Friday, February 24, 2006

ok so i'm a really bad blogger

Alright, so way too much time has gone by.
I am almost at the end of my trip and there are so very many things to report on, some of which are no longer so fresh in my head.
It has truly surprised me all along how dificult it's been to keep up with any sense of normal routine when changing geographical space so often. I have found when I have had moments where I could be writing, I have chosen instead to just let my mind wander.... so much new information to absorb and engage with.
Anyway, I did actually try to begin writing a couple of weeks ago, so perhaps I shall begin from those thoughts and then gab away on highlights from the last few weeks.

So, I actually spent a good deal of my time in Ljubljana writing the most complex grant of my life and dealing with the frustration of a 6 hour time-lag with my diligent adminsitrator, Katie, and the fact that small town Slovenia is not the easiest place to find an internet cafe at just any hour. This stress certainly flavoured my time there and I missed out on a day at the lake in the mountains.
Took a walk up to the castle (in the centre of the city on top of great big hill) and wandered through its underpinnings, befriending two hungry cats on the way the up. I have to say, I have never consistently eaten so much shwarma in my life.... it's the staple food of late nights and last-minute eating in strange lands.
So strange to realize that already three weeks on the road and our performance there was only our third. I think we were pretty well received, although someone did walk out.... I sort of consider that a compliment though... would rather provoke a strong negative response rather than no response at all. Hard to tell what other audience thought exactly because our one "talk back" session was momopolized by a very nervous presenter who gave a half hour monologue in Slovenian as we all wilted and waited to eat.
As a whole, it was odd and a bit discombobulating to perform so little with such large gaps between shows. Amazing to feel the instant sense of place and purpose when we find ourselves in the theatre. All of a sudden I would remember who I was again, making both tech rehearsal and show the least stressful moments of the trip... these little islands of gravity.

Trip from Ljubljana to Luxembourg
Ok. Now this was crazy... as was the trip from Luxembourg to Cardiff... although I think this first one takes the cake! Now, I highly recommend that before you read on you go get an atlas and look at the distance between these two places.

ok, brace yourself.... it took us 12 hours to make this journey:
at 7am we checked out of our lovely Cellica hostel, saying goodbye to nights of bad europop blasting up from the bar on the first floor and we all piled into two vans. I was in van # 1, driven by Igor (who had picked us up at the airport days before) with Emre, Johnny, Freide, Gianfranco, and Nilan. We drove to the airport in Venice... all along the way Nilan and I sang everything we could think of from Queen to traditional blues to "I want it that way". We stopped at the first gas station over the Italian border for a cappucino and to pick up the paper.... Gian reading for real and Freide and I phonetically reading every Italian word we could see, both inside and outside the car. Johnny kept quite quiet throughout... these long days were not favorites of his.
Then at the airport we all had to pay crazy extra luggage charges because Ryan air charges you for every extra thought you might carry on the plane with you.... great cheap way to fly if you're naked and you have no luggage.
So, flight to Brussels Charleroi airport, followed by bus to train station (belgian waffles quickly downed), followed by two trains to Luxembourg city, followed by mini-bus to Esch. Arrivel time: 7pm.

