EUNOIA on tour: what we learned....
flying over Canada, headed home
I posed the question "what did you learn on the EUNOIA tour?" to all the collaborators involved in the mounting of this work for touring, thinking the answers would offer amazing insight into the value of getting a chance to revisit a work, tour it....something dance and theatre, especially the indie or small-scale companies, don't get to do very often.
My original thought was about the deepening of artistry, the new audiences in new landscapes that take in and give back from fresh perspectives.
I did not anticipate the full spectrum of beauty that would come in their responses.....Read them all, you won't be sorry. (Some have not replied yet and will be added in a later post.)
Thanks team for your intelligent, profound thoughts, as if I could expect any less.
getting notes in rehearsal in Halifax
Claudia Moore (performer, freest of spirits, continual source of inspiration, great sharer of chips and wine):
It comes down to LOVE for me- something I'm always learning about and that helped me all along the EUNOIA way.
How love carries me deeper into life, helps me face the hard parts, helps me learn new things and opens the door
to joy....there was lots of joy.
Also to WORK- so much to work on! Listening, mostly. But the work can't happen without love. My basketball coach
dad talked a lot about desire and that stays with me. I see desire here as love- it's like the motor to get me
somewhere, to give me energy for learning things and growing.
Love for everyone in the EUNOIA family. You are all divine and I am so happy to be with you in this adventure.
Love for Christian and his book for the beginning, to Denise for making the way with skill, fun and artistry.
Love when I need to let go- again and again and again. Love for this frustrating challenge.
Love for my addiction to dance and my refusal to get help. I've made peace with that, though may have to find a
way out at some point...? So happy it's possible to still tour and all at 62.
Love for those strangers in a dark room who come to see what will happen. Love for connecting with them,
for my ongoing fascination with "the magic of theatre".
Love for trying to do the impossible tasks- becoming invisible is one of my favs. I could do that all day long.
hanging out with Tedd Robinson in St. John's airport
Gerry Trentham (performer, voice coach, writer of beautiful poetry, eternally my big brother):
That Phil and Laurel are great travelers - thanks for all the adventures
That Denise is full of surprises - she is much more in many directions than I ever though possible in one person. She is an inspiration and I am so fortunate to know her
That I think I married Ron (lighting designer) -- he sounds exactly like my partner -lol
That creating and performing Eunoia with each of you is a gift from some very generous gods
that the performance of Eunoia - the depth, textures, community, leadership, collaboration, all demanding presence is a whole body/mind active meditation - an journey of transformation that can always be more refined - a lesson and practice for life.
it reassured me in my belief
that you can never know what another is thinking -especially an audience
that performance can take a lifetime to master
that every world is complex - there is no us and them
that I am a detail
that I am very truly thankful to thoughtful presenters, dedicated board members, bright administrators and those who support us to perform
that the voice in spoken text can offer a breadth of interpretation not unlike dance - speech is a danced choreography of sound
some of the company at Cape Spear, NFLD
Hope Terry (performer, survivor, provider of kale and constant surprises):
The conclusion that there is nothing to grasp onto, that security is fleeting: sickness, health, happiness, sadness, success and failure come and go, so is humbling. Sometimes wishing it wasn't so.
Reminiscing for a time when life seemed more secure and perhaps viewing the confines of this sureness through rose-coloured glasses or at least enjoying the moments that it feels so.
If it were not for my beautiful artist family holding me and each other up in these fleeting states, life would seem rather grim, but with this support in each other's messiness, I find joy, and glee and silliness and power.
A power that is kind of sweet in its own weird way. Maybe this power that we cannot own, still gets to pass through us, rush through us in a way so we get to experience, as one gets to experience the mountains outside of Calgary, or the wind of St. Johns's or the rushing Yukon river, and maybe we happily wave at it as it passes through and reminds us that we are nothing, yet part of everything?
Maybe a reminder that we don't own anything, but are part of a larger 'sharing program', which includes EUNOIA.
some of the company at Nose Hill, Calgary
Jillian Peever (understudy who was called upon suddenly and who filled in with more grace and sheer will than we could have imagined):
I don't know how to follow all these beautiful responses, but I definitely learned something during this process.
About Eunoia... I learned that it is complex, but at the same time simple. I learned that the perspectives from within the piece and from within the group of amazing artists in it are all unique--and that is necessary and beautiful. I learned that there is time to live in the work. I learned that being part of it also means watching it, watching each performer add their piece to the story. I learned that poetry can be some serious shit! Seriously detailed and thorough. That reciting poetry, like performing dance movements, takes mental and physical practice, skill, concentration, and presence.
I learned that we are all ageless and beautiful and unique!
Thank you everyone. I learned so much from each one of you. What a perfect team! I'm so honoured to have been able to share the experience.
