I’ve been thinking about the outcome of our performance for the better half of the day.
I think the most effective way to describe it was “the most relevant possible failure.”
This isn’t a defense of what happened as an art piece. I feel both guilty and responsible for lacking the planning and control that was necessary for me to keep it contained as a piece. This lapse is something that I NEVER experience; I’m generally extremely (overly) wrapped up in the final presentation of the work, prioritizing it over the progression and process itself. This feeling is foreign. I hate the idea that we abandoned the audience as an engaged participant. It was entirely unintentional and non-malicious, of course. When I was done, but I should’ve taken control of the situation to reign in the boundaries of what we presented. Performance is both incredibly difficult and incredibly new for both of us and I think we struggled with the line between practiced and disingenuous.
However, what transpired, though unfortunate, was honest, uncomfortable, and a strange validation of everything that I had said during the performance and also everything that was revealed about myself. Sophie, who is Roya’s other very close friend wrote a letter to us expressing truth and pain in what I said and the belief that this will truly change our relationship outside of the performance. She ended with repeated use of that word, “validation.” The notes that we received were mixed; half said that they felt lost as we lost control of the performance, and the other half said that it was then that they began to understand exactly what both she and I were speaking of. Some said they could listen to it for hours. That was a comforting (but also heavy) notion amidst my extreme frustration and sadness post performance. Zephyr patted me on the back afterwards. Peter thanked us twice in his notes. I got choked up. These external results, the reaction from the other is what I was searching for. Honesty, somber truth, fragility of relationships were communicated, at least to a degree, to most. Fast/slow/average formation of judgment and contemplation in the minds of the external participants is just as key of a material as we are. We might meditate on the otherness of self, the perception or denial of truth and fiction, the tangibility of community and sympathy.
Ben gave some wonderful meditations on, I think, what the piece in its best form could’ve been/maybe was. “I (and probably everyone else) will start to analyze themselves or have the courage to be honest with each other about their relationships.”
This is what I wanted. Here was another area where the piece had two (both legitimate) goals. I wanted reflexivity and Roya wanted introspection. I know my half fell short.
“I do wonder if one of you is more right or if you are just two different dynamics, the overthinker, the narcissist.” – No one has ever given me an epithet, haha. He spoke poignantly about roles that we play in relationships. He spoke about the tangible glimpse of emotion, allowing anger to fester and brew.
“How do you say something truthfully when you would never say it to begin with”- I asked her that often throughout the process of us planning this piece. There was a strange dynamic, one of the impossible things to communicate, where I said everything I meant, but some of which truly never bothered me to the point where I would’ve brought them up normally. It wasn’t a conversation that two people “needed to have.” It was a ulteriorly motivated conversation (for the sake of this performance) that handedly forced healing truths.
Corin’s suggestion of connectivity through costuming or other could definitely have been a more physically engaging and tangible mode to explore.
I feel an urge to share what everyone else felt because that suddenly became the most important thing to me, and crit notes became letters.
Katie said things fell away. They did. She thought Roya had heard me rehearse what I said at first but then began to realize that she hadn’t.
Carrie said thank you and that phrase means a lot right now.She said she knew us to the core now. She said we didn’t need the tea. I agree we didn’t need the tea but I’m concerned because it meant a lot to Roya and she was very upset when I left her, blaming not me, but the tea on the deviance.
She took it pretty hard, the outcome more than the words (I think). I only say this because I felt close to her after the piece, but very distant after the class. I have a significantly easier time accepting instances of failure/imperfection than she does and I was at least o-k because I believe that I learned a lot. But honestly, the word disaster did enter my mind a few times. Maybe disaster with an upside.
The strangest thing is happening now where I feel truly truly close to my classmates, most of whom I’ve only had small interactions with. And god, is that so antithetic to everything about my personality. It’s incredibly difficult for me to feel a genuine bond with an overwhelming majority of people, and I swear right now I feel the most honest gratitude for these distant, new friends.