Resting and Risk

November 9, 2016 |  by  |  Theatre, Writing  |  Share

gentle-lying

Click Here To Read ‘Resting and Risk in Participation: a Gentle Rebellion’

‘Resting and Risk in Participation: a Gentle Rebellion’ is an essay that asks whether gentle can be political.

(Image: Sean Curham, Gentle Lying on the Bonnet of a Popular Car)

36 Ruminations on 36 Questions

March 28, 2016 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

 

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Click Here to read 36 ‘Ruminations on 36 Questions

’36 Ruminations on 36 Questions’ is a piece of writing I wrote in response to a theatre experiment called 36 Questions by Simon Ward.

As published by The Pantograph Punch, March 2016.

TITLED – a DIFFICULT CO-OPERATION

February 17, 2016 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

titled

Click here to read an essay about the process of making TITLED

This Is Not A Title

February 17, 2016 |  by  |  Performance, Writing  |  Share

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This Is Not A Title is a video performance.  Click Here to view the video and read the artist statement.

Choreographic and Theatre Research

February 16, 2016 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

Trades Hall 2

 

As part of my studies at Auckland university last year (2015) I made this blog so I could collect a bunch of thoughts and resources.

Process: In Seven Steps

October 5, 2015 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

For the last eight or nine weeks plus I have been carrying around several battered up versions of a script by Uther Dean called The Presentation Of Findings From My Scientific Survey Of The First 7500 Days Of My Life Done In The Interest Of Showing You How To Live Better Lives.  It has been the perfect unruly little companion to my mad obsession with theatre and it’s full of words.

7.

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Words scare me.  They can be little tyrants.  They only behave properly if you meet them on their terms and let them rule you instead of trying the wrestle them down.  Like a bear they will destroy the house of meaning you think you’re building and won’t do you any favours in return.  They are a two year old and today is their birthday.

Let them decide how they want to be said.  Load them up with too many suitcases and they will drag their feet and make you miss your flight.  Don’t get out of their way and they threaten to mean too much or too little depending on the weather. But if you back off them without any less love they will open up an infinite number of universes of an infinite number of possibilities for an infinite number of meanings.

6.

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I don’t want you to come.  I don’t want to open the show.  I don’t, because this is the stage when I love it the most.  Unfinished.  Unpolished.  Unrefined.  Imperfect.  Deformed like a baby with one foot bigger than the other.  A massive pile of tangled up electric wire.  Its brain isn’t fully formed yet.  It’s flawed and messy and a bit swampy.  Its nose is running and it hasn’t noticed. I haven’t figured it all out yet.  I love it like this.  I love it like this because it’s closest to how I see the world.  Uncertain.  Unknowing.  So much work still to do and running out of Time to do it.

I wish the show could stay in this awkward state of tension forever.  Almost done, but not quite.  As soon as it knows what it is it will behave like an arrogant business man.  Right now it’s gangly teenage monster.  It’s already late for school, but it still decided to stop in the middle of a busy town square and close their eyes to feel the sun on their skin.

Let’s never finish this thing.

5.

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Be Lost> Stay Lost.

Be Formless>Stay Formless.

Be Anti-Virtuosic>Stay Anti-Virtuosic.

Be Unpolished>Stay Unpolished.

Be Unfocused>Stay Unfocused.

Be An Awkward 3 Way Handshake> Stay An Awkward 3 Way Handshake

Be Catastrophic>Stay Catastrophic.

Be A Disaster>Stay A Disaster.

4.

lights

They love dancing.  They start doing it as soon as they walk in the room.  I shine a light and they chase it.  They try not to be too sexy.  They do hand solos, knee solos, foot solos, eye solos, they chase their shadows across the space.  One day I play a song, something by Talking Heads, I think, and I tell them they are not allowed to dance.  They skulk around the space full of a desire to  dance.  I tell them they can only dance if they dance as hard as possible and they all decide together when is the right moment.  They go from zero to ten to zero to ten to zero.  Each time they hit zero they are panting.    Waiting impatiently for the next opportunity to dance and being terrible at hiding this intention.  Skulking and panting but still full up with the joy and desire of the Young to dance.

3.

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I remember winning and losing.  I remember trap doors, slamming.  I remember the word Time. I remember water in her knees.  I remember dragging on a big black cloak.  I remember staying calm and being saved.  I remember not being able to sit on a chair.  I remember cute hot feet.  I remember putting a flower in her hand.  I remember working so hard to wrangle every cable and hold up every microphone.  I remember a theremin. I remember me and Ash just driving.  I remember things breaking apart.  I remember people stranded on islands.  I remember words on a wall.  I remember ducks and kittens in Space.  I remember the LED glasses. I remember a conga line.

