In her role as dramaturg for the (Un)Made Solo Relay, Allie Hankins engaged in an almost daily writing practice that echoed the re-collecting, associating and excavating practice of the performers as they created individualized versions of the solo relay dance from their memories and notes. Here are some excerpts as well as photos by Jeff Forbes (Linda A.) and Takahiro Yamamoto (all the other performers).
(Leg #1) Linda Austin:
Cycles and consistency. Those are things that are nice and sometimes comforting. And there is that shell prop that gets used as a scoop. The shell that holds the sound of the ocean and then washes everthing up onto the shore. Flotsom. There is also the metronome. It’s steady too. And I want to talk about the memory loss—I am here at the coast with someone with memory loss who knows me but doesn’t know me. Everything in the room is shifting always and revealing something else. A crick in the neck is an annoyance but can be worked through. Touching not touching almost touching the ceiling is an in between place—a limbo—a purgatory. That is how it feels that is what it is like. Things get amplified and exaggerated and memories get misconstrued or misremembered and then we just have to sit with them and recall them and never know exactly what happened. Just embrace and accept the memory and sometimes that fucking sucks. It’s dark in here. It’s dark in there. Moving through a dark space definitely feels like a whisper. It’s a half hearted attempt. It’s a weak gesture but somehow brave sometimes. It’s walking in a dark hallway and then remembering that people can hide in darkness and want to hurt you and then running to your bed and jumping onto it because all the monsters are hiding everywhere.
(Leg #2) Jin Camou:
The bells have been lining the steps all along but only ever stifled—never allowed to fully sound in the space. I think there are probably a lot of superstitions or beliefs about bells sounding in spaces. Like how people whistle when they are walking in the dark for protection. Bells are cleansing? Bells are reverence? Bells are tones, yes. Tones that sometimes fully align with the tones and vibrations in our bodies. And we feel that—that is a particular feeling. Maybe it feels like what a floating/sensory deprivation tank feels like? Body heat perfectly matched. No light to distract the eyes with excess information, no sound. Just fully immersed in the environment. I think that is something like how I feel when the right bells ring together. It literally pulls my cells into the space. It pulls me out of my body just a little bit, and then I am more fully inhabiting it when the resonance disipates. Or something. I don’t know. Jin lets the last bell ring out over her heart.
(Leg #2) keyon gaskin:
The metronome rests on keyon’s chest. It is going. It is steady. He moves the mic to the desired position with his face, as his hands are occupied in holding the metronome. Breath is the origin of sound and sounds put together in certain ways make letters or words and we watch this unfold as keyon lays on his back—mouth up toward the mic making sounds that come from deep within the gut they are not words but the sounds are certainly communicating. It does sound like a plea. We are being emplored. To lovvvvvvvvve me. Love him? Love the one who has passed? Love myself? Love Linda? Love me love me love me. I know the feeling. Then the metronome is silenced. Love me. We are all going to die. We are all going to fucking die. Some of us are dying slower than others. Lights out.
(Leg #3) Matthew Shyka:
The way this body moves in space—a large gait—long limbs, a thin frame. The effort of lowering himelf down to the floor—the quirky mish mash of a costume. I dare say I can’t ignore the fact that I think of clowning occasionally. There is also a hesitancy sometimes—as if there is some question about where to go next, or why he is going there. I can interpret this as an honest deliberation—sometimes we don’t know what’s next and we can simultaneously be standing still as we slowly try to move on to the next thing. I feel myself do that all the time. Maybe that’s what the vignettes activate—some couplings or groupings of several elements that have little to do with each other until they are piled together. A nest that balances on the head of a mermaid or a rock that spend several minutes in a man’s mouth and then is nestled next to a mermaid and a metronome. Rocks don’t age. But they do tell us a lot about time.
(Leg #3) Linda K. Johnson:
Before the monologue we are told that we are all going to die and we know that but it’s still arresting to hear. Linda scoots forward in a sitting fourth position and her hand is out—her fingers face up and she inches closer and closer to the stage right area—where the stool is—where the starting place was, where the monologue will happen. A sitting statue who moves in small thrusts. A sitting statue in a posture that mimics the ceramic mermaid that is the recipient of scrutiny, of ridicule, of punishment, of a dose of reality when it gets dark and the flashlight shines solely on her and she just sits there and she takes it. When does it feel good to make others feel bad? Somehow the darkness makes me think of disasters and power outages and who holds the power in those circumstances and who will be running the show. We ARE all going to die—but some of us will decide to actively try and live, and some of us will decide to just let ourselves slowly die—and that is what Linda says her mom is doing by not getting out—not trying to walk anymore. It’s a precarious dance—the considerations of death. Lately I’ve been losing sleep over imagining ways I will die.
(4) Nancy Ellis:
Those hands are a projection. This space is entirely unknown and the end result or the desired result will be determined entirely by the random events that transpore within the work. A red ribbon draped over the neck building a vignette, or maybe it’s a shrine. It is more playful and curious than spiritual—we question the function of the objects but we establish relationships as the proximity between objects changes. A small world on those steps. Whole world at her disposal instead of scattered throughout the space. Tightly wound. Tightly contained.
(4) Robert Tyree:
The pull of the sand—or the toes on the sandbelt—the direction of your desire is the opposite of the direction of your anticipated destination—the beyond. Beyond the sight of the shore from which you originated. The nest makes you ruffle—like an electric ruffling. Spaces between the tips of the fingers and the nest and the foot from the head and the weighted hand that’s filled with the batteries. Distance between torso and the hand that fixates directly over the nest—like a compass—and it’s also cyclical, or at least circular.