Sunday, November 30, 2014

Behind-the-Scenes: From Director Kimberleigh Holman's Sketchbook

I have some weird and amusing dreams.  As a child and preteen I frequently had a repeating dream in which I canoed through water-filled highways to a house where two vampires in full slapstick fashion would each try to convince me the other was the ‘bad guy’.  Someone decode that, please. I currently have precognitive dream experiences on a frequent basis, which will never cease to freak me out.  However strange my dream process is, the thread that ties it all together is that while dreaming I always feel incredibly coherent in my choices and I most always have a task to accomplish. I’m always in control and invested in what I'm doing, but I could never explain why I was doing it or for what purpose in the dream moment. Lucid and yet not lucid, all at once.

Some early images from Kim's notebook.
Piece beginnings (left) and some sketched thoughts on the space and scenic elements (above).

Fast forward to conception stages of The Sleeprunner.  I was fairly convinced I wanted to do a piece that described the feeling detailed above.   More specifically I wanted to explore a sort of journey dream where one is traveling through an unknown landscape while trying to accomplish a vital goal.  

Instantly I had images and a scenario pop into my head; when my husband and I travelled to Maui for the first time we were instructed to drive up a well-known inactive volcano to watch the most incredible sunrise of our lives.  What I didn’t realize was that seemingly easy task was all based on waking up around 2-3am to drive to the other end of the island and up this massive volcano.  If you know me, you know my difficulty with early mornings, but my incredibly good-tempered husband woke me up and somehow got me to the car where I drifted groggily in and out of sleep as we drove.  I got tiny glimpses of our dark surroundings, but continuously fell back into my dreams.  Just the feeling of drifting in and out of sleep while setting out to accomplish the mission of catching a sunrise on top of a volcano - all amidst very unique terrain - was incredibly absurb... especially so when topped off with watching a sunrise and a lighting storm from above the clouds, on a mountain top that resembled Mars (or at least photos I’ve seen of Mars).

Screen shot from rehearsal footage for An Obscure Journey,
The Sleeprunner
When we got to work on An Obscure Journey (Sleeprunner Scene 4) in the studio, I attempted to create the piece under the same conditions as my vague traveling dreams and my bizarre Maui experience.  I restricted information on the journey itself from the dancers, while encouraging them to desperately want to go along on the trip.  On a whim I ripped up a tee-shirt before one rehearsal to use as blindfolds, restricting their sight, and loved the moments of risky wobbly dancing on an otherwise resolute journey.  Later in the process I added a master manipulator figure who would be located far above the dancers as they traversed the space, to give the journey an even more obscured but important task. 

Phew!  I’m very curious to observe the audience as this piece unravels, and to hear their thoughts.  While vague and mysterious, far different from the ridiculous and wild moon piece I’ve most recently been working on (that one would require its own blog post!), I hope viewers pick up a certain sense of suspension as the dancers perform their quest across the space and equal euphoria as tasks are accomplished.  Let your need for clarity go, just for a moment, and join us on An Obscure Journey.

See you at the show!!


Kimberleigh Holman, Artistic Director

Screen shots from rehearsal footage, An Obscure Journey

December 5 . 6 . 12 . 13 @ 8pm
Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge MA

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