1,2,3,4 - NW New Works Performance Review: Week 1 Studio Theater Jun 11, 2016

by Victoria Jacobs

1.The southwest inspires extremes in a way the pacific northwest tends to mute them. In the high desert the summers scorch, the winters freeze, water is a scarcity until it flash floods, and life seems to hang on by a tenacious and ferocious patience. I remember walking past juniper scrubs that were over a thousand years old. I imagined living there but I felt like the extremes would push me to my edge and then past it. I wondered in the canyons how my European family had traveled there, determined to push into new places and find new homes, tenacious and ferocious enough to endure the edges of their edges and keep going into the void, looking for a place that would be their own.

I have wanted to say everything at once too. I have felt a too-much-ness of myself, an intensity of the world and my response to it, and have felt that no one would understand me unless I gave them all the layers of myself at once. I would make them work, the way I had made myself work, to penetrate, absorb, integrate all the layers of my experience. If they could plow through, endure, insist, then they would be rewarded with the treasure of my full, actual self.

Now I find myself more charmed by choice than by accumulation. Acknowledging that I am a person, and so are you, and we don't have to share everything about ourselves in this moment. Nor do we have to hide anything. We get to choose what to share, see how you respond, continue if we want. When performers show something to an audience, it is not a conversation. It is a kind of gift. Understanding each other isn't really what we're after.

2.The funny thing about having boobs is that the world teaches you so much about what they mean. They're used to sell everything, and the percentage of boob showing has precise implications, sometimes a violence. You have to work for them to just be your own boobs and not a marketing ploy, an invitation, a symbol or a statement. Maybe sometimes our entire bodies feel like that, that we have to work to own them, to have them just be us, and also, people will look at us and see whatever they want to see. As artists maybe our whole selves feel like that. If I'm performing as me, I know that you will see what your eyes see. That doesn't make me less what I know myself to be. They're my boobs, still, and they're just boobs. It's my name, still, and you hear it as a word. She's my friend, and this is us, but really, this is a show, so we're going to show you us. Sitting together, talking. Our backs. The insides of a shirt becoming the outside. We will talk in front of you. We are still us. We have no doubt of that. Balloons. Boobs. Leggings. The curve of a back. This was crafted for you to see the shapes and sounds of the outsides of us. We are in the best way full of ourselves.

3.The inner voice is everything. The piece would be nothing without it. It's the scaffolding everything is hung on. Her confessions, here in a dark room, to a silently witnessing audience. Does she want us to judge her? Absolve her? Give her penance? Drop to the ground again. Drop to the ground again. Put your face down on the ground. Te absolvo. She wants us to know her catalog of sins. Cheating. Rubbing salt in a wound. Judge? Absolve? Penance? Drop to the ground again. Forsaking religion. Not calling a dying woman. Judge? Absolve? Throw out the whole framework entirely? Being raised in a structure of good and bad, guilt and forgiveness, always puts you on one side of the scale. But at least you know where you stand. Or drop to the ground.

4.It takes a mighty structure for a body to work so well, for legs to hold up a pelvis, for a spine to turn and arms to reach and grab a table, pull a tube, lift a bean bag. It takes years of years of practice to be sturdy enough to make a life. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It takes all that practice and that study, technique, understanding, shaping, growing, a platform to stand on, a table to lean on, it takes a lot of time to become stable enough to create. Stable enough to be flexible enough to be adaptable enough to be strong enough to create a life. Not just your own life but others. The work is evident. The work is ongoing. The joy is evident. The joy is ongoing. The anguish is evident. The anguish is ongoing. 26. 27. 28. 29.  30.  There are explosive moments, sometimes, when everything changes at once. Suddenly there's rainbow confetti everywhere. You can't contain your ecstasy. But mostly there are the days, the weeks, the months, the years, of building yourself, becoming your self, building a life.