Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stilts in Denmark, Days 4 and 5

My quip a few days ago about feeling great and in top form has come back to bite me as I now have a head cold and have lost my voice. But one of the kitchen saints has taken pity and supplied me with lemon and ginger for tea, and another has promised to bring me schnapps from home. Having already suspected my lack of essential vitamins may be playing a part in this malady, I stopped at the grocery store today to purchase some beer and chocolate to supplement the otherwise excellent meals.

My Danish Doctor administers an ancient
and effective cure for sore throats.
Work continues to develop, slowly and in fits and starts. in addition the big performance on Sunday there is a pageant to be done on the walk streets of Holstebro on Friday afternoon: we take city hall at noon. There are some 55 actors to coordinate, performing songs, dances, stilting and manipulating six giant paper mache animal totems. During these days we have achieved two full company walk-throughs in the spacious Red Studio, as well as outside in the nearby field. Typical of such events, a lot of material is worked on (costumes, props, acts) that ends up modified, rearranged and finally cut as the space and time restraints become more obvious. There has also been some injury to knees and backs that adds a level of anxiety. Still, I'm impressed by the work of the performers and directors and designers - this gig is not an easy assignment given the scale and unknowns - but I do feel it is coming together.

Though there hasn't been as much opportunity to exchange techniques and develop ideas among the stilters within the studio structure, it has been a boon just to see the work the others have brought and talk shop at meals. I had forgotten all the cool counterbalance moves that can be done, lifts and turns, tricks for getting up and down, techniques forgotten but still within reach.

It is also a joy to see the work demonstrations of Odin's Julia Varley, presented over the last nights; it is for me a reminder of the explorations of voice and physical gesture that informs their work and set us on our own course many years ago. She ended the voice demonstration with an improvisation that was a masterpiece painted with the colors of Bach, Coltrain, and Amazon Rainforest.

Pageant tomorrow. More to come. 

Ensemble assembled to get the marching orders for the Holstebro Pageant.

The Plan of attack.

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