Post M

The Entangled Storytelling of a Question

Category: English

Spoleto, La MaMa Umbria International

Dear reader,

POST•M has come to an end for the moment… but inoutput has just launched a new project: “Ni una más”, a theatre performance about feminicide and violence against women. You can follow our adventures at http://inoutmas.wordpress.com!

Nerina

Cher lecteur,

POST•M est arrivé en fin de course, au moins pour le moment… mais inoutput lance un nouveau projet : “Ni una más”, une spectacle théâtral autour du féminicide et de la violence contre les femmes. Vous pouvez suivre nos aventures sur : http://inoutmas.wordpress.com !

Nerina

Caro lettore,

POST•M è giunto a un momento di pausa, almeno per il momento… inoutput però lancia un nuovo progetto: “Ni una más”, uno spettacolo teatrale intorno al femminicidio e alla violenza contro le donne. Potete seguire le nostre avventure su http://inoutmas.wordpress.com!

Nerina

POST•M by inoutput

Cher lecteur, / Dear reader, / Caro lettore,

inoutput est fier de présenter / inoutput is proud to present / inoutput è fiero di presentare:

The trailer of POST•M by inoutput, a participative performance.

Directed and produced by Nerina Cocchi
With Alena Giesche and Viviane Irina Neumann.
Photography by Andrea Messana
Production’s assistant: Heather Pynne

With the support of the FSDIE of l’Université de Paris 8, of our donors and the Middlebury College Dance Department, VT (USA). In partnership with La Mandragola and L’Emmêlé.

Enjoy!

Nerina

Bruxelles, Ixelles

Cher lecteur,

cliquez ici pour le trailer de POST•M !

Bonne vision,

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

just to follow up on yesterday’s post. I do know. Or, to put it plainly, I know a little more than yesterday. Anne Bogart’s words are always a comfort to me when panic sets in and I have no sense of direction. Yes, I will always feel a sense of inadequacy or inability to convey my own meaning, but there is also a space in myself where things do get clear once I commit to making them clear.

I spent most of this morning typing up my notes from yesterday, and they made sense. Interaction and community building are my focus in this creative process, as hard as that is while rehearsing and preparing the encounter with the audience. Narrative-building for identification purposes is not on my list of priorities. And characterization is, as everything in this piece, a question of choices, bold ones, and layering. Layering, layering, layering. Layers allow perspectives, and they allow the development of individual participation and collective strategy. As well as questioning. Where questioning brings constructive doubt, and constructive doubt allows self-observation, awareness and imagining something different, maybe more powerful, maybe less, but always innovating.

With Parc de Belleville ground under my feet,

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

“Every time I begin to work on a new production I feel as though I am out of my league; that I know nothing and have no notion how to begin and I’m sure that someone else should be doing my job, someone assured, who knows what to do, someone who is really professional. I feel unbalanced, uncomfortable and out of place. I feel like a sham. In short, I am terrified.” Anne Bogart, A Director Prepares. London and New York: Routledge (2001). pp. 84

This is were I stand today. On the verge of creation, terrified. Terrified that I am not expressing myself correctly, and letting myself be misguided by other people’s expressions. That I am not filtering correctly what POST•M should be about. That I do not have the knowledge and the analysis needed for it. That my artistic abilities are will never be compelling enough.

And yet I know that I have moved before. And that, if I have come so far, it is out of need. So the road ahead must be walked somehow.

“When I am lost in rehearsal, when I am stymied and have no idea what to do next or how to solve a problem, I know that this is the moment to make a leap. Because directing is intuitive, it involves trembling and terror into the unknown. Right there, in that moment, in that rehearsal, I have to say, ‘I know!’ and start walking towards the stage. During the crisis of the walk, something must happen; some insight, some idea. […] I create the crisis in rehearsal to get out of my own way. I create despite myself and my limitations, my private terror and my hesitancy. In unbalance and falling lie the potential to create.” ibid. pp.86

Here I am. Lost and terrified. Letting the crisis be there, so that that decision, that potential to create can happen.

In the walk,

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

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.

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

with our last company member, Heather Pynne, our lighting designer, having arrived this morning, the POST•M’s company is now all present and participating! Tomorrow is our first encounter as a full company, and I am excited. To see everyone together. To feel everybody’s creative energy all physically connected. To witness in person and in visceral body the meeting of boundaries and their change and development. Finally. It’s taken one year, but here it is, happening.

And it is at moments like these that I feel how lucky I have been so far. I would like to share this feeling with you, and also channel this energy to touch a core theme of POST•M’s: the connection between family history and responsibility. With Alena and Viviane reading Art Spiegelman’s Maus, which I consider a cornerstone of transgenerational digestion of History and personal history, myself continuing my research on scholars discussing transgenerational traumas and elaboration of Memory, the entire company drawing genogram family trees and discussing “group”, “collectivity”, “community” and “society”, we are dealing with the heart of POST•M’s matter.

In other words, how do you consider your family’s past (stories, myths, recollections, corroborated facts, official documents) part of your own past? What is the past? What role does your past play in determining your own present identity, and your own personal choices within your society?

