HOLD STILL WHILE I FIGURE THIS OUT
Thursday, November 16
“It is a dance of mild idiosyncrasy, enhanced by the dancers’ subtle balance between logicality and lunacy.” thINKingDANCE
What if we could start all over from scratch?
A show is created before your eyes each night, and always different—the show is creating a new world. Text, dance, a unique soundscape, and set design, all weave and respond to each other, unfolding in unpredictable ways. What is pre-ordained, what is spontaneous? Clever, quirky, sly, and beautiful, Subcircle has long been one of the most imaginative companies in combining visuals, sound, and movement. HOLD STILL WHILE I FIGURE THIS OUT plays with the complexities of creating the world anew and the challenges of interaction, relationships, and building a new world with all its unforeseen components.
Featuring Niki Cousineau, Christy Lee, Scott McPheeters, with live sound design by Jorge Cousineau.
Interview with Niki Cousineau and Scott McPheeters
Excerpt. Check out the FringeArts Blog for the complete interview.
FringeArts: How has the show evolved from where it started? How did you tease out its structure?
Scott McPheeters: The vast majority of material in this work is developed live and in direct relationship to one another. For the year and a half that this piece was being created, we often found ourselves entering the studio in dismay of the state of the world. What had originally been a weekly exploration of various improvisational scores eventually turned into a question: What if we could start all over from scratch? We spent a year and a half essentially studying how to begin again, and how to build upon different proposals of a new foundation for growth. We were fascinated by how quickly entire environments could be constructed from a single source of inspiration and that depending on the day and the source of inspiration, the environments would be completely different.
FringeArts: What have you discussed most with your collaborators during the making this work?
Niki Cousineau: We’ve talked a lot about the difference of being inside a performance and a viewer. We’ve worried about whether knowing a piece is largely improvisational is helpful or a hindrance to audience members. Is it fun to figure out the game or do viewers feel outside of it. As we’ve shown this is work in progress showings—this is a question we asked our test audiences. Most liked not knowing. Some think every moment is totally crafted. As a viewer I enjoy trying to figure out the rules. I like thinking I wonder how they made this—what was their process like?
FringeArts: What have you worked on most in fine-tuning the show?
Scott McPheeters: Even though the work of building in the present moment requires an intense amount of focus and energy, there is a relatively peaceable, respectable space we hold for one another that, when attempting to relate to a building of community, seems overly utopian and unrealistic. Also, from the audience perspective, there emerges a predictability of structure that leans toward monotony. To combat this, we started talking about the fact that even when building in the present moment, what we build always exists in relationship to concrete past experiences and memories. We are always moving forward, with the understanding that not everything works out for the best. Each of the failures, disasters, disagreements, successes, and celebrations we have experienced in our lifetime we carry with us. Therefore, we decided to infuse the work with choreographed movement material set to nostalgic pop songs that works to interrupt the action, trigger past memory, and redirect the action of the work.