I’m thrilled to be back at CounterPULSE, about a year after our first ARC residency. The piece we created through the residency, FRIEND came out of the recent loss of one of my closest friends to a brain tumor at the beginning of our time at CounterPULSE. In working on that piece and unearthing stories about the beginning of our friendship in 11th grade I was flooded by other stories. I had met Sharon during my one year of attending Berkeley High School and we were part of a group of friends that came together quickly, briefly and intensively–united around shared desires for consciousness expanding, artistic exploration and boundary pushing of many kinds. Sharon had been the one friend I had kept in touch with after high school, through college and into our adult lives. As she died, many of the friends from that wild year reunited at her bedside.
It was wonderful to reconnect, and it also stirred up a potent mixture of memories and unresolved feelings. During that year in the late 1980’s we opened many doors that flooded us with more insights, questions, darkness and light than our young psyches were prepared for. Some of us were able to recover gracefully, and some (like myself) were cracked open and tossed around by the winds of confusion for many years.
I am exploring once again all that was unleashed for me through that rush of spiritual seeking, psychedelic drug-tripping, sexual exploration, rebellion and power play with the help of the Dandelion Dancetheater ensemble.
I relayed my stories in as much detail as I could remember to Mantra Plonsey, who then wrote a script that became the seed and structure of our new work, ARTHUR IN UNDERLAND. The piece is taking me back into a frightening and wonderful land wherein I seemed to have left important pieces of myself–a sense of wonder and delight, a longing for discovery and a trust in the mysterious synchronicity of the path that is always at my feet.
The story of ARTHUR IN UNDERLAND is fictional, and yet it feels painfully true to me, more so than if we had tried to retell the literal story of that time. I am powerfully reminded once again of my love of performance as a vehicle for healing and transformation. I find myself deeply nourished every time we enter this dream-world in rehearsal. It’s uncomfortable, electrifying, provocative, overwhelming, joyful and very mysterious. I feel honored to be working alongside such courageous and generous artists, and to do so in a venue that creates such a safe space for risky exploration.
Here’s a 3 minute preview of Arthur’s journeys: