IMGA0009I need to think about my form.

I have reflected on my life and the creative expression I have engaged in throughout. My childhood and even adolescence feels like an entirely different life in most respects but one thing seems to be a thread. One continuous seam keeping it all together, stopping me from amnesia: Performance.

It started in the theatre. From the age of 8 to 11 my drama teacher, Cypriot actress Popi Avraam, conducted her classes without scripts. We would improvise, do a scene each session until we had the entire play. We never wrote anything down. Once it was done it was there. Once it was there it did not need to be written down. I think this very much informed my later practice. From the ages of 12 to 20 scripts were enforced. They were always stifling but safe. I did work with progressive youth stage Theatre Antidote in my teens, that encouraged us to write our own stuff. We did. Except for the amateur dramatics productions I was involved in, there was always an encouragement for self-expression and individual creativity.

I had been modelling for commercials since I was 8 and adapted to that way of working: Mute. Close-up. Direction over script. Shot and documented. Not too much repetition. I would give them what they wanted pretty quickly. I was known for being fast. Only in the last commercial I did at 25 did I slow them down. The director, who I have worked with since I was 16, had his stinking attitude on. I do not like to work like that. I felt objectified and disrespected. Let’s just say if I don’t give him the shots he wants he does not get what he needs. He had five scenarios. I gave him one with the energy he wanted. I was depressed for three days after that shoot. I vowed to not work like that again.

Expression went thus:

Modelling intermittently from 8 to 25 –

even though calling modelling a form of personal expression, when one is selling a product, is a bit problematic

Theatre from 8 to 20-

8 to 11: Without script

12 to 20: With script

Film Production from 19 to 22-

With schedules, tables and call sheets

Performance and Video Art from 22 to 26 (present)-

NO SCRIPT just a loose idea of set-up to then improvise in

I feel like after boycotting theatrical practices for almost 6 years now I am coming back into it. Working like I have in the Asha project I cannot deny a theatrical or at least an acting element. I did not do method acting but my own version: embodiment. I embodied her for 6 months before revisiting and performing her historical pieces. In that time I found myself going through different stages. It was adaptation. It went something like this:

I decided to embody her.

I did my research. On paper. Via interviews. I stayed with her and her daughter. I went native.

Like breathing in asthma medication I opened myself up to her influence. I let her in.

I found myself acquiring new personality traits, like extreme frugality and bluntness.

I allowed myself to take her all in and then stated my boundary.

I ended up splitting myself. I was a vessel for her and for me.

I got to the performance spots. I dressed up. Instinctively I knew what to do. It had already been done. I just needed to be there.

When I got to South Africa I felt like I was coming home to a place I had never been to.

Once the performance was over it was over. Once the last performance was done the whole series was done.

Through performance me and her worked together. We consolidated our intertwined-ness. It felt like emotional reconciliation even though there was no obvious conflict but the mere nature of this embodiment, which meant I was an emotional siamese twin with her, needed to be acknowledged and come to an organic splitting and resolution.

I am me again. Me has not lost the ability to act but has just instead found herself this time rather than escape herself. Rebelling against the form helped me understand it better. My own method of performance is my own hybrid. My times in the extremes have helped me build a large range. Technically as a practitioner I am enriched. Personally I am more healed than ever. Spiritually I feel so clean, I sometimes forget I am still alive because there is no pain. Once something is done it is obtained and so never lost. If it happened it is there. In the colourful tapestry of my life, that will continue to build, change, react and merge, everything will always be there but just in its own place.