By the time you read this, our director Adura Onashile, will have rejoined Contact Young Company and will have started exploring and structuring There Is A Light: BRIGHTLIGHT. During this first week of intensive rehearsals we’ll explore what a show, inspired by research into specialist cancer care for young people, actually looks like.
Cancer affects every part of your life and yet it often hides itself away. We can’t always see it, but we notice its affect. This cluster of cells, these rouge parts of ourselves, are fooled into thinking they are part of us. They start small sneaking in our bodies; they invade and become part of our story.
Sometimes our bodies remind us of these kinds of stories, with scars, broken bones or blemishes. We can also mark ourselves, capturing a story, a memory in an ink picture that lies under our skin. This week, in our last sessions with Brian and Nathaniel, we worked to access these stories; cancer or not.
With Nathaniel Hall we worked to unleash our bodies’ potential, and despite the groans and moans before our physical warm up, afterwards we all felt better for it. Not everyone in the group is a bendy Wendy, or a classically trained dancer but that’s not what physical theatre is about; grace, poise and flexibility are not the main objectives. Instead it’s more important to connect with your body; learning to recognise its limitations and finding its own unique movement style.
Brian Lobel had a more literal approach to unlocking the stories hidden deep beneath our skin. Contact Young Company began by drawing outlines of their bodies on paper. The company marked all the parts of themselves which held a memory; that scar on your knee when you fell off your bike on Deansgate. That freckle on your wrist that you share with your Grandma. The tattoo you got in Ibiza (the one you wish you hadn’t).
Each member of CYC now had a blueprint of themselves and their stories, from the most boring stories to the ones they were most excited to share. Although instead of writing all of these down with some they created a list of all the people that they wanted to hear it. When considering the story they didn’t want to tell, the group wrote down all the reasons they didn’t want to tell it.
We now had stories, lists, images and everyone was wondering what we were going to do with them. This technique is a fantastic content creating tool but in this moment Brain asked us to fold our pieces of paper up and sit in a circle. We took a moment passing our papers around. We didn’t read them, we didn’t even open them. Instead we just sat for a moment holding these stories. There was no flesh, there was no bone just a piece of paper and ourselves; each feeling the weight of a person now folded up and resting in our hands.
I’ll be posting further updates from the intensive rehearsal period, but make sure to follow our twitter #ContactYoungCo and don’t forget to book your tickets!
Mark (Assistant Director)