lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Let the rehearsals begin!

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Today I began rehearsal for the performance of The Distance From Their Mouths. This is a chamber music, text and video projection piece to be performed January 22 in St. Catharines. Rose Bolton composed it, I wrote the text around this time last year and will be making the video. The musicians are Julie Baumgartel (violin), Alison Melville (recorders) and Margaret Gay (‘cello) and I will be speaking the text and mixing video. The piece was commissioned and is presented by Gallery Players of Niagara. It is such an honour to be performing with these amazing musicians.

I worked for 3 hours this afternoon. My goal  is to come into my body enough that I can speak from the heart, uncontrived, in what will be a challenging performance situation for me as I am a performer who does not perform (well, hardly ever). I want to be more aware of sound resonance in parts of my body I can’t feel it, loosen this old body that spends way too much time earning a living at a computer and be responsive to the words I wrote (but no drama! rest easy you performance art people!).

trapezius muscle - mine needs to be softened a lot

I began with 20″ of Kundalini yoga followed by the resonance exercises on the Orville Heyn CD,  The Singer’s Body. Next I lay on a somewhat flattened, 7″ (used to be 8″) air-filled ball placed mid-back –  I learned Kinetic Awareness Ballwork from Fiona Griffiths who learned it from the horse’ mouth, Elaine Summers. I followed with an exercise I learned from Fides Krucker in which you stick out your tongue as far as you can for a long time and very odd things go on with it. If I remember correctly, when I did this with her around 2000, she said there had been interesting results with this with brain injury patients. (I might have that wrong.) I did some simple vocal exercises which I wrote down from my Fides studies and sang a couple of ballads from the Joan Baez songbook (some strange teenage connection going on there). The work with both Fiona and Fides was done in the 6 years it took to prepare (and to raise the funds) to perform Song For A Blue Moon . I have not performed since then (2004) except for the Aung San Sui Kyi part at benefits and in David Fancy’s Social Justice and the Arts class at Brock. Oh! Not true – I performed at Banff a couple of years ago for the Walter Phillips Gallery anniversary and re-created History, Colour T.V. & You.

Then I started working with the actual piece. Last month Rose sent me MIDI versions of the music via Soundcloud. I am working right now on the first 2 stanzas, pretty much know the words by heart and am working on when to say them mostly by just following along with the audio draft Rose sent me. I listened to the music without the text once and then followed the score twice. I am not musically literate and my music reading skills are not much more than following notes going up or down but it’s surprising really, how much I am able to follow.

I am working to resist the urge to resent the fact that I am unable to spend the next 8 weeks focusing on this work because I have to earn a living. I am very, very happy to be working on this.


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