Do You Know? .....Lucy Rupert

Well, I'm the one who compiled all these EUNOIA interviews, and it is my blog, so it seems weird to introduce myself....But in case you don't know me, I'm a freelance dancer and theatre performer and for ten years I've been the artistic director/founder of Blue Ceiling dance. I've worked with a number of amazing choreographers and companies over almost 20 years of performing (eek!!) including Anandam Dance, Sashar Zarif, William Yong, Puppetmongers Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille/Allison Cummings, and have spent about a dozen years working with Theatre Rusticle. This is my first time working with Denise Fujiwara's company, although she was an outside eye on two small projects of mine before EUNOIA started.

For what it's worth, here are my answers to the questions I posed to everyone else!

What were your first impressions or thoughts about EUNOIA the poem and the dance project when you first got involved in Denise's process?
I love poetry. At about 9 I decided that I was a weird kid and I should write poetry. i wrote in all small case letters for many years because of my affection for e.e. cummings.  EUNOIA the poem was new to me and my first reaction to reading it was "I need to read more poetry again."

In regards to the dance project, at first I was just overwhelmed by working with Denise, trying to understand her process, the quickness and incisiveness of her mind and then trying to 'get it right' for her. It was intimidating to work with all these astounding artists whom I knew a little, but had never worked with before. It took a while for me to shake off these I guess I didn't realize what a crazy beast the piece was going to be until I was in very deep.

What is the greatest challenge of your role in the project?
That is tough to say. It is the first time I've been in a work that is simultaneously so physical and so textual without a character or a notion of character or narrative. Many creatures emerge, but there is not necessarily a way or a need to find an inner logic threading them all together. It is challenging, but ultimately very freeing. I think it has been a real exercise in 'hold on tightly, let go lightly'.

Do you have a favourite poem from Eunoia? 
There is one that we don't reference in the dance which I think starts "Crowds of Ostrogoths who howl for blood..." I rather like that one. It gets pretty gory and ghostly.  Right now my favourite that is included in the dance is from Chapter O '...bloodloss...troop doctors....blood donors'. It might be the references to Kosovo and pogroms that get me. We don't hear the words to this one on stage, but the transformation that is happening in terms of bodies, light, projection, sound is incredibly moving.

What has been your relationship or experience with words-and-dance in the past?
I've done a lot of speaking on stage in the last decade. Mostly with Theatre Rusticle where I've been able to explore the words of Trudeau, Rimbaud, Congreve, Strindberg, Woolf, Shakespeare, narrative accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, even some song lyrics from the Violent Femmes. William Yong had me sing in Mandarin in his work for me, Jenn Goodwin had me tell the story of breaking my arm while dancing.

It is odd to me that I have wound up speaking on stage so much, since my impulse to dance came from feeling misunderstood and unable to communicate with my peers during some tumultuous (some might say disastrous) teenage years. I have always felt my body was transparent to others, that the truth was obvious even when my words tanked.

How do you think the 4 year process of Eunoia will inform or influence your own work in the future?
I have been fortunate to be immersed in the ideas, fierceness, quickmindedness and experience of a big team of collaborators -- the design team, the dancers (including our irreplaceable understudy Lacey), the choreographer, the artistic support surrounding this massive project. I have learned a lot !! The sustained training in butoh has made gradual, almost imperceptible changes in me. I am making more subtle and more outrageous choices in all my work.

After several years of working on solos, I think EUNOIA's most lasting influence is the desire to be part of ensemble dances, to learn and absorb and share with others in this way again and again. It might go back to those lonely formative years, but it is thrilling to be on stage with others and know we are all part of the same world.

EUNOIA opens tonight
Wednesday March 19 8pm
Enwave Theatre

photo of Lucy Rupert by R. Kelly Clipperton courtesy of Theatre Rusticle


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