Tuesday was our chance to run the show in front of an audience whilst still in rehearsal period. Included in the audience were a team of social media gurus who would help market the work across the twitter- and blogo- spheres.
I was in positive mood as I stepped (wearing my new trousers) into T4 to go over notes from the previous rehearsals. As I listened to the notes, it felt that they were all about the breath and intention of each movement. A voice tutor of mine once explained her technique of “breath mapping” every performance before she did it. By tracing the journey her breath was taking, she became more mindful of her breathing during that performance making sure that she was performing sustainable and that she was constantly resourced.
In a mini-rehearsal of some movement phrases before our main run through, I tried to return my attention to my breath. Noticing breath was difficult, as more often then not I was out of it. I became horribly aware of my lack of fitness and stamina, and began to panic and tense up. However, by trying to remain with the breath I found it began to come more easily, as I wasn’t holding my chest rigid and was relaxed. More air came in, the breath was easier, the movements flowed easily. This felt particularly relevant in the ‘try and try again’ movement phrase, where I discovered that I was unknowingly holding my breath during the pauses.
Forgetting breathing is rarely helpful in performance.
After the performance I had a chance to question people about their experience of the show. One audience member observed that the installation type start was a lovely way for someone who rarely went to theatres to get an idea of the mechanism of a show; how it works, who is involved and what the process is like. They also commented on how seeing the performers in this way reminded them of the human-ness of everyone involved, we weren’t gods or mythical spirits or apparitions, just normal everyday people.
This performance felt more like an opening night than a rehearsal, the atmosphere felt as electric as it would have been for a full audience. I sometimes feel that performing for close friends and family can be more daunting than a packed theatre … maybe that says something about my friends and family!! I enjoyed the feeling of sharing in the movement,, of inviting the audience to see and experience our work and process and joy in what we were doing. Another audience member commented on how connected as a community we all seemed, and I was delighted to tell him that we were a vibrant community of our very own.