Residenties komt met Reflecties

Richard Gregory: My consideration of being quarantined

In samenwerking met SPRING gaat theatermaker Richard Gregory een langdurige verbinding aan met Utrecht, onder meer voor het kunstproject Ark. Gregory is een kunstenaar wiens praktijk gestoeld is op samenwerking, vaak met mensen die normaal niet met kunst bezig zijn. Hij zou in april/mei eigenlijk in Utrecht zijn om zijn residentie op te starten en (mogelijke) samenwerkingspartners te ontmoeten. Omdat hij afhankelijk van andere mensen is bij het vormgeven van zijn projecten, ondervindt hij onverwachtse effecten van corona op zijn creativiteit.

Richard Gregory:
My consideration of being quarantined

I’m finding it impossible to imagine.

It’s [insert month here]. 

I get the train to [insert place name here] airport.

Or – I drive to [insert place name here] airport. The traffic is horrendous.

Or – I drive to [insert place name here] airport. There is no other traffic.

Or – I get the train. All the way. From home to [insert place name here] to London then Eurostar then [insert place here] then [insert place name here].

(Right now I’m afraid of being in London). 

The sky is clear/blue/grey/dark/heavy [delete as appropriate].

[Insert name here] meets me from the train.  We hug/keep our 2m distance. [delete as appropriate]

He/she/they is/are wearing a face mask/nice coat/their usual perfume. [delete as appropriate]

[Insert place name here], the square outside the station is [select from options below]

  1. Frighteningly crowded
  2. “Back to normal”
  3. Empty

We walk through the city.

[Insert place name here] is nothing/exactly like I remembered/imagined it. [delete as appropriate]

We get a bus.

We jump in a taxi.

We arrive at                                     the café
the University
the house
the office
the municipal building
the theatre

[Insert name here] is already there. They stand to greet us.

We nod. We shake hands. We kiss. We embrace. We keep our distance.

Coffee. Tea. Beer. Wine.
Sparkling water.

[delete as appropriate].

The inevitable conversation….

How was it for you?
How was it here?
How was it there?

Did you have it? 
Are you sure?

And on.

And you. And me.  What do you/I do exactly?  What’s your/my role here?

And then. The project.

What are your thoughts? Where are you at? What shall we do?

(Is it ok to say there haven’t been any ideas? That one of the things that happened is that my imagination ceased to function in its normal way; that those thoughts that normally/usually/mostly/often/sometimes in normal life seem to flit in from nowhere, that swim about, that I can find pleasure in moving around in my mind like whisky/wine/sparkling water on my tongue, have somehow been absent. Not an empty mind by any means – no, not that – a full mind, a mind full of everything but new ideas. That it was a time of enforced uncreativity. That I can’t, somehow, force ideas to come. That it feels like some kind of loss or failure when I try to articulate it to someone else but – internally – there’s a kind of pleasure, a sense of release and relaxation in the absence of creative thinking. Is that normal?)

So – I share the obvious. The familiar. The stuff that [X] years of experience allows me to draw on.

And that is fine.
That is good and strong and what is needed.
That’s disappointing.  (I can see it on your face.)

It’s all we/I/you can do.

[delete as appropriate].

And we move on.

We relax into being together.

The simple pleasure of that.
Rebuilding our skills to do that.

A moment of realising that’s what’s happening.

I/you/we think/feel that you/I/we are thinking/feeling the same thing.

To be in the same room with someone else.  Someone we don’t know well/at all.

And we start to imagine how we might extend that.

How we might be with more people.

People we don’t know well/at all.
People who don’t know each other.

How we’ll find them/how we’ll meet them/where we’ll meet them/who they will be/what we’ll ask of them/what we’ll offer in return/ what we’ll do together/how long it will take/who will come to watch/what will happen afterwards.

Images. Structures. Invitations.

All of those things.

The usual.

And then, when we’ve finished/run out of steam/when the hour is up…

… I/you/we/they drain the glass/the cup of
Sparkling water.

[delete as appropriate].

And step out into the sunshine/the rain/the howling wind/the ebb of traffic/the empty street.

And breathe.

We did it.

Managed to imagine.

Richard Gregory, 03 mei 2020