2.

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Confessions:

We didn’t touch the words for a whole week.

We lost control.

We bled.

We made a big mess.

We felt cold and bored and frustrated.

We went too far.

We could have hurt someone.

We did some really stupid things.

We followed  fun in stead of logic.

We played games in stead of working.

We started at 10am in stead of 9am.

We kicked boxes and threw shit.

We turned off the lights at every opportunity.

We jumped over tables.

We took the piss out of Shakespeare.

We were always late.

We spent a lot of time lying down with our heads together staring at the ceiling

We watched this and this and this and this in stead of Doctor Who.

We put too many cocks in the slideshow.

1.

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We can’t stop you from coming.  The inevitability of your arrival looms like a swarm of birds sweeping in from the side, circling then lining up in perfectly formed rows.

In which case, we promise we will not ignore you.  We will look at you.  We will find our solace in you.  We will ask your permission before we do things.  We will talk to you.  We won’t hurt you.  We will sit next you, especially if you come by yourself.  We welcome you with our deformed, imperfect, mismatched, gangly, sun kissed monster arms to watch our catastrophe.

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The Presentation Of My Findings From The First 7500 Days Of My LifeDone In The Interest Of Showing You How To Live Better Lives by Uther Dean BOOK HERE NOW!

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 7.48.58 pmImages by Uther Dean, Nisha Madhan, Forced Entertainment and Andi Crown.

 

The World Is Messy And Fun And Not At All Like Television.

September 7, 2015 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

TrampolineI love theatre.  I love it so much that I want to squeeze until it pops and all it’s insides are revealed.  What’s it made of?  Lights.  Curtains.  Performers.  An Audience.  A Great Stage Death.  A Meaningful Moment.  Something Cathartic.  You.  Me.  A Room?

There is always an actor missing in the rehearsal room and that’s you.  Then you come in, you sit down, and you don’t know your lines and that’s what makes you the most exciting performer here.  You are unpredictable.  You are full of life.  You make me nervous because you don’t even have to look at me to let me know if something works or not.  Without you there is no me.

I can’t ignore you.  Because you are vital and important for the world to function.  Especially those of you who don’t get it right.

I’m fascinated with failure.  Failure is necessary.  I fail all the time.  I fail at being a success.  I fail at saving my money.  I fail at doing one thing at a time.  I fail at keeping in touch with my family.  I fail at remembering birthdays.  I fail at not being self consumed.  I fail at being kind to myself.  I fail.  Each and everyday I fail at being immortal.  Failure is the beautiful chaos of the world.

To Fail is to allow for change.  A moment where everything stops and something else is allowed to happen.  That moment when an actor forgets their lines and suddenly the room feels electric.  Time stretches like chewing gum.  To fail is human.

Success in the world looks to me like water tight business plans with no room for error.  Tickets sold.  Money made.  Cars and houses bought.  Sugar for ants.  Go home at the end of the day and don’t give a fuck about what’s actually happening here.  Don’t care too much.  Don’t feel too much.  Don’t make a dick of yourself by taking a chance.

I want a silence that makes me realise how many cables have been plugged in by one person to light the stage you see tonight.  What’s happening in the show isn’t the point.  You’re the point.  The fact that we are here together is the point.

Because, like you, I don’t want to be alone.  I’d rather that you were here with me trying to figure this out.  I’d rather have a drink with you than watch television.  I’d rather boo myself off the stage than spoon feed you a bottle of pre-determined entertainment.

Nothing makes me feel more present in the world than you.

I’m so happy that you are here tonight.  Because you’re sexy, and it’s just not as much fun without you.

-NM

IQ2 – Arrive Alone, Leave Together

April 11, 2014 |  by  |  Writing  |  Share

This is something I wrote and presented at PAANZ 2013 in Auckland.  A summary of the artwork and my feeling about creating it.

IQ2 was created by Future Hotel, a collaboration between myself and Stephen Bain.

IQ2 or Intimate Questions 2 is an inter-active group questionnaire and public choreography using wireless headphones. Participants answer a series of questions with simple movements creating a sort of human pie chart of the personal, moral, and futuristic statistics of the group.

