I was even more excited about attending my second performance than the first. I had something to compare it to, but knew it would be a totally different experience. I didn’t want to know which route I would be on as I didn’t want to have any preconceptions in my head or make any decisions beforehand. I wondered if it would be a totally new ‘story’ or if it would add flesh to the bones of what I’d seen previously.
When I had to make my first decision as to which way to go, my feet automatically did it. I’d seen these performers last time but didn’t know their story. I was intrigued, so followed them. What I was leaving behind, the other option, didn’t even enter my head – in fact it was only when I was writing my notes the next day that I realised I hadn’t even thought about it.
As we entered the woods we were accompanied by the haunting sound of a saw being played. Instant goose bumps. The crunch of autumn leaves as the performers danced, the tender touches, the playfulness of the actions made it a very moving piece to watch and seeing them part and move on was surprisingly emotional. We were just beginning to get to know the new performer and now he was gone, but I noticed most of our audience scanning the woods as we left, hoping for another glimpse.
Oh, and there were cows again. Different cows, but they were very excited by the sounds and sight of us. Music and movement has an impact on every living thing.
The performers reacted to so much – the pheasants that flew out of the hedge; the sound of the train; the snagging bramble. So much feeling and emotion and all without a spoken word. Amazing.
At the next decision-making point I found I was the only one to make my choice. I wondered if it would feel weird, being the only member of their audience, but actually it was incredible. My own performance; knowing when they turned and looked in my direction that they were only looking at me; I felt so close to them. Following the performers on their journey, watching their every move and noticing each decision made me think of my own situation as a parent. Most of the time I have no idea what I am doing, and as a single parent I have to make decisions on my own. I felt a connection with the adult performer. Once a decision has been made, it cannot be unmade; you cannot go back even though often that is what your child wants you to do. You make a decision based on gut feeling, or something that is familiar, and hope it’s the right one. Having a small person questioning and disagreeing with you only makes you more determined. My brain didn’t switch off from this train of thought for some time after I had got home.
Meeting another group of performers and their audience was a relief, a comfort – not for me, but for them. They weren’t alone. They had company, could share decision-making.
When the whole audience was reunited, I watched them. At one point I noticed confusion, an urge to stay put and, at the same time, to follow. It was fascinating. A few moments later faces were showing shock, surprise, fear and bewilderment. Watching the audience process what was happening around them was an interesting added-dimension to my experience.
At one point a friend asked me if I knew what had happened to a specific performer. I did, but couldn’t spoil it for her so was evasive. I wish I could have seen her face when she found out.
It is not long until I get to watch my final performance. I am wondering if there is anything that can be felt, seen or experienced that I haven’t already. I can’t wait to find out!