Riley Sims, post #2

 

It hasn’t been that long - in fact only ten days spent with Drunk On Fiction since we started these final rehearsals. But sometimes you spend so many hours with a work you sort of forget or lose touch with what you are watching. You forget why you’re making it, what it is all meant to say. And then for whatever reason a moment happens that appears to harness the very essence of the work, and your reason for making it comes flooding back in. 

I am in ‘the thick’ of it right now. Drowning, consuming, indulging, flushing out all of the guts of this work. We had a visit from two of our board members today and man was it a gift. Just having those two extra pairs of eyes, those two spirits and bodies watching allowed me to feel how the work resonated with other people. Today for the first time, I could feel how the work was met by an audience. Even if only a tiny one. I needed that. The dancers needed it too. After nine days, it can’t be very inspiring to only do the work in front of me taking notes and eating scones and rubbing my face 'cause I’m freaking out so much! 

The dancers and I have been working on the idea of them just ‘being themselves’ and not performing the work. Rather letting the work bring out performances in them. This is quite a task. Especially with people watching. These dancers are so very good at being watched. But of course as performers our need for validation is present and sometimes makes us turn up our ‘watch me’ dials. They are very good at not doing that. To strive for a presence that has nothing extra, almost understated, and full of nuance. Like actors in film. These dancers really are their own versions of actors for film. It's really amazing to watch. There is space in this work for each of them. So much so you could spend huge chunks of time in Drunk On Fiction only watching one of them for a while. Like all of us, this group is comprised of very complex individuals. They are encouraged to invite that complexity onstage and use it...to show sides of themselves that are not always at the ‘front of the line’. 

When you use the body and spirit in this way it can take a lot out of you. It’s revealing, it's exhausting, it's perhaps too ‘on’ for so many hours. We are vulnerable and sensitive, tired and wearing our hearts on our sleeves. I love this group for that. We are getting through it. 

 

Photos by: Hannah Schallert

Featuring: Jean-Benoit Labrecque, Jolyane Langlois, Ana Groppler, Geneviève Robitaille, Kay Kenney, Sébastien Provencher