Thank You For Understanding Me
Three long action packed days were spent working with amazing young people, some even my own age. I was their theatre practitioner, movement, music advisor that was called in to help shape, guide and direct their 1hour long devised theatre piece held at RADA studios in front of friends family, social workers from Coram etc.
It was a type of work that required a gentle hand, where one must give space to the performers, these were not my stories to tell. They were theirs, it was advising not dictating and witnessing the development of their stories and performances. To push them and believe in them and for them to believe in me,
What is Love?
I never thought I would learn more about love in a day than I have up to now. I feel as though love is the centre of the universe. It was sitting on stage with us that night, it was radiating off the audience.
I recorded sound bites of the performers opinions regarding love, played over a black out leading into a song about being true to yourself, accepting love inside and out.
Words fell out of them, monologues, poems, short scenes. All staged and presented to the audience, we were overflowing with material. But music also had a huge presence, certain pop songs held case to deep memories, moments in which the performers drew strength. Maybe I too will listen much more closely to the likes of Shawn Mendes, as much as we like to ignore the vapid pastiness of pop. We cannot deny the transcendent nature of music, the ability for a song to speak to the heart.
I made a backing track on Logic with one of the performers, a simple piano track with a few melancholic strings. One of my directions was to let some of the lyrics (Who you are – Jessie J) be spoken, like a poem. With the belief that if one truly thinks a song represents them, their emotions, tells their story then they should be able to speak through it. She was amazing, she made the song truly hers and I was blown away.
Don’t Let Anyone Tell You, You Can’t Do Something
Her voice rang through the stage, I must have seen her say it hundreds of times in rehearsal. But this time it sounded like she was saying it for the very first time, in front of anyone that had ever told her she couldn’t. Everything suddenly felt real, real feelings and infinite admiration. The strength and fearlessness of the performers, the kind of strength that some people still struggle to find well up to old age.
What Do You Mean You’re Not Adopted?
They were flipping the script, pulling apart the nonsense and insecurities that had been projected on them from others in the past. From people who did not understand or failed to understand them.
I Am Normal[…] I Am Proud of Who I Am
Of course everyone in the room knew this to be true, but this wasn’t in order to persuade the audience. This was a mantra, something each of them had seemed to grow into with their own personal stories. I was just proud to be a part of their story somehow.
In any case, they weren’t normal. They were remarkable in every sense of the word. Performers who were given such a short amount of time to create something they could be proud of, to get on stage with only a few days of rehearsal. Many performers I know would run to the wind.
I support adoption because it is compassion, because it is true unconditional love.
HUGE Thanks to
Michael Hamilton Foundation, Anthony E Lennon and Coram http://www.coram.org.uk