• Dr Margi Brown Ash

The joys of writing a letter to my unfinished business

I am trying to write a letter, a letter to my unfinished business. Tomorrow we have Women and Letters, a show at The Zoo in the Valley (3pm for 3.30pm) celebrating Mothers Day and also celebrating our own unfinished business: the audience has an opportunity to write a letter to their unfinished business while listening to seven writers read out theirs.

I have written so many practice letters and still have not found an end point, which makes perfect sense: even the act of writing is an unfinished act.

I wanted to write this post because a post is like a conversation, and a conversation helps shift things that you think cannot be shifted…

I have just come off the phone to an old friend where we interrogated the process of acting: how does an actor create and how does an actor survive that creation? Does the body know it is make believe or does the body believe that what is happening is actually real… and if this is the case how do we decompress after a show?

I have been trying to figure this out for decades. We think we have the solution and then it slips from our fingers and we add another process to RIC (FORCE OF CIRCUMSTANCE and nest ensemble’s rehearsal process, called “Relational Impulse Cultural Training”, where processes are put in place to keep the actor safe while they risk big time and create what sometimes seem like magic).

And what I am realising is that my Belonging Trilogy, a trilogy of plays created by a team of artists over the last five years, embraces not just the stories of people’s lives, but the shadow of those stories. And is that what unfinished business is: the shadow of the act?

In April next year FOCC will produce another development of He Dreamed A Train and a new development of EVE: He Dreamed a Train had a brief season in 2014 as part of the first ever SWEET program at Brisbane Powerhouse. EVE had its first outing as part of the Metro Arts Independent season in 2012, followed by a re-worked season in Perth at Blue Room. Still it is not done, still unfinished business, so another version of EVE will be created for 2017. We are working with stories and their shadows…and as a performer my question, my constant question, is: “How do we work with the shadow and remain safe?”

I love this question (“learn to love the questions”) because it keeps me refining RIC, adding new processes with every provocation. And it makes me realise that nothing is ever finished. But one chooses to finish it.

I am aware that Anywhere Festival is on right now and I am thinking of all the artists who are investing in their emotional lives right now, giving freely to their audience with generous spirit. I wish you all fabulous seasons and may you also have rituals in place to keep you safe.

#writting #process #acting #production #body #letters #conversation #ritual #belongingtrilogy #shadow #stories #love #questions #provocation