Luxembourg (well actually Esch sur Alzette)
Esch. What a strange and kind of unwelcoming place. Definitely a weird vibe, but pretty non-the-less. Here, I had the best room.... a double bed, my own bathroom with a bathtub! I elicited much envy.
Poor Johnny had to deal with yet another grumpy tech crew. In fact, the presenters had brought in a guy from Austria who had a way of making these guys actually work. This special power was due to the fact that years ago he had come there and threatened to physically beat them like they had never been beaten before... so now they're scared of him and they will actually do what he says.... which is to work.
Also encountered the biggest diva I have yet met. Gian, Freide and I thought it might be nice to finally have a real dance class, so we took the train into Lux. city (gotta say, I really love this taking the train thing... makes me get all dreamy and begin thinking that I could live in any small European town and commute into my fabulous quaint imaginary life in some slightly large small European town) - i digress - This class had been previously arranged and we thought it was all fine. Finally a real dance studio with heat and the promise of someone else making up the excercises... sometimes I so long to be a student again.... So, dude shows up ( I won't use his name, in fact I don't think I can remember it) and he gets in a huff because he doesn't think we said "hello" to him properly and he refuses to teach. Freide and I go to try and make peace and he starts moaning about how tired he is and how class for three people just really isn't worth it. Whe we press him a bit, he starts storming around and says "Well, you know, I do a really hard class! None of this yoga or releasing stuff... I teach really hard tendus!" (Can you fucking believe it? "Really hard tendus" - I was almost curious enough to beg him to teach the class, just to know what the hell a "really hard tendu" is.) But instead, we just told him that if he was really not into it, it probably was better that he not teach.
It took a good half hour to disperse the yukky energy in that room.
What else?
Went to see a great exhibit at the "Casino" gallery in Lux city called "Joy". Room filled to the top with green balloons, video of woman smashing car windows with the biggest smile on her face, an intricate system of tubes down which you could send marbles and follow the progress from the top floor back to the entrance.
Also, the city is divided by this huge gorge that you can walk down into and follow along a wooded walk-way.... a lazy day of wandering, laughing, whistling, and learning some very important german phrases: "Do bist ein poopooloch" (you are an asshole, said in the most sweetest of ways).
I have to stop here and say, that it's funny to write about the things that are possible to describe in words to someone who wasn't there. There are so many moments between, filled with the intimate silliness that begins to develop between people when you put them together for 5 weeks of consecutive days... things I could never really describe here well, but things that make up the fabric of friendship... like barking like dogs and purposely bumping into poles while walking down the street, like being able to thread your arm through that of anyone else's and pat each other on the belly. See, it doesn't translate that well, but these are the things that really give the sould wings.

Back to business... so of course we performed, and our night was full of kids who I had to scare out of laughing. Well, that's not really accurate, but there is something about dealing with nervous laughter as audience response that turns the fire on under my ass, filling me with an incredible performance energy bent on grabbing their attention. And they did come with us eventually.... they quieted right down, which is quite an amazing feeling.
Nilan and I gave our first full workshop together. Of course I felt like throwing up before we started, and these things are always a working experience, but I think people had a good time and Gian even came out to support us and to add a second male energy to the room.

Beautiful couscous dinner at Emre's home and off we were to Cardiff....

Another 12 hour journey (can you believe it? I think perhaps they wanted us to experience as many different modes of transpoartation as possible... surprised we didn't ride ponies part of the way): car to Lux city, bus to Frankfurt airport, 4 hour wait in Frankfurt airport (in which every one spent at least a few moments in the sex shop - the one real highlight of the airport - i discoverd toys I never knew about, like the vagina sucker), flight to Stanstead (with a bit of no-working-papers angst on the part of us Canadians.... but we went through smooth as silk), and then a 4 hour car ride from Johnny's amazing friend Felix who saved us from having to wait for a train that would have got us to our destination at 2am. Oh, and it was Gian's birthday.... happy 35 Pavarotti!

Caerdidd (welsh for Cardiff and pronouced kay-er-deeth)
I have to say, after Montreal, this was really the smoothest theatre experience we had. Wonderful crew, extra warm-up space, office where we could use the internet and just all around general good feeling.
An absolutely beautiful sunny day that I spent hijacking a very beautiful and lovely native who drove me out of town to sand dunes and beach.
Another day where Nilan and I did a whirlwind of London: meeting the cultural attache at the Canadain Consulate, checking out exhibits at both the ICA and the Tate Modern ( very cool installation by Martin Kippenberger of a room full of every different kind of chair you can imagine in a one-on-one meeting with other chairs..... there is an inspiring idea here that has not yet formulated inside me.... i love it when that happens), and then dinner in the west end with our friends Rose and Nick (LAL, toronto), eating delicious jerk chicken and sweet potato dessert. It's always good to reconnect with home in some way.
Of course in the middle of this one-day extravaganza I got incredibly grumpy and tired and in order not to continue to be the biggest passive bitch in the world, I threw a small tantrum outside the Tate and took Nilan up on his very generous offer to punch him two times in the stomach.... rattled a few Londoner passerbys.... felt kinda good. You know, sometimes you need to scream and stomp until you can't help laughing at yourself in order to be able to be a decent human being again. Thank god for a good friend who can understand and whether these diabolic moments of mine.
And then it was all over..... so fast all of a sudden. A great feast at Meg and Ga's, a last night of drinking and dancing and completely taking over the dance floor.... and then off into the world in our separate ways.
I will write more about this separte journey later... I promise, really really this time.... like tomorrow at the latest.



Post a Comment

<< Home