I’m facing a paradox – for the first time in my life I have begun making theatre with objects and not my body. I am creating work that turns away from my own physical presence as an instrument of expression. Instead I am weaving my thoughts and ideas into puppets and film. I am moving towards a different form of practice out of necessity as I face questions around creating a sustainable creative life while living with a chronic pain condition.
I am sad and excited, full of trepidation and anticipation. I am disappearing and reappearing in another form. I am now the ghost writer, not the front man. After more than two decades as a singer, mover, performer, I am stepping back into the shadows and finding other ways in which to share my ideas. Eventually I might cease to be on stage in any physical sense whatsoever. It’s an adjustment.
I’ve grown accustomed to the direct feedback you get as a performer – the immediate attribution of a work’s impact on audience to the person physically present on stage. The delicious and informative reciprocity of sensing audience response – how we humanly commune in the space of theatre. Now I have to adjust to being unseen, sometimes unacknowledged. This has left me with doubt about my value and identity – this is a common theme to any chronic illness narrative. Anyone who has lived long enough has faced the necessity for self-re-invention at some point in their lives. We are profoundly alone and not alone – such is the tyranny and beauty of subjectivity and embodiment. This is what the very core of our recent collaboration Each Map of Scars was about.
While I come to accept and adjust to my bodies limitations, my puppets are now being set loose within the new realm of animation. They are my little voyagers, my prosthetic devices for discovery beyond the bounds of my corporeal limits.
Wish me luck, here we go.
To watch a short film of Each Map of Scars click the link below