Thursday, 3 September 2009

Moments Before and After.

The work is definitely taking shape now. It'll take place on three sites. First we'll gather in the plaza and remind the audience of the Icarus myth. Then we'll lead the audience in a procession of stellar lanterns through the narrow streets and into the Park, where they'll be greeted by Goya, who'll beckon them with huge disembodied arms through a tunnel into his imagination. When they reappear they'll be greeted by flying bats, mannequins suspended in the trees and some form of sound scaped mechanism depicting the surreal whirring of the artist's brain.

Eventually they'll be chased out of this space by demons, around the fish pond to the platform above the fountain from where the youngest members of the village will launch hundreds of paper planes and plastic parachutes. If we time it all perfectly, mass doesn't overrun and the weather is on our side we'll then look up and see a swarm of para gliders, coming over the mountain as a grand finale.

With less than 72 hours to build, script and rehearse their was added purpose to this evening's workshop. I worked with a group of teenagers stuffing white anti -contamination suits with newspapers to create figures to hang from the trees. We pretended we were making the Real Madrid team and gave each puppet an identity... Kaka, Xavi Alonso, Sergio Ramos etc. At then end we posed for a team photo - everybody wanted to be next to Ronaldo.

By the time we'd packed up and gone to the bar it was close to midnight. Outside in the street local cider was being served. In its natural state it's pretty undrinkable but poured from great height to give it some air and swigged immediately it's very nice. Speed and precision are everything and the quarter glass that can't be drunk in the first second gets chucked up the street with a flourish.

The bar is where the para gliders hang out, tell stories and try to persuade hard as nails barmaid Silvie to set up a rolling tab. We ended up in conversation with an Estonian flyer, who through the cider goggles of a man who refuses to throw any dregs away at all, he explained why flying was such a buzz.

As he spoke he began to act out the moment of launch, checking the wind, the cloud formation, the flocks of birds, the lay of the land. For a moment he saw everything, was aware of everything. A second of total control before the jump. If, for children, the second after take off seems the most interesting, maybe, for adults, it's the second before. Could it be to do with the way we learn fear as we get older and have to find ever more sophisticated ways to conquer it?

Silvie brought the Estonian's bill, which brought him crashing down to earth.

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