It’s a public and private personality test – private because the public don’t know what the performers are listening to and public because the performers are publicly answering private questions about their lives.

And this is what makes this piece super relevant to the contemporary lives of New Zealanders. It’s made up specifically of people’s immediate responses to questions from economics, politics and health, to social behaviour and of course our attitudes towards intimacy.

We’ve created a structured questionnaire which divide the group, into Yes, No , Maybe, I don’t know camps. The result is a physical chart which authentically represents the unique statistics, thoughts and feelings of that particular group, at that particular time, on that particular day.

As they build confidence we get them to act out some simple choreopraphy, then we pair them up,make them slow dance together and act out a mock wedding, all in a simple personality quiz’s day.

All the while the audience are watching this with a soundtrack of their very own; a narrative about people lost in an airport looking for someone or something accompanied by original music by Jeff Henderson. It’s timed perfectly to the soundtrack in the headphones but the public is unaware of the questions being asked.

Finally, to further unify the group and really test out their singing in the shower voices, the group sings together karaoke style, and have their photo taken as a record and memento of the experience.

Immediately we start to see some of the general statistics. For example we know that 99% of most groups consider themselves honest people and 1% have knowingly lied on an official tax document. Incidentally, we also know that 2% of this group started the performance as strangers but continued an intimate relationship afterwards…for 4 days.

We found that people were all too happy to follow our instructions and publicly answer our questions. And it’s simply because of the private nature of the headphones. They immediately put you in a secure space, in your own little world.

My favourite thing about IQ2 is this: it’s an experience where strangers arrive alone, but leave together, having felt that they were a part of something. They leave having met each other, in fact they leave having danced together. Often with theatre experiences, in fact in daily life itself, we arrive alone and leave alone and barely give a thought to the person sitting next to us, and how much can we even trust that person really…?

My second favourite thing is this:  It’s free.  There was one man who was clutching on to a plastic bag of bread, and when I asked if I could store his bag away for him so he could have his hands free he was very reluctant. It was obvious he was a bit of an outsider, and I found out later that he was in fact homeless…well, I assume this because when I asked him for his email address, he scrawled out a physical address which made no sense,  It didn’t exist.  But by the end of his experience he’d entrusted his sole possession to us and he had danced with a beautiful stranger and sung a song with a group of people and had smiled broadly when his was photo taken.  I love that.  I love that because this is a free and social experience, we made this man feel included.

At it’s simplest, IQ2 is an experience that allows you to learn a few things about the people around you. It leaves you richer in the knowledge that you are not alone. You aren’t the only one who thinks you are better looking than others, and you are not the only one who has told someone you loved them, then regretted it later.

When I think of why I made this piece I think of this passage from an essay by Tim Etchells on Risk and Investment:

“Thinking of investment we ask: when this performance finishes will it matter? Where will it matter? Will the performer carry this with them tomorrow? In their sleep? In their psyche? Does this action, this performance, contain these people (and me) in some strange and perhaps unspeakable Way?

I ask of each performance: will I carry this event with me tomorrow? Will it haunt me? Will it change you, will it change me, will it change things?”

I know that making this work changed me, and I hope you will allow it to change you too.

Video

Questions for Quizoola!

April 11, 2013 |  by  |  Insipirations, Writing  |  Share
Dear Forced Entertainment,
Do you consider yourself an honest person?

Do you normally order the cheapest wine on the menu?

Do you normally order the second cheapest wine on the menu?

Will you live longer than your partner, or best friend?

Have you ever knowingly participated in illegal activity?

Have you ever knowingly lied on an official tax document?

Do you think you might be making bad decisions in your life?

Do you suck your stomach in for photographs?

Do you consider yourself better looking than most people you know?

Do you fantasize about your own funeral?

Do you enjoy farting anonymously in public?

Do people notice you when you walk into a room?

Do you often eat the last biscuit on the plate?

Have you ever told someone you loved them, then regretted it afterwards?

Have you ever said out loud that you would do harm to a political figure?

Is your heart racing?

Are you looking for someone?

Have you been waiting for someone who will take you in to the future?

If someone told you how to see the future, would you do it?

Would you consider yourself a leader in your community?

Do you often let calls go through to voicemail?

Do you believe the children are our future?

Do you believe that people need someone to look up to?

Have you ever decided never to walk in anyone’s shadow?

Best wishes for the future.

Love,
Future Hotel
Click here to watch Quizoola! live from 11.59pm 12 April – 11.59pm 13 April 2013