These are the questions I have been asking myself for about 1 year and a half now. These and many more. I do not have universal answers for them. I just have my own answers for my own story – and that might not even be accurate. I believe we need to be aware of this, as much as we should be aware of our bodies. In order to know where we come from, and what sort of interests we will always be inherently defending. To be aware of where we stand means to possibly know which biases might be conducting us, and as such, what biased decisions we can make. Knowing this doesn’t mean not to make those decisions, but to have an inkling – with a historical and social awareness – of the long-term consequences our acts can have. And what sort of future we would like to build for ourselves and the generations to come.

We have the gift of long-term projection, as human beings, and yet we lack, in our everyday behavior, political investing, bureaucratic structure, the driving force to apply it intelligently.

The world is bigger than it feels, or seems. The world is big. And so is time. And so are decisions that travel through that time and space. It can be scary, but most importantly, it is something which as citizens, individuals, communities, we can play with in order to make this world a fairer and more balanced ecosystem.

On a thread, in balance, in breath,

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

outdoors rehearsals and close research are producing their effect: ideas are starting to float in me. Images, feelings, sensations, shapes, relationships. I feel like a sponge taking in whatever comes my way. I haven’t experienced this sensation in almost two years, and it feels like myself again. I don’t think an artist can experience a greater pleasure.

Today was a gorgeous, tasty experience. With Alena and Andrea we were in a garden right next to the Promenade plantée right along rue de Bercy. We had been there for about 1h15, with Alena exploring the space and slowly building a maze of yarn and bamboo branches, with some sparse newspaper pages afloat in the midst of it all. At that point, as I had just walked to her and asked her to stop building and just playing with the space she had created, we heard voices. Children. Many of them.

There were probably 30 of them. An after school group, coming to eat their goûter in the park. Well, they saw the maze. And they didn’t stop. They started asking questions: “what is it? what is it for? is it a sculpture? can we touch it?” I asked them what it was: “It’s for Christmas!” “It’s a spiderweb!” “it’s to jump!” So many answers. “Can we play with the yarn?”

Oh yeah. And they did.

What a pleasure to see free spirits playing with the legumi, as Andrea calls them. Yarn balls flying across tree branches. Legs jumping over yarn strings. Walking underneath. Running. Screaming. Excitement. Free flow.

“Madame, je crois que vous n’aurez plus de pelotes…” We did, at the end. God knows how.

Thank you kids for playing with my universe. Thank you for looking at it with the honesty of your heart. And thank you for showing me that 5 minutes is more than enough time for play. And that all it takes is an energy.

Thank you for being there today and liberating whatever was there waiting to be liberated. Shapes, colors, ideas, interventions, Lego spirit.

With the greatest smile,

Nerina

Rome, Via Poliziano

Dear reader,

the POST•M company is heading back to Paris tomorrow, attacking a second part of rehearsals. The next three or four weeks will be dedicated to intense research, story-building, universe-bulding and choreographic research. Breaking up our time in different ways and meeting less all together as a company, this time will allow me to compartmentalize the different aspects of this production and start weaving the different threads that will make up the next part of the creative process.

After this reinvigorating Roman experience, I feel ready to bite at the material and dive head and tummy first into family history, post-traumatic theory and movement exploration of different parts of Paris and its suburbs. I look forward to share all the material I have gathered in the past years!

We will also be developing the new characters inhabited by Maria and Viviane, and start imagining a new common world, in which everybody has a space, a place and a time.

And guess what? Andrea’s almost there to physically join us at rehearsals and Heather’s arriving in 9 days, exactly!

Nerina

Paris, 12th arrondissement

Dear reader,

I was present today at a conference held at the CNRS in the 17th arrondissement by Le Cahier du Genre, which is soon publishing its 50th journal around “Gender, Modernity and ‘Coloniality’ of Power”. I had the pleasure of assisting to talks by Maria Eleonora Sanna and Eleni Varikas, Paola Bacchetta, Irene Silverblatt and Clemens Zobel on the most varied topics, but what I bring to home and to the rehearsal room tomorrow is an incredible longing for precision of language and for narrowing down of interrogatives.

I am fully aware of how scattered my thoughts and body have been, and the necessity of gathering everything under one common energy is now clear. I wish I had been more accepting of this inner lack of cohesion sooner – because I know that the work ahead of me is so much more daunting because of how many ends I have to bring together. At the same time, I also realized today that I have been immersing myself in a universe from a completely different point of view than the ones I had previously experienced. So, it wasn’t wasted time, or wasted energy.

So, finally, here is what POST•M is about. It is about who we are, as multiple voices. It is about who we are as grandchildren and children of the generations who have preceded us. It is about understanding and stating that there is no one truth, that History isn’t and cannot be one voice. That citizenship is a collective business, and that as such collectivity and community need to be built in order to make this world a fairer and better place. Because I strongly believe we can do it, and that we will do it. POST•M is about witnessing the present which becomes past. And questioning what acting and witnessing actually means. What participating is. What building together is. POST•M is about accepting that not understanding is ok. That no answer is readily available. And that time is a necessary tool in thinking, developing, feeling. That today’s relations need to be more than about one place, one country, one time, one point of view. That plurality of expression is not only a necessity and a true reality, but the only way that our current society can express itself.

So let us please grow up, and be responsible. Let us see in the Other ourselves, and reach for Her/Him. And let’s stop saying that “this is happening because of this”, “no, it isn’t”. Stop saying no. Open your eyes, open your ears, and be there, for you, for me, for any human soul in the 7 billions that we are living on this planet.

With utter and most passionate love,

Nerina