Ladies and gentleman! Who thinks love is biochemical? a vibration, an act of fate, a gift from God? A punishment?
My friend the choreographer Julia Aplin and I spent two years talking to people who had the number seven in their age. Whether they were aged 7 or 37 or 97, we asked them: What is Love? We donned white lab coats, plastered the name tag 'Love Expert' on our chest, and accosted people on the street during Nuit Blanche, asking them to tell us about love, and they did. We talked to people in their bedrooms; at Tim Horton’s; drinking champagne with their same-sex partners. Everyone who answered was showered with rose petals.
Then we showed a group of actors and dancers our videotapes and asked them to become these people, regardless of gender, age, racial background.
Julia and I were pursuing a new methodology in creating performance. We wanted our performers to literally become the person we had interviewed; to learn their body down to the breathing patterns and eye movements. Many other artists are interested in verbatim work on an aural level, faithfully re-creating what was said, what you hear. Julia and I wanted to re-create what we saws. It was an exacting, sometimes frustrating process. Yet once a performer figured out how to slip under another person’s skin, the result was unexpectedly powerful.
We showcased our love stories in a loose performance combining dance, theatre, video, and audience interaction at the Paddock Tavern during Summerworks August 2016.
Photos by Cylla von Tiedemann