There's a particular sticky patch I run into in every creation process I'm a part of -- especially those made from scratch. The first draft. Today we presented just such a draft of An Homage to Whatshername to a small audience of peers.
The first draft is exciting! It's the first time we get to feel in our muscles and tongues what the performance will feel like. Everything starts to become real. But it's also the moment when we feel how far we have to go. The first draft is like a first kiss -- nerve-wracking, exhilarating, clumsy. The second and third kisses may lose some of the magic, but they gain the softness and the attention and connection brought by experience.
As our audience settled onto the acrobatic crash mats we'd laid down as seating, we all milled about - using the bathroom, running a final few tricks that had gone less then perfectly in our last run, fidgeting and feeling like we were forgetting things. Finally we got going, and section by section we felt the gears clicking together for the first time. With an audience's attention suddenly on the work I started to feel it changing. I became more aware of the moments when I felt lost onstage - why is this transition happening? Why is this what comes next? And the moments when it all clicks together and I hear the audience respond along with us as a moment unfolds.
I am struck at this moment, after having recieved feedback from the audience and debriefed on the sunny, gritty sidewalk outside of Rebel Circus Arts, that we have at once so little and so much to do. A show is built! We preformed it! Yes, of course it will get better over the next few weeks but I am finally past the blank page terror of having a bunch of pieces that have never been strung together. But on the other hand, I see now how much more weaving there is to do to really push the themes we're exploring. To know that this piece is doing something useful in the world. To know that it is doing so with precise and full-bodied choreography.
Here's to the second and third kisses to come, to all the drafts that will mark our continued relationship with this performance.