Go Deeper

Choreographer Annie Wilson’s Opening Night Survival Kit

Posted May 19th, 2009

4-6 Valium

1 pack Lucky Strike Filters (trust, it’s worth it to import ’em)


$60 cash for last-minute emergencies/impulse buys (Wait! What?!? No one got the hula hoops yet? Where can we get 10 in the next 16 minutes??)

1 roll elastikon–like duct tape for the body

1 roll duct tape



As much wine as you and your audience can suck down post-show

Snack to wash the wine down with

Extra folding chairs for the sold-out audience

A nourishing “last meal” before the show

Plenty of sleep the night before (yeah, right)

A performance is like cliff-diving. You see a cliff in the distance and the water crashing on the rocks below it. You think, “Hey! I should climb that, and jump into the waters of ambiguous depth, current, and shark population. It’ll be swell.” When you finally reach the top and peer over the edge, it’s the week before the show. Nothing that was supposed to be done is done. You think “How the hell did I get here?” and “I don’t know if I can make this happen.”

And then before you can stop yourself you jump, free falling, not in control of your fate whatsoever, surrendering completely to the waves and the rocks and the sharks. The house lights dim. As the stage lights come up you are plunged in the primordial amniotic fluid of a whole other world, where images are murky and everything tastes like deep salty mystery. That’s if you’re performing in the work. If you have to watch it with the audience, you don’t hit the water until the show is over.

–Annie Wilson is a Philadelphia based dancer, choreographer, and writer. She will be appearing in New Paradise Laboratories’ FATEBOOK at the 2009 Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.