Parshathy J Nath
Working with Visual Respiration has opened up new possibilities for me as a performer. I understand how one could start from simple gestures to navigate a vast emotional canvas. Combining these gestures with sounds added a new layer of meaning to the actions. The body began responding in ways the mind could not fathom. Suddenly, so many new possibilities unfolded before us. We were working with several choices.
Personal memories were brought back on the rehearsal floor. We began engaging with our pasts in new ways. Yes, we looked them from a distance, but still, there was rawness and tenderness. Something had happened to my recollections, I noticed. They had left their sentimental zones, to occupy new crannies of the consciousness where dreams, fears and fantasies reside. They occupied these spaces in the form of smells, sights and warm caresses and hugs.
I resonate with the idea of performing tasks and deriving creative triggers from them. Sometimes, the sheer labour of crawling on the floor or dragging a dead weight on one’s thighs created an impulse. As a performer, I have learnt to rely on my body better for any kind of dramatic tension or emotional pull; its conflicting equations with my voice, discordant notes between my ankles and thighs, the pain in my arms as I use some props…all of them can be great raw material for a performer.
The process of devising helped us play with multiple propositions that sometimes worked and sometimes did not. I loved the absolute uncertainty with which we would start our journey, and the gradual evolution of meaning by the end of the process. Working with gestures, what was delightful was how the director would be inspired by an image from popular culture or everyday behaviour. Working with intuition and the grand narrative of the piece, the director, with the help of the cohort, will try to put these in context of the play. By the end of the process, involving several permutations and combinations, the significance for the gesture with respect to the play will emerge. The gesture, detached from its everyday reality, by now, would have assumed an abstraction.
In this blog space, we talk about performance processes, interdisciplinary practices and various ways of creating performance and engaging audiences.