Night Watch was a 24 hour performance festival at Cambridge Junction (June 14th - 15th 2014) where I was again in residence, trying to see everything, and produce writing that could be printed out and distributed to the audience at the end of the night (well, actually Sunday lunchtime).
You can see some great Claire Haigh photos of the night here (probably nsfw)
I'm currently re-editing some of these texts to appear in a forthcoming collection, but there are a few examples below:
I am holding a football, and the football does not smell of anything.
I had forgotten how fluid football can look – I do not know anything about football, but I suppose some of these poses, and situations, and gestures, and rituals, have seeped in via osmosis – the anticipated strike – the free kick line – the shirt as towel – the arms raised in acceptance.
I had forgotten how fluid football could look. I do not know anything about football, so I wonder if the breaths IN and OUT on each step are a training thing, a sport thing, or a dance thing.
Skills – at first, I’m not sure – is this something I’ve seen before – on telly, on the playing fields? Is this something that the sporty, popular children did at school? It is intense, and focused, and requires counting – muscle memory probably – also things that theatre people, performers, know about.
S l o w m o t i o n r i t u a l.
I think of Will Dickie