrapped in the making with directing, writing or other ideas buzzing round my mind or on the other hand the analysing when studying it. With all this, particularly as my mind finds it quite hard to switch off and relax, its precious when I find moments to just really watch and appreciate it in the moment rather than over analyse and intellectualise everything. I, in a sense, in focusing on the part of theatre that is work/career orientated or study forget the part of it that’s a hobby, the reason I fell in love with it in the first place.
Nevertheless, what provoked me to write this was a piece of theatre that reminded my of why I love watching theatre and being in the moment, reminded me of the feeling I’m always searching for when I watch it. I’m not sure quite how to describe it. A kind of buzzy, warm feeling, tingly and like all my senses are heightened. I’m often not quite sure why but when this happens I can really just be sort of in awe, able to appreciate the art I’ve witnessed.
This happened with Hofesh Shechter’s Show, which I saw at Home MCR.
Admittedly, I haven’t seen much dance theatre in a while and this piece left me a little lost for words, shaking with excitement and overwhelm as I left the theatre. It’s funny or perhaps ironic, or maybe even neither of these things, that one of the times I feel most alive can be sat in an often, but not always, darkened room experiencing theatre, absorbing it all and experiencing all the sensations. Perhaps that’s the feeling I’m always searching for, to enjoy a piece of theatre and feel moved.
I guess what I’m trying to say is this abstract, visceral piece of theatre was captivating. It was the kind of piece that ever so slightly intimidates me in this way because I don’t know if I could ever create anything that makes people feel like that, partly because I’m not sure I can quite pinpoint exactly what it made me feel. Yet, maybe that doesn’t truly matter. What I can do however is attempt to convey to you, whilst trying not to overanalyse the staging of it, is simply what I liked about it. I can also try emphasise to you why, if you get the chance, you should go see this. If not, instead I encourage you to search for the pieces which light up you eyes and satisfy your soul as this did for me.
What makes Show so clever, dare I say genius, in its choreography is the depth but also fun they had in expressing at points rather dark themes.
Contrasts like this were consistently and playfully used throughout, juxtaposing recognisable dance steps and a sense of putting on a show with gestural and often violent movements. I enjoyed the fact through this I could take my own interpretation from the show and access it in my own way.
Dance is something I’ve always had a real love of anyway and this piece utilised dance and blended dynamics, ways of moving in a way that made this piece lively and riotous whilst simultaneously having a beautiful fluidity and sense of freedom as if their bodies became soft and melted. Essentially, it was this that alongside lighting and a heightened, equally clever soundscape created a gorgeous audio-visual experience. It’s a piece I would therefore love to see again, that made me want to move on stage with them but at the same time feel like watching it and seeing the intricate shapes formed on stage was just enough to fulfil everything I needed from it.
Another thing I’ve also seen recently, also at Home, which I loved was Selina Thompson’s Salt.
As I write this I hold the piece of pink salt we were given after the show in my other hand. Whilst we were taken to this for my theatre course since I’d already decided after writing lots of notes on Death of a Salesman at the Royal Exchange to write about this, I was able to again just sit back and watch this show. As a result, I could just focus of hearing her story and attentively listen to her words. I left this show feeling really privileged to have been in this space, simply understanding her experience more than I had before and feeling like I’d learnt something important.
Essentially, I guess what this has all made me realise is that whilst theatre is indeed so much of my work and in a good way as it sparks my creativity and passion, I today recognise the importance of just getting these special warm moments when theatre can revert back to being that frivolous hobby once again. Something where I can just enjoy watching and marvel at the art people create. As I write and consider this, I think I also remember I need to find time to find these moments of joy outside the theatre too. I find it pretty easy to become so enveloped and intoxicated by the world of theatre because I love it so much. But, perhaps its important not to forget there’s joy and rich experiences outside it too and maybe giving time to come up for air and escaping sometimes, even if just for a few seconds, will mean the moments back in the theatre bubble whether that’s making, studying or watching will be all the better too.