Fringe Festival Blog – Part 14

Two wildly successful rehearsals last week and my joints are still aching.

Thursday I had two of the girls in attendance and we had quite the aerobic workout. It was everything I could ever dream a rehearsal could/should be. We learned a lot and did the whole repetition thing over and over and over again. It was thrilling and exhausting.

On Saturday I had unprecedented attendance of all of my girls. Though one had to leave early, I was able to finish all the choreography for the group numbers, leaving only two solos left to choreograph. This is great news, being only 11 days away from opening night. I still have another solo to clean up but out of the 22 skits/dances I have in this piece, I am feeling pretty accomplished and confident.

Tonight I finish up the necessary dialog scripts in the hopes that most of it will be improv. One of my girls is adept in ad lib so I know she’ll come through with just a hint of guidance. This gives me one less thing to worry about. I did make the mistake of adding myself to the roster, as if I didn’t have enough hats to wear, but I am getting “the bug” again and so desperately want to perform. I’m looking forward to it.

After the final performance there will be a closing reception (with booze of course) and probably an amorphous after party at my apartment or nearby. Wish me luck!

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Fringe Festival Blog – Part Lucky 13 or I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby. Ooo I’m gonna keep my baby. Ooo yeeaah.

Here comes September.

I’m all over the place right now. At the risk of sounding crass, I feel like I’m carrying an illegitimate baby that you can’t help but to think of as a mistake. It is no coincidence that many artists use that childbirth analogy describing the excitement of doing something that comes so naturally, but fighting with the flora and fauna of logic and the mortal coil we all belong to. I know there is a bittersweet denouement on the horizon. For the onset of this project, there was the expected big decision.

The past few weeks the desire to abort the mission altogether came in a steady, syncopated fashion. One moment the passion to create dominated my psyche and then it would ebb between fits of dancing dancing dancing.

It is the dance that always makes me come to my senses. When I’m not in the studio, I am filled with resent and regret, as if I have taken on too much. Instead of the joy you get from playing with something so divine, you wallow in contempt for the life your project has taken away. You live for someone else now.

Truth be told, I almost canceled the show because I wanted to “…eat fine dining and go to strip clubs.” This a direct effect of stress, the illusions of grandeur. I am by no means holed up in my apartment drinking booze chaser-less, straight out the bottle (not in a while anyway). I have been squeezing in ample amounts of time with friends. Naturally, I spend much of the time talking about my project, how intense it is to have to nurture something that relies on you in order to survive. The Life Force of my work is experience. The company of others, strangers included, inspires me to the umpteenth power. Taking it all in – society is the ultimate contributor to my compositions; without it I would not bear the ability to feel.

The praise you get is of the utmost import. When the girls let me know in a myriad of ways how much my creation is appreciated, respected and enjoyed, I am reminded why I am doing it all in the first place. Still, I am my toughest critic albeit a Narcissistic one.

I am trying so hard to put my stamp on this work. I keep regurgitating this undertaking of auspiciously fusing my love of Bob Fosse and Alvin Ailey into an accessible and entertaining style. I bite hard off of those boys, but it has its own logic. I have an arsenal of “DeVo-isms” that are strictly original which is not to say this is unique to a distinguished few, surely every artist has something of their own up their sleeve. The motif that is derivative of my idols is what fertilizes my ideas.

I want people to tell me that my work looks like me. Some of it is branding, yes. I have spent the latter part of my life creating an identity, I have to inject my personalization in a big way so that my art can keep growing.

I feel like I have spiced up the choreography in some areas (some are still pending) but in other areas I have watered things down. We’re getting down to the wire and I wish that we were engaging in repetition at this point in time, but all of our schedules are so scattered I spend a lot of time re-teaching things and not enough time going over and over and over it again. I am delightfully sore all over my body nonetheless.

I found the original dialog that I was going to use for “Man Bites Dog”. It was about 5 or 6 real life news stories that were incredible in some fashion that wreaked of farce or inexplicable tragedy. Part of what I am satirizing is the fact that we all like to be up in everybody’s business. We’re all nosy voyeurs who enjoy the intoxication of temporary vicariousness.

The work is taking place in a studio with mirrors. The audience will be sitting next to and behind the dancers facing the mirror. Ideally, the entire performance would have the audience facing the mirror, an obvious correlation to the aforementioned theme.

There will be no dialog and there won’t be a lot of props, something that I have dabbled with in the past. It has been difficult to edit my work so drastically. I feel so out of character not playing dress-up with my work, not even the costumes will be significantly present. There will be no dramatic asides. No gas masks, no vampire blood, no wigs, no tulle, no oatmeal creampies, no onstage liposuction dramatizations, no poignant banter. Sure, there will still be a few tangibles to add flair to the production, but nothing that isn’t ridiculously important and relevant will be included.

The biggest obstacle for me right now is finding a place to rent chairs. I don’t have a big order, but it’s not a small one to say the least. It’s proving to be one of those impossible things to make it worth anyone’s time, but it’s a big deal, I can’t pull a Hippie style performance. While the space has a good vibe and is conducive to casual, standing exhibitions, part of my work is putting the audience in a structured order of commonplace.

I’m going to do it. Again, I am looking forward to it. This is a pretty big cast for me for a straight dance show, and they all work very well together. I have to construct the line-up sometime this week so we can all really start focusing our individual contributions to this success of our crazy family.