Fish and chips at the Duke on Duckworth in St. John's
Miko Sobreira (performer, soon-to-be-new-dad, a most patient and creative collaborator, warmer-upper of the audience)
What I learned from Eunoia, is that I can witness my journey through the joy of others, that there is no better social work than ART, and that it is for others but not for our selfs, otherwise it is not truly art.
the intrepid Nick Andison, technical director
Kevin Ormsby (understudy, overachiever, all around nice guy)
What have I learnt.
That integrative artistic practices is important to the future of Canadian Dance. The detail, work and subtle nuances of being in the process enlivened the reason I Dance but also provided a grounding where physical practice / embodiment met and was integral to the Creative practice / presentation.
Experiencing contemporary practice rooted in traditional Asian concepts could and can be abstracted to support one's artistic inspiration and inquiry.
In fact how we think of physical communication in dance should not be separated from the breath, vocal sensibilities or the relationships between internal and external being.
Innate connection to ones artistic practice will never appall but will create gusts, leaving a hush where murmurs or in fact chants, are a stamp that marks overall ingenuity between all collaborators.
Phil's-eye view of set up at Theatre Junction Grand in Calgary
Phil Strong (composer, problem-solver and wittiest person you will ever know):
Noel Coward claimed, "there is no fun like work".
He was a smart cookie, but I think it would be more accurate to say "there is no fun like GOOD work" or, as in this particular case,
"there is no fun like good, challenging, rewarding, artistic work - in a dedicated team of amazingly talented and profoundly decent people ".
Not only "fun", but a blessed state.
I continue to be blissed out by Canada's geographies, landscapes and the preponderance of awesome people - and food!
The necessity to adapt the show to each environment and the freedom and opportunity to continue to experiment and learn on this level is completely exhilarating. And so was the experience of all of us together and individually dealing with and overcoming adversity.
Speaking of which, flu is humbling and a good teacher, not to mention equipment failure .. and and and and…. I forget. What was I saying? Hey, where are my keys? Oh yeah, I need to be more mindful and carry extra ID in a safe place. or maybe get an government-issued tattoo.
warming up somewhere....could be anywhere....
Sylvie Bouchard (performer, best roommate (she was mine!) giver of many remedies for mucus and grant panic):
I knew already but learned again, and more deeply, how incredible this group of people is. So generous, loving, funny, and supportive of one another... it's a real gift, and I feel so lucky to be part of this beautiful team.
I knew already, but continued to learn that the work is bottomless. It changes me, and then it changes as I change. The work with Denise never ceases to teach me and makes me discover new ways to approach / delve into rehearsal and performance. Softer ways...
I learned how amazing it is to be able to focus on my tasks as a dancer a tour, without having to take care of other production issues... What a gift!
I learned how to go to bed earlier, I was inspired by my roommate Lucy!
I learned that there are ways to still eat your vegetables on tour! :-)
I experienced amazing communities, stunning festivals and series, and met such beautiful people in all the places we went to: Halifax, St-John's, Calgary and Whitehorse. Thank you immensely for all these beautiful and earnest connections.
I learned that when you come out of the Hot Springs, your legs feel like lead for a few moments... such a weird sensation....
our most patient and wonderful stage manager Marianna Rosato
Eunoia team at the Takhini Hot Springs near Whitehorse, Yukon
Laurel MacDonald (video operator, multi-talented multi-disciplinary artist, one whose hair is never mussed by the wild Cape Spear winds):
What did I learn about EUNOIA? (so far ; )
The all-encompassingness of it, in process and in fruition. The complexity of the many layers wide and deep, the dizzying detail within each layer, the multiplicity of interaction between them.
The ongoing subtle morphing that occurs as we learn more and more about the piece and how we influence it, and as we adapt to the constant changes in physical and psychological context.
How we are continually challenged to be more fleet of foot, tongue, brain than we thought we could be... then, just when we have risen to the challenge and gained a new sense of accomplishment, it reminds us, once again, that: no, no, we have still not learned everything yet - there is always another lesson in store.
Laurel at work
Denise Fujiwara (choreographer, mastermind, force-with-which-to-be-reckoned):
What I learned about EUNOIA:
- that beautiful thinking is the only way to go. Christian Bök is a remarkably positive, curious, creative thinker and somehow, those qualities have infiltrated our work. Those qualities have made a difficult project rich with exploration, learning, creativity, delight and friendship. Aristotle used the term eunoia to refer to the feelings of goodwill one must have in order to cultivate a relationship and to form the "ethical foundation of human life". I am grateful for the friendships that have deepened through the generous extensions of trust, commitment and kindness of all involved with this project. EUNOIA, the performance work blossomed because of that generosity.
- that "In rhetoric, eunoia is the goodwill a speaker cultivates between himself and his audience, a condition of receptivity." Thanks to Gerry for stepping up as Voice Director and teaching me how this is possible.
Denise Fujiwara, classic, during strike in Whitehorse
all photos used by the generosity and photographic power of Phil Strong
November 3-7 at 8pm
November 8 at 3pm
Harbourfront Centre Theatre