Right now I am working on half a dozen different things, and I often think I might be better off working on just one, because the juggling IS hard work, but then something arises from the ashes of a project I’d thought had died, or something that was in abeyance needs looking at, or a project I thought might take a day or two turns into a week or two, or a one-off becomes a regular.
Or – as in the case of GAFA – a project that I thought I would just do a little writing on, a bit of script editing, maybe help out with directing as it’s a big project with lots of elements … takes over.
GAFA has taken over. Partly because it IS a big project and is demanding attention and is on for its one-night-only next week, and so it needs that attention, but mostly because I’m not just helping out and doing a bit of this and that, I’m in it. I’m being an actor and a dancer and a singer.
And I did always mean to be an actor and a dancer and a singer, and when I was 5 and 10 and 15 and even 20 and 25 I still thought I might be all those things (ok, maybe not a dancer after about 15!), but one by one they fell away (voice not good enough, too many actors and too little work, and writing being so much easier – for me), so that while I do still perform occasionally, impro-related or presenting stuff mostly, it’s very much down the list of what I do after writing and now also after directing.
Except I’m performing in Gafa. And not just performing. I’m singing too – there are opera singers singing operatically, and there is me, singing … like me. I’m dancing as well, group dance and also sasa, which is intricate and complex and bloody hard for this coming-up-to-50-year-old to remember (let alone get my hands and arms around while also doing that keeping the beat thing with my legs) AND everyone else is younger than me, some by a little and one by 27 years.
And I walked away from our Saturday rehearsal, body aching, voice a little croaky, head full of moves and ideas and trying to remember sequences, and scared, definitely scared, but also … full.
Aware that actually I really love body AND mind engagement, and that the reason I like physical theatre (or finding the physical in text-based theatre) is that the body is vital to me and to my work. It’s why, when I teach writing, I remind people that writing is a physical activity. It is not purely mind-related, it needs the physical and the spirit as well. It’s why so many writers I know run or swim or walk when they’re working.
And nervous though I am about going out on this limb of singing and dancing and all that I’m encouraging myself to do in Gafa, I’m also really full with it. It’s stretching me, more than I enjoy sometimes, often actually, as we come up to doing the piece next week, but that’s OK. Stretching is good. And feeling full with making is brilliant. And a little bit scary too.
If you come to Gafa I’ll likely be the middle aged palagi (white) one in the back row, ever such a little out of time with the young ‘uns. And loving it.