At the end of last week, we had our first sharing of work in progress, and those who came were kind enough to contribute feedback, some of which I will integrate here.
More than ever after the feedback last week, I understand how difficult it is to make work that is all things to all people. Much of what people wrote about in great detail after last Friday's sharing or described to me directly contradicted something that at least one other person said. Given that it is in my nature to try to keep everybody happy, this is a very difficult (although not entirely unexpected) thing for me to come to terms with! However, it does indicate to me that a) at least people have opinions about what I am trying to depict in the new work rather than just sitting back from it and letting it wash over them and b) this piece has lots of potential.
The main question mark I have at this point concerns clarity. In terms of overall structure, how much do I have to show/develop (for instance) a single, original scenario in which several people discover an unconscious body in real time, with perhaps a more literal representation of emotional intention, before I can move away from that and begin to explore all the other things that interest me? Does that original scenario have to come at the beginning of the work? Do I then have to return to it later on?
I had a brief discussion with the dancers just before people arrived for the sharing on Friday in which we realised that already we were sometimes finding an organic route between our ideas, and at other times we were showing things consecutively or side by side in space that did not directly relate to each other. We discussed that if we were really going to open up the possibility of things moving (spatially or temporally) in unexpected directions in this work, we would have to make sure we developed both linear and (to use the term Tom Cornford gave me on Friday) collage structures alongside and through each other.
Some people feeding back seemed to want more grounding in a source idea, more explanation about what exactly was going on. Others were more interested in a place where "the lines between reality and subconscious were blurred and they began interacting". Finally, I think that it is possible to satisfy both of these instincts; to understand and accept key features about the event of discovery upon which all of our material rests, but then also to move on from there to engage in a much less concrete depiction of the tendencies that make us all human and the very many layers of experience that we all share.
Here are some edited highlights of our sharing: