‘Its a fool looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart’ from ‘O Brother Where Art Thou?
Its been a very hot week, with temperatures reaching near 40 degrees somedays in rehearsal in my studio,with no air con, only the Fremantle breeze when it comes in from the sea. Having just come from making a show about clouds in ‘Cloud Child’ in the snowy Uk and now working in red hot heat on ‘Change of Heart’ its a bit of a shock to the system.
Some days its like your working in an oven, slows your brain & reactions down, you feel dizzy from moving up and down quickly, and fingers swell like sausages. I wonder what is the secret to acclimatising quickly when people jetset from one hemisphere to another to perform? All this adding to my first full on experience of performing in extreme temperatures and at a Fringe Festival!
Perth’s Fringeworld began last year and has already grown into a huge event in 2013 with audiences spolit for choice, and performers, comedians, magicians et al desperate to get bums on seats. Its a brilliant adition to the Perth Festival calender with lots of pop up venues & pleasure gardens to relax in the cool evenings.
My pop up venue was De Parade Teatro 1,
in the State Theatre Centre Courtyard and was the largest space Ive ever played this show, not the small scale black box Im used to and had pretty noisy air con. What to do? Keep audience & performer cool, or turn it off & sweat it out? During my 2 hr tech run with great, friendly Fringe technicians, they could hear me above it, so no problem. However, once the show had opened on the first night , with a decent house of approx. 50 people, it became obvous to me my fatal mistake! they could hear me, but I couldnt hear them, and this visual theatre artist needs intimacy from her audience, I like to hear every murmur in the space,gasp, sigh, yawn even, it drives the journey of the show and brings them with you.
By the middle of the show, I felt like a robot playing to zombies, because the air con drone was just ruining the relationship and atmosphere. There was no silence! This, plus a technical fault at the beginning with my overheated mini-projector, some sloppy tech cues as I could only have time to do one quick tech run with the technician (hey its not stand up, puppeteers needs more time to set up!), fumbling sausage fingers (next time ice packs!) and my programmes not being given out, made a not too perfect show. However, I still got good feedback , ‘Really loved us up‘ said one audience member.
Air con off for the next show, we will all sweat it out tonight, and what a difference – in the moments of silence, I could hear everything the audience were communicating, and it was a very special show, full of energy & life. Especially because for the first time in the audience, there was a heart transplantee with her donors family! it was overwhelming, they told me how they found each other, changes & coincidences, and how much they loved the show, they had specially come together to see it. This was a really moving and unexpected experience, I could of talked forever, but I had to get out quickly for the next show, with the promise they will write to me and so I hope I can share further their unique experience. Audience feedback included –
‘It gave me euphoria!’
‘A really cool & clever show’
‘Change of Heart’ solo show was created from the inspiring research material by Dr Paul Pearsall, easy to find on the internet http://www.paulpearsall.com/info/press/3.html . These are the most well known stories and some have become modern day urban myths, although more research is becoming available as more people survive transplants and potentially a greater understanding & awareness of cellular memory. Also research from –
Pearsall, Paul, The Heart’s Code, New York – Broadway Books, 1998.
Sylvia, Claire, A Change of Heart, Boston – Little, Brown and Company, 1997.
Young, Louisa, The Book of the Heart, London – Flamingo, Harper Collins,2002.
The idea of how everyday objects can act as symbolic metaphors for everyday habits which become extraordinary once transplanted via the heart in another’s body is the framework of this show.
For more theatre development info please see – http://yardworks.wordpress.com/art-of-heart/
For more recent info on heart transplant & cellular memory research see –