28 Days Greater- Cancelled, but alive and kicking
Tonight I was slated to stand up a new solo piece of work for the first time. It was a challenge I set myself at the beginning of this year: to make something on my own, something small, to write and perform with materials I already own (though…maybe I bought a big pink dress.)
The show, called 28 Days Greater, is a clever spoof (I thought) on the zombie apocalypse film 28 Days Later, which, when I dreamt it up in early January, had a different resonance than it does now. Intended to explore a greater balance of power between the feminine and the masculine, it proposed a deep lean into strategic hope and fecundity over chaotic fear and depravity. Inspired by the structure of my menstrual cycle, I planned to perform 28, 2-minute vaudevillian acts of resistance against the narrative I grew up with about my period: to hide, to self-deprecate, to not be crazy on those pre-menstrual days, to not even consider what my own natural power systems right inside of me have to offer.
The generous #CamdenPeoplesTheatre emailed last week to say that they had gathered together some funds from other artists earlier in the season and would be able to pay me for the one night I would have performed. A small amount; but still unexpected, generous and inclusive. It made me feel part of an artist community here in London in a different way, and I thank those artists and the theatre for putting such thought and care into that effort.
£48 is the amount they will pay me. It’s small, but it’s not. It’s groceries, or a helpful hand towards rent, and most meaningfully it’s a gesture that tells me I belong, not only to an industry, but with artist peers who have my back.
In the realm of value for money, with that £48, I will treat myself to a small bottle of whiskey and account for the time I took to write the following:
It’s a start.
It’s an outline poem template for more things to come.
It’s drawn out of prioritising listening these past 8 weeks, and out of a longing to express different power capacities that I’ve been thinking about for the last year.
For your reading/imagination pleasure:
28 Days Greater
Be with the darkness
Stay with the pain
Don’t forget the backup plan
Then move with remembering
Prepare for clarity while cocooning in a blanket, a pancake or a double whiskey
Turning point 1: open up
Call Jacinda Ardern for a chat about empathy, transparency and clear direction
Take a trip (to the grocery store?) notice the new things that have always been there
Feel weird, be weird, (endure the regret, attempt self-acceptance)
Dance (slowly, alone, fast, with ghosts or real people)
Consider other ways of viewing struggle beyond war terminology
Turning point 2: Sweat with Jane Fonda and discuss protest culture
Bloody mary’s for all; Virgins for the virgins
Fly on a bicycle singing with Nina Simone
Fly in writing
Fly in a new contraption of your own design
Cook gratuitously for the people that matter here and now
Deliver small important necessities, believe in the power of small and regular
Turning point 3: Fall and be aware of the fall; this temporary out of body-ness is temporary. Everything moves. Including anxiety and fear.
Fail. Admit failure. Take time to be with failure for yourself. It’s longer than you’ll end up recounting to someone else.
Eat the whole thing
Live in between and be many
Call mom, remember she’s got the right advice even though it comes from a place she knows differently than you
Be with the rage, the judgement, the fear, and the tender soft gentle spirit that needs your attention right now and try not to blame it on others.
Turning point 4: Lie down. Let down your guard. Stop.
(sometimes) it’ll come. Or it won’t, and then you’ll devise a new plan
Back to 1: Repeat, but with more knowledge than you had the last time, even if it doesn’t feel like it.