I’ve just worked three days with my new collaborator.
He’s not good at listening. He is extremely definite about how things should be done. He’s doesn’t like a lot of my ideas. He’s impatient. He hates rehearsing. He doesn’t sit still.
He constantly asks about lunch.
He never owns up to his farts.
I’m making a performance with my nine year old son. I can safely say it is my most challenging collaboration yet.
I had an inkling of the issues we might face before we embarked on this project; for example his vision for the work versus mine, issues around consent and privacy, agency and empowerment. I even foresaw the rampant personality clashes. I was not prepared for the microcosm of the process reflecting the macrocosm of our relationship and the way our family operates in the world. On reflection, this is of course what I could have expected.
“Felix, are you sure that’s safe?” I hear myself say as he wants us to climb a pile of cardboard boxes in an improvisation.
”Please don’t use the MAC!” I shudder as he rampantly raids my make up bag to paint his face in glorious technicolour.
In these three days I have learned a lot about me as a mother, and an artist. In working with Felix I am rediscovering the power of effortless play and imagination. He calls our work making ‘mini plays’. He dreamily and seamlessly glides from one fantasy world to the next. One second we are mum and son talking on a bench, the next we are exploring caves with glitter rainbow stalactites and stalagmites (they’re the ones that hang from the top, right?) He has an eye for a great image and a storming one liner. He is hilarious.
Every day we go out for veggie sushi.
Thinking about it, as collaborators go, he’s pretty fantastic.
Felix and I are making a short piece called I’m Bitter About Glitter for a family edition of Beacons Icons & Dykons next February. I’ll be blogging about our process here, so check back and see how it unfolds.
I’m Bitter About Glitter is directed by Lucy Cassidy.
Eilidh macAskill is kindly supporting me in this process and the work is funded by Arts Council England.
photo credits Carl Newland, Lucy Casssidy, Liz Clarke