Day five.

We talk about sets. Wild and crazy or reduced and simple. The heart says wild and crazy.
The lack of funding says reduced and simple.

But the heart wants what the heart wants. Let’s see what we can do.

We’ve been visited by Sigmund Freud today. Will he make it into the show? We shall see.

It’s the end of the material schlacht as we know it. And the beginning of composition.

We have three months. Don’t panic.

Day Four.

We do more voice work. We improvise more. I’m not on fire today. Now that’s not fun.
But very important.
Is there a way to create fire?

There is a way to keep moving forward. We went shopping. I hear so many ladies say, fur coats make them happy. So I had to try. I’m not a lady, but maybe my inner lady would appreciate it? She didn’t. We didn’t buy it. Fur is always second hand.

Day Three.

We do more voice work and we improvise. A lot. I am on fire.

I love improvising when it’s flowing. And flowing it is.

We work on finding our character for Das Fest and explore many things that don’t come naturally to me: Weight.
Sometimes I feel like I’m flying across the stage during my shows. Not this time. Expanding my repertoire.

Day Two.

Margot, my director, is doing a lot of voice work with me. I did a three year  movement training and I am surprised that movement and voice work require completely different things from the body.

Time to learn something new.

In the evening I am booked to do a very intimate show for 35 people. I perform a show I have done for many years.  I am so familiar with the elements, it’s like breathing.

Very different experience to my work during the day. Although there was a lot of breathing too.

Day One.

Unpredictability. A theme of Das Fest.

A late start and an early end.

S. is not feeling well, I’m taking Little J to the Kindergarten.  The little man has his own head and is taking his time. Taking care of other people’s needs is not a strength of a two year old.

After stopping at every car on our way, I send him off to play – and I head to the Gallery in Vienna’s 5th district, where I play. Sensitive people get paid for playing (Alan Watts). I’m still working on that.
wellwellwell is a beautiful space…

We dig into 40 minutes of material I have polished over the past 2 years. We work and work and work until S. calls: Our boiler is in need of repair. Immediately.
2-year-olds are not developing well in unheated flats in cold Austrian Winters… So immediately it is. Health trumps work apparently.

The good news: The heat’s back on. The work is developing around our kitchen table.

Unpredictability. One of the themes for Das Fest.

Das Fest is generously supported by Austrian Cultural Forum London, Galerie Die Schöne Vienna, Galerie wellwellwell Vienna.

Das Fest. Rehearsal Diary

Two years ago I started working on this show. I didn’t know it then. Tomorrow we will go into the rehearsal room to test ideas, de- or re-construct them and maybe throw them out altogether.

We have a bag full of ideas. But we are ready to abandon them, should we find a completely new direction. Celebrations are unpredictable. So is Das Fest and its process.

A(nother) beginning.

But first things first. I’ll get Margot from the Airport. No show without a director.

 

Das Fest is generously supported by Austrian Cultural Forum London, Galerie Die Schöne Vienna, Galerie wellwellwell Vienna.

Day eight

Time to go home. Newcastle to Düsseldorf to Vienna. I had great tea in Newcastle, I bought Eddie Izzard’s autobiography Believe Me, I had shitty coffee at Düsseldorf airport and a long plane drive in Vienna.
It seems like they land in Hungary and the drive the rest of the way.

What a week. I never thought this show would travel so far. I’ve met lovely people, I had amazing audiences (and some pretty drunk ones too. No more late night shows, I’ve decided.).
I’ve met my first groupies (a wonderful couple).

People shared wonderful memories with me, and some pretty strange secrets.

Here’s a little video of 40 Winks, where I performed on day two. You can see the strange living room and the unusual Mr Carter:
https://cn.nowness.com/story/app-life-zhou-dongyu-crimson-room

So far so gut. It’s good to be home.

Day Seven

Due to a booking error, my last show got cancelled. I am ok with that. I did 8 shows in 5 days with a lot of travelling. I’d rather do 5 shows in 8 days with no travelling. Next time.

I’m exploring Newcastle. I visit Ernest, Baltic and Kiln and I manage to finish my book: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
I can recommend it all.

And sleep. I recommend sleep the most.

Day Six

On the way from Great Dunmow in Essex to Newcastle in the North. A long train ride that exposes me to different kinds of “Englishness”, from posh to fun.

Performances of Day Six are at Cobalt Studios. Kate and Mark, two very lovely people, are on the way to create their “Talliston”.
A home for art and artists, full of love and care. DIY as they call it, and they do everything. Booked me to do some shows amongst other things.

If you are in Newcastle, or close by, please visit them and support their work.

Day Five

séance has brought me to unusual places. On day five I was performing at Talliston House & Gardens, by far the most unusual, remarkable and beautiful place.
There is much I could write about this house, about the 17 hours I spent there. About my haunted bedroom for a night.
But I won’t. Please go and visit. It should change your life.

I want to write about John Trevillan, creator of this house.

I have been touched to see someone create something with so much love and care.  He thought about everything. Everything.
And it must have been hard work.
I see a lot of carelessness in this world. Sometimes I catch myself being careless. This place did many things to me. But above all it inspired me to be more care-ful.
I saw how much joy it brought John and how much joy it brought myself and the others that were there that night.

The world would be a very different place, if there were more people like John deeply caring about something, something that is outside of themselves, but for them and for others.

“Do not ask why Talliston is like this , instead ask why is all the world not like Talliston.”

 

Preparing for the show in the Japanese Tearoom from the future.