A week ago Saturday the 15th of June we woke up early and made our way, sleepy yet with conviction, to the Frankfurt Main Station.  With coffee in hand, pulling a beat-up suitcase containing a small, wooden treasure chest, hauling rucksacks filled with costumes, boots, high-heels, hats, a laptop and our toothbrushes, Andy, Ekaterine and I met our friend, lighting designer and technical savior, Camilla, on the platform before boarding a train to the familiar town of Giessen.  Company MuddyBoots, was more or less, officially on tour. We had received this fortuitous invitation to perform the piece 3:1, which we created in March, from Alexander Wang, a young artist responsible for programming the 25th Hessische Theatertage at the Stadttheater in Giessen. With what has become a normal, or anticipated amount of time pressure, or no time to prepare situation, Ekaterine and I began to refresh ourselves in the choreography two weeks previously. We found a decent and inexpensive rehearsal space called Z Zentrum to rehearse.  We immediately began a mini-process of continuing to develop, shift, and change certain aspects of the piece. Andy, our dear friend and fiddler violin player arrived on a Wednesday, allowing us a full three days to rehearse together before the show.  Somehow, it was an unexpected luxury.  We were able to build in a small transition section to bring the Hitchcock theme back, an idea we were tossing around during the performances in March. We were also able to clarify a bit more the cause and effect section of creaks, plings, and shlings and dig a bit deeper, and maybe more structured in this theme of “who causes who to do what and how”.

We arrived at the TIL theater in Giessen, promptly and 10am to begin preparing the space for performance. Ekaterine and I had both performed our own choreographic work in the same space before, however always in the context of a festival with several other companies and pieces on stage in the same evening.  This was our first time here to have the space to ourselves and a whole day to prepare.  With Camilla in charge of the lights, and ordering the technicians around in her humble manner, we were left free to nod “yes” occasionally, buy fruit at the farmer’s market, take a nap in the dressing room, and enjoy a strangely rare smoothness not customary to the typically stressful load-in dynamic.  We had entered some form of flow.

Our rehearsals were productive, adjusting to the new space, teaching Santiago the technician our floor patterns so he could follow us with the impromptu follow-spot that was rigged up. And then it was time for the show.

There were somewhere between 50 – 60 people in the audience, which was not a sold-out show, but still the room felt full and the audience seemed engaged.  The show was an Event in a truly Badiouian sense.  We couldn’t name what was different about the experience specifically, but it had to do with a presence or an acceptance that we were exactly where we needed to be for those 50 minutes.  Perhaps underpinning it was the knowledge that it may be that last time we perform the piece together in that constellation as Andy will be moving back to Australia and it could be difficult to convince him to fly back to Europe for a performance of this dance piece.  But the show was enjoyable, and the beer Andy handed me afterwards was ice cold and delicious.

Epilogue:

One week later, Ekaterine gets a phone call from the director’s office of the theater in Giessen. “I have great news” she says, ” you’ve one a prize!”

What? We had no idea prizes were in any way involved in this festival.  Surprisingly, a jury was watching the various performances and selecting specific works to receive money prizes.  We were awarded the “Best Ensemble Performance” Award along with a few thousand Euro!

A happy ending, to a happy tour.  Stories like this are far and few between when working in the arts, but when it happens, it feels a bit like a strong pat on the back or a loud whisper that promises nothing, but still somehow lets you know to just trust the wind that pushes you forward.

Happy Summer Solstice.Image

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