Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Freedom at last and the nature of memory

Yesterday during Two Men Talking I experienced Freedom!! We have now performed 18 times. And though we have permission (our own, who else's) to keep changing the stories, to have no particular order or script, it had started to happen that we were telling stories in a particular order. I was starting to feel like I was in a play, and even had moments of boredom at my own stories. And then yesterday, nothing was as ever before. It truly felt as though we were telling stories from our lives to a group of people in our living room. We had fun, we got lost and I even sang songs that I never dreamed I'd sing in public...I went on a bit, till Murray said to me "Paul this is TWO men talking". I had real embarrassment. We had real laughter and it was energizing and stimulating of memories. What I have realized is that the rigor of eighteen days in a row, has given the foundation of safety in basic storytelling to an audience. I have the confidence to know that I can tell a personal story to an audience, using my body, voice while moving around the space, and making contact with the audience and with Murray...After eighteen performances, I also know that Murray and I can co-create a story. We have proven that to ourselves over and over again. So with a music analogy, we have been practicing scales, and now we are allowing ourselves to play jazz....As for the nature of memory. I have told these stories so many times that I cannot anymore remember the original incident. I now remember the telling of the incident. I think. I also have the sensation of "remembering" Murray's history. I wasn't there, but if you ask me, I can't quite tell the difference between my own "memories" and my "memories" of Murray's stories. The only difference is that my conscious mind knows that I was not present for his so they are not true memories. History is re-written through storying. For example, my early years at King David High School were lonely. But having excavated that history so deeply together with Murray, though in reality we were not friends then, my experience of my history has shifted, such that I know feel as if I had a comrade, a friend....such is the power of story.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Double listening - what do you think

I have felt this compulsion - from time to time - to be issuing a travelogue about Edinburgh. The castle, the fireworks at night, the old town, the new town and etcetera. But this is not really an external journey.
And Lonely Planet does a much better job than I do when it comes to describing beautiful Edinburgh

This is an inner journey. Which gets externalized on the stage everyday in the form of a performance. I went to a wonderful circus performance last night [called IMMORTAL]. There was a tight rope walker. 2MT feels a bit like tightrope walking.
Straddling internality and externality. Too internal and it becomes self indulgent. Too external.- may as well read Lonely Planet or whatever. Today we dealt with the complicated feelings of being Jewish. The history, the legacy of victimization, the pride.
The question: Can we ever be free of narratives of persecution

Yesterday I wrote that the ear is an external organ But it isn't only. Its also internal. The inner ear.
We are learning to listen with an outer ear and an inner ear.
Its like double listening. Listening in stereo.

Your refections please.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lots of stimulus

The challenge of listening continues. Because there is SO much going on. Hundreds and hundreds of plays and thousands of people in the streets. Between going to see
plays (Girl Blog, Fine Noble Gases, Tick my Box, Cooped, Saint or Sinha - to name but a few)and walking into The Assembly Rooms every day, to the posters and crowds and reviews and negotiating the masses along Princes Street, I still have to be there each day with fresh listening and the energy to tell a good story.
That takes preparation - both physical and mental: running, swimming , Alexander Technique, and endless hours of conversation with Paul and Dan.
Listening to another is a powerful template for learning how to listen to myself.
Because the ear is an external organ, I often think of listening as something that pertains to OUTSIDE of myself. But how do I clear my listening to what is going on internally.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Laboratory for Ego

Two Men Talking is an intimate exchange with an audience of people and between me and Murray. Every day, I have to allow myself to be a vessel for the conversation and stories that arise. This requires relaxation and openness, allowing vulnerability and emotions. So what would be the perfect laboratory for this process? a place where ego is constantly aroused? The Edinburgh festival!! We are in the midst of thousands of shows, posters, reviews, trying to drum up audiences, competition, and constantly witenssing the work of other artists....the sea we are swimming in is one of evaluation, assessment, and comparison. It's very exciting and very energizing at the same time, it makes the task of being true to the Two Men Talking process a rigourous one. I am off to the gym now, to run and clear my mind, and even writing this blog is an act of consciousness. I am privileged and grateful for this opportunity - and it is taking something, a huge amount of concentration, energy and discipline. Audiences are so inspiring and I invite all readers and audience members to exchange energy via this blog!!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Is the past always changing?

On Friday we had our first performance. It has been quite a ramp up to the moment of finally being in front of an audience.
We've spent nine days letting Edinburgh seep into our veins. Dan's work with us is so much about experiencing the spaces we're in. Getting to know the city: walking the streets, eating the food, looking down from high places, looking up at the sky.
Noticing where we are. Who we are. Who we are becoming. Because it is all constantly changing. I've known Paul for 33 years. I keep on thinking I REALLY KNOW him. Only to be suddenly surprised when he does or says something I wasn't expecting/
Or when he comes up with a new story or a new telling of an old story.
Then- of course - there is my relationship with my own past. Given this whole
new circumstance of being in Edinburgh, new memories, ideas and connections bubble up to the surface.
The unfamiliar becomes familiar and vice versa. Today I was running on a path through Dean Village, alongside a river. I was overcome by the beauty of it. I was - at once - in the moment and back to age 6, remembering the green library truck which had come to our newly developed suburb of Dewetshof. Whose streets were named after famous explorers. Ours was Dias Street after Bartholomew Dias.

After the performance many audience members asked if the show truly changes every time. Sometimes I wonder about that too. Will we come to a point where it is just the same as it was the day before? That is impossible. We are constantly evolving.
If I am present to that fact, it is all, always new.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is being BUSY and ADDICTION?

I do not have any of the usual distractions that occupy me in New York City. I am not currently going to a daily workplace, not sorting through mail, not taking phone calls, not checking e mail very often, and not around most of the people in life with whom I have ongoing and intense relationships....I have lots of time, to prepare myself for the performances, to exercise, walk around Edinburgh, eat, and just be....sounds like heaven does it? well I can tell you, it's been a little hard. Being busy in New York distracts me from myself. Here I am constantly having to face myself moment to moment and that is sometimes tough. Sometimes I notice my mind saying "everything is going far too well, what sort of problems can I conjure?" I am working hard on learning to tolerate and even enjoy being happy, and being LESS busy....anyone relate to this??
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