When I explained my crazy set idea about lamps and giant picture-frames to Christian I was sure he would tell me it couldn't be done. But he spent about 10 seconds thinking, eyes to ceiling, and then said that First Scene had big frames we could probably adapt and he knew where we could get some light bulbs. Awesome to have him co-directing and there to facilitate wonderful things with the First Scene props department. I was stoked with the way the stage looked last night. It was fantastic to perform in it. Echoing the Ghosts was the perfect way to crown the end of my time as director.
It has been an amazing 3 and a half years full of things I never expected I would do. We've toured twice to Whangarei, once to Parihaka, once to Dunedin and once two of us even toured to Ubud in Bali. Camp Literatti back in 2008 as we prepared for Word of Mouth was a major highlight and something I hope we get to do again. Getting to work with Nikki Patin last year on Growl, working with Craig Humphries, Just the Tikit and Karen Hunter and collaborating with digital artist Kate Barton for One Foot Forward the year before - more things I'll never forget. We've made some freaking awesome pieces of performance art in this time.
From the very first duets that we performed at The Kerouac Effect in 2007 - Getting Game Jaded with me and Murray Lee, and a Kerouac piece by Andra and I - the collaborative performances have just consistently got my wheels whirring. Later on we'd adapt Alternative Angels and send it through a series of reincarnations that would see it eventually performed with an animation projected on a giant screen as a theatre-piece. Shane and Andra started melding poetry and song. Murray Haddow got Murray Lee performing poetry in French with him for the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Shane performed No Fixed Abode with Craig Humphries on the broom-bass. Murray Lee got audiences creating his backing tracks for him in Train Gang. Christian and I started getting complex on the layering with The Thing Is in One Foot Forward. We made poetry across the globe with Nikki Patin.
Oh there are so many things that we have done and it's been hard work, but an honour to have had a hand in making those things come about, in creating the space for the other literartists to create what they have - and they have created so many cool, cutting edge, inspired, funny, sad, bitter-sweet, beautiful pieces of poetry and performance.
I've learned a lot. I really didn't know anything about events or directing the creative process when I started. I remember being stunned at Shane's suggestion I take on the role. Hopefully the people I've shared the journey with have grown from it along the way too. It's hard to know what it means to other people really. It is so intangible a thing, to have been a director of these performances that live for such a short amount of time and are only ever witnessed by a select few people, when really all you did was facilitate something anyway. But I am proud of it nonetheless.
Finding a new Creative Director was a task in itself. At the end of 2007, I had my eye on Charis Boos for the role, but she got whisked away to Wellington and no one else was prepared to do it at that time. They were probably right to be wary - it is a taxing job! At the end of 2008, Murray Lee started to prepare for the role in 2009. But then he got domestic responsibilities and decided to pull out. I have no idea how I managed to keep the group going at all while I did my Master's study in 2008 and then wrote my thesis last year, but somehow it happened, we produced Growl. And we've pulled through stronger than ever.
I'm glad for this time, for these people I have had the opportunity to work and play and create and cry and laugh with.
Today I did some gardening. Next weekend I am going to finally type up and begin editing my latest poetry. And then I am going to play around with some new performance stuff. Just for fun. Because I will have time.
I hear Christian has hooked us up to evolve Echoing the Ghosts in collaboration with the Wallace Art Trust, so I can't wait to see what he gets out of me for that. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to be directed and led into new areas of myself in that way. I can't wait.
And to part, here's an interview with Christian, Sabrina and I in Renegade House.
I'll see you all next time - as a plain old performance poet and I'll be loving it!
Over and out,