A Pause: Some reflections on Saints and Souls by in situ:

Last night I went to see Saints&Souls by in situ at Wandlebury Country Park. The front of house and audience arrived in a dark car park, to be greeted by the Director of the production, Bella Stewart. We were escorted through a wood to an orchard and there we took our seats. The cast stood before us with lights illuminating their bodies. Then they faded again into the darkness. As we sat and waited, there was a pause. A long pause. When a pause was presented to me, I was left wondering about it and these are some of my thoughts.

The pause is such a powerful instrument of waiting, suspending time and marking the space between one thing and another. In text it can be indicated by a comma, a colon or other punctuation marks. A pause is a place of rest, where there is a space for rest. In a sentence the words need a temporary rest. When the word is spoken the breath needs to rest. The moments in a performance can be punctuated by many pauses. Each pause representing a different feeling.

When we arrive in a place, a restaurant, a drinking place, a theatre, the arrival is marked by the delivery of something, the menu, the drink, or the entertainment. We expect this to come to us quickly. We resist the pause which we call ‘a delay’ or ‘bad service’. What about the conscious use of a pause? A deliberate and suspended moment? How in everyday life can the pause become a part of the life, not as an afterthought, but an embodied part of it? As a deliberate and conscious or experimental attempt to intervene in time, space and place in a new way? 

The performance by the group in in situ: was magnificent. The stories and the way those ideas were presented with the bodies and voices of the performers. Their stories were embedded in the landscape, and carried through through space and time. The performers told their stories to us by anchoring those stories in a place ‘there is a dark cave near here’ or ‘there is a stream not too far away’. The audience participated in this journey with them through the landscape, through time, space and place. There were no ‘sets’ or ‘stage’ in a conventional sense. Instead, we followed the ‘action’ through the landscape. The sky and stars above our heads, and the grass and mud beneath our feet, the chill of the cold, and the loud roar of the wind. When I see a performance by in situ: or participate in any of their work, I am entertained, I have fun, but I also have a unique experience. I feel transformed. The work had a profound feeling of embodied poetry.

The next performance by in situ: is Midwinter Light, 13-14th December 2013 at Wandlebury Country Park.


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