trust the stillness

I’ve been reading Back to Back Theatre: Performance, Politics and Visibility (edited by Helena Grehan and Peter Eckersall) and it’s such a pleasure to read of the care and playfulness of Back to Back’s work, and the sense that this matters.

Amongst all of the generous and provocative insights into how we watch their work and how it is understood by the artists, there are delicate ideas about process and ways of being in rehearsal and performance.

Yeah, but it’s because of James [McCaughey’s] approach … movement-based, physical-based and trust the stillness.

– Cas Anderson, p.33

This idea of trusting the stillness reminds me of Paul Hunter’s (from Told By An Idiot) talk with Ben Duke last summer at The Place (in London) in which Paul described a particular actor in the company who was overwhelmingly comfortable with doing nothing and being still. That this actor was able to just keep being in the stillness.

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from declaration to destiny

I was recently given a copy of Alain Badiou’s In Praise of Love. It’s a delightful little book, full of adventure and risk, and marked by the capacity for words to dance and dance.

In this quote, Badiou discusses how the declaration of love (and its risk of stage-fright) begins a process whereby the remarkably arbitrary event of meeting someone is transformed into the feeling of destiny.

The simplest of words become charged with an intensity that is almost intolerable. To make a declaration of love is to move on from the event-encounter to embark on a construction of truth. The chance nature of the encounter morphs into the assumption of a beginning. And often what starts there lasts so long, is so charged with novelty and experience of the world that in retrospect it doesn’t seem at all random and contingent, as it appeared initially, but almost a necessity. That is how chance is curbed: the absolute contingency of the encounter with someone I didn’t know finally takes on the appearance of destiny. The declaration of love marks the transition from chance to destiny, and that’s why it is so perilous and so burdened with a kind of horrifying stage fright.

– Alain Badiou, In Praise of Love, pp.42-43

data and bureaucracy

In December 2012 I went to Rosemary Lee’s On Taking Care symposium. One of the speakers was Raymond Tallis and he talked about (amongst other things) how data entry and bureaucracy stall or prevent opportunities for care. His words were:

each datum entered – or form completed – may be an opportunity for care lost

This doesn’t need too much bending to be useful for understanding how precious the time is between students and teachers. In other words, “each datum entered – or form completed – may be an opportunity for teaching and learning lost”.

I worry deeply about how easy it is to try and solve problems by inadvertently adding layers of bureaucracy that in turn interfere with opportunities for spending time with students.