Theatre of the Fool
I have experience of a range of theatre models, from street theatre, where my roots are, to the Albert Hall, devising a Circus show for the Chelsea Arts Ball. I’ve worked in film, and performance art, mime theatre and circus. I have started writing my story of my performing journey through life, and I am amazed at the memories that are coming back… more about that I hope soon.
Meanwhile, how to sum up my performance?
I just love making theatre, I spent many years learning my craft, and learning to overcome the shame that was inherent in the business by hiding behind being skilful and good at what I did. When I began as professional player, people described what I did as ‘magic’ and it felt it, that first 8 months was such a joy. Then the critic crept in, I learned judgement, what to do and what not to do, I started to feel constrained, tight, lost, afraid of being found out as a fraud. I learned more skills, got fitter, was successful and enjoyed playing enough times to not give up. But the downs were so painful, the underlying lack of confidence and the tricks I needed to play on myself to avoid the pot holes. People now described me as good, clever, skilful, but the word magic, once so present had disappeared. Not being a drinker or a drug user, I was somewhat sensitive to even small nuances of shame ~ which I now use as material for my play.
It was when I gave myself permission finally, to really listen to myself, to really explore the theatre I wanted to make, to ask my player what she ‘wants’ to play. I remembered being a child, and creating theatre in the moment, with puppets, or with dance, or creating a play. Before I started writing scripts, there was a process I entered, to tune into myself and let myself play… with or without an audience. the trouble was, how to keep the attention of an audience while in that special creative, being space. As a child I hadn’t the skill or the authority to command the audience player relationship, without losing that magical awareness, that makes the difference between performance as a sacred communication and ‘showing off’ which even a child knows is not satisfying, its a poor substitute for the real thing… which is as unexplainable as gravity. But I remembered it, and my inner playful child said ‘you have the skills now, if we put my playfulness and your experience together, we will have such fun!’ And so I began the journey into creating the form of theatre that is now my practice and my life.
I am lucky enough to not need to make much money from performing, which gives me a fantastic freedom to experiment and stay with my playful nature. Although I do need money to live, pay for rehearsal space and time, props and costumes, I realised that by making my shows as simple in the props and costume department as possible, I could indulge in the necessary process. My experience of working the streets, before street theatre became such a ‘business’ was that if I played because I needed the money, then I might make myself enough to eat something, not more than enough, not enough to make a choice to change something, like travel to another city, or country to experience the audiences there, or get home from foreign lands. However when I played “for the love of it” then money was there for whatever I needed, or the lift was offered, the dinner invited, the offer to come and ‘be’ at the National Theatre for the 9 hour version of Ken Campbells Illuminatus (this was the 70’s) and such other adventures, life could be an adventurous never ending show.
It taught me to be ‘lucky’ with money, to trust that what I have is what I need, this allows me to play spontaneous shows for intimate audiences when I want. I like playing in theatres now, I love the focus lights give, and the concentrated relationship I can have with my audience, we can be present together, and make theatre out of our dramas, I play them, the audience can relax and enter a dream world, while I read the morphic field and respond… let the show begin.