The Dance and The Play

I bike through East London, down Brick Lane, past the art galleries,  bangaladeshi restaurants, and fashion studios  to Toynbee Studios.  Each day this week I am ploughing the script, rehearsing that is, for  Why I don’t Hate White People with director John McGrath. John directed my last show Something Dark.  WIDHWP  will be on stage at The Hammersmith Lyric in February 2009, in six months time.  Rehearsals begin at 10am and finish at five.

Previous to rehearsal  at 9.30am I had a meeting at Toynbee Studios with three Southbank Centre emerging artists  who are helping make an installation called Washing Lines, as part of Poetry International at Southbank centre  in October. The installation  is my expansion (or intervention if you like) on the limited idea of “performance”  in  poetry.  

The meetings ends late but rehearsals are good between myself and John. It’s kind
of intense – how else should it be.  I realise again that being the writer and the performer is a thankless task and there is an immense amount of work to be done.  This rehearsal procedure is invaluable and I’m gaining lots of insight.

We have a production meeting at five pm with Gill Lloyd my projects manager  then  at 5pm I get on my bike and get  to The Place  (about thirty minutes away), a very gorgeous theatre where I am judging with three others, The Place prize for Dance  sponsored by Bloomsberg with  prizes of over thirty thousand pounds.

At 7pm I am shattered. The performances begin at eight pm and it’s as if the day has just begun. I am awake and alive. Art really has an amazing effect.  I watch five fifteen minute pieces and take notes with the other  judges. It’s a sold out  audience.    I am sat next to  Judge Jenny Waldman of Somerset House. In a break I there’s a tap  on my shoulder.  A woman from the Austrian embassy and her husband recall a poem I wrote (Rosin)  for the Alban Berg Quartet’s final performance at The Southbank Centre. 

So the performance finishes and it’s 11.10pm. I get on my bike switch on the lights and swish away getting home for midnight. I’ll be awake at 6am tomorrow.  I feel invigorated and charged.  I’ll be seeing four or five performances every night from now until saturday. And it’s all good.

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