Today I found very revealing about myself and flagged up some things I hadn’t realised about myself. Or maybe I had but it was still a surprise even a shock at my response to one of the task that we were asked to do.
Towards the end of the day after what had been a truly excellent practical session, that worked us hard as a group challenging our physicality and strength, stretching out our bodies after 3 days of physical exertion.
After all the intricacies involved with working on blindness on hand and chair duets. I’ll come to those later. We returned to look at the statements we had wrote about ourselves and our partners from Tuesday afternoon.
This hadn’t been an easy task. I think it is always hard to describe yourself as an artist which was what we had been given permission to do and after all we had the right to do it. We are all on this course to make collaborative theatre after all. But still sometimes trying to put your ideas and fancies and aspirations onto paper can make you sound like a bit of a pretentious twat. The group were all in agreement with this, we found it difficult. The task however was done and suddenly didn’t feel like such a climb. We listened in our pairs to each other and then had the task to take our partners words and write a statement for them using what we had heard. Again this wasn’t easy but during the task we had just the job to listen and to absorb what it was about our partners that they really cared about. So at the end of today we now had the statements we had written and revisited first our own statement, reading it aloud to ourselves and then revealing to our partner what we wrote about them.
So what I wrote about me:
I am an artist, at teacher,a developer of ideas- someone who supports and cajoles and believes that there is a attitude to life that needs to be nurtured.
To take what I do into words can be literal, I teach. Sometimes I do it well. Sometimes I get frustrated but the aim is to create stories together. It maybe something that is hard/emotional or it can be trivial and fun. I do it for those moments when years later someone will say I went to drama school because of you. I found my confidence because of you. I do it because I have ideas and energy and it needs somewhere to go.
What was written for me:
She is a teacher, an actor, a creator of worlds. She is passionate about creating a lasting effect on those that she teaches- one that will take them through life with a new confidence or lead them down a path of creation that they would have otherwise felt/thought impossible.
She is interested in creating work,exploring pain but also interested in the banal. She lives to inspire- leave a creative legacy amongst others.
There was definitely a warm fuzzy moment and my partner also said how well I had caught her thoughts and essence, I suppose. Having heard back your own ideas of yourself but reinforced by someone else in their words for you; A translation of yourself, made it feel like it really was ok to describe yourself in these artistic terms.
What was good is that in doing this we had ‘sifted’ to use a phrase by another in the group, a lot of the unnecessary and found the gold. In just listening to our partners we could focus on the highlights. We were able to absorb.
Following on from this however was the most unexpected moment. We went back to the questions we answered about various things. The question starters like. I want to…
We just started to read ours out going round in the circle. It was really interesting getting to know people that bit more, see them more in depth. I
felt I had been that as in depth with my responses but there was no right or wrong answers to these questions. I could connect with all of the answers people gave, there was a common factor within all of our responses.
As I read through mine, which were succinct and sometimes simplistic there was one line that started; People don’t often realise… to which I finished off I’m insecure and sensitive.
It was true and so that’s what I put, but saying out loud had a profound reaction. I suddenly became very aware of how true it was and here I was saying it out loud. Was I embarrassed? I felt flushed and I felt my voice breaking for which I fought really hard to gain control over again. My ears were hot I knew my eyes were watering as I kept my head down and continued to read through the sheet of answers. I hadn’t expected to react that way. I know what I had written, I had no problem writing it or reading it to myself but saying out loud for the room to hear… such a discovery and not one I’m sure I have fully understood. We continued around the room and I heard many other things I wish I had said. And there were others too that found a personal struggle. It was fine though. Having used the week like we had, being in the space with each other , touching each other’s bodies getting on with what was expected as part of the frantic workshops it just makes me think about the clarity of how words and simple things can have such a strong resonance. I was in a safe place to say these things and even at my age there are things I still haven’t grown a tough skin for to hide from the world. But in exploring relationships and the world around us it certainly helps to understand how we function ourselves if we want to explore the complexity of lives and situations of others.