I don’t know how to start this.
I have got no idea where to begin, and yet - I want to do it. I am giving this a go.
My head is full, my heart is full. It is a total overwhelm.
I am intrigued by the current sense I have sitting in my body of success*. Wow - that is so unusual - my body feels this and so my body is carrying this. This is new. And yet - what is it? What is it for me? Why does it feel so hard to acknowledge this? Why, what,why?
It’s the beginning of March and it's almost two weeks since I came back from tour with 40/40.
40/40 did four venues and five shows reaching just over 400 people. Nothing amazing but consistently nice for this kind of work*. The audience response to the work and the reviews have been phenomenal. It’s like - I walked out on stage - did my thing, with utter belief and gusto - and managed to reach people’s hearts and souls. I did my job and I did it well. And yeah, it feels good, it is in my body and I am carrying it! Of course I am - it is the biggest validation - the applause at the end, the stamping on the seating bank, the vocal responses during the show - the hugs and joy after it - in the bar and in the numerous amount of private messages and dms - people sharing their own connections to the work - people recognising themselves in the work. OMG! Boom!
When I started this thing, this show which wasn’t a show until it became one - it came from a place of searching for a bit of space - claiming a bit of it for me to simply go - I am here, Here I am. Watch me Go. No pressure, just see me as I am. Then, a giant collapse happened and then a breakdown and then somewhere in the burning fire I managed to remember who I am, a breakthrough. Get up, and get going again. I am here, Here I am. Watch me Go.
And so, 40/40 became a thing - a kinda phoenix - a thing which existed in me and also entirely out of me - its own thing. Like when I do a drawing - it’s all me and it’s all entirely its own thing too. We have made many good shows over the years - some widely recognised - others less so - but actually - all good - solid, true to us, always with innovation at their core. So what is it with this now? Why this, why now?
And I think it might be what one audience member said after a show - She said, 40/40 is a feeling, it’s many feelings and I want them all. It’s a feeling, yes, it is - it is a feeling for me too.
And it got me thinking about this notion of ‘success’ and why it feels so dead difficult to celebrate that...what is about this feeling that it has to be always difficult. And then I thought -it is difficult - I doubt it will ever be anything but difficult but it doesn't mean that it can’t feel like a success too. It’s many feelings.
Perhaps that is why 40/40 might feel like a success to me right now - aside from the mega reviews- is it that right now - people are after some feelings, stuff they feel with their body, like I feel it in mine. Escapism I guess. The news, the hardship, the anxiety, the instability, the insecurity, the wars, the racism, the inequality- all of it, there, somewhere, here, all of the time. And then the feelings, these feelings - like a climax, like a rest, like a moment’s pause, like a moment’s presence. It is a feeling. It’s many feelings.
So, the success for me - is actually - just a bit of belonging. If I was to describe it simply looks like - don’t look through me - see me! Register that I am here and what we do is also good. Not better - just also good. How simple - and yet - how complicated, how complex - because to see someone is political, right - it's almost radical - it is to see their/the value.
I will embody this for as long as I can. And if I can, when the next round of crazies come, I will try and remember this moment, when I felt this success and I carried it in my body. This feeling - I wish to each and everyone - it’s a treasure. This feeling I will keep safe.
*success - the accomplishment of an aim or purpose
* this kind of work - experimental, real, raw, vulnerable and in between many gaps - not theatre, not dance, and yes, performance and yes very much theatre and dance. Oh, dear - where do we fit this? EVERYWHERE!