Paris, 12th arrondissement
one of our rehearsal spots is at Quai St Bernard, which is right in front of le Jardin des Plantes, in the 5th arrondissement. Right before the small amphitheatres along the Seine (coming from Gare d’Austerlitz), there are two staircases which are just perfect. And so, tonight, there, against the backdrop of moving lights on the Seine’s surface and Parisian buildings shining in the night, we started blocking.
With bikes zooming across the stage, people crossing it, without even realizing. Just looking half surprised half unknowingly to Alena’s choreography, and her “agir” and “changer” that pop up every once in a while.
A living stage. A living piece. What is most wonderful is to draw connections across the city. Connecting a choreography imagined and created on the other side of the river, right there on that spot which you eye from the other shore. That garden, which you know you could reach if only you could swim across and dry yourself on your way there, where you started building moments that you are making real for a stage as big as urban life.
How far the imagination goes. Up to the sky. Understanding really, deeply, what inherently means “Reach down into the Earth, and up to to the sky.” The sky, so high up there. When presence means being three times and a half as tall as you actually are. When lighting design is moving people, so as to adapt to what a city offers you: boats, light posts, gleams, shadows, contrast. That’s what I call a challenge. And one that all of these wonderful, bold, courageous artists I’m working with are taking on, seriously, with passion, and with that, oh so!, necessary edge of insanity.
In those gleaming lights, I think of another actor I’ve worked with. And I realize that, actually, that sky is the same that looked over our bridge in Swaziland. Time and space, they are indeed much more connected than you’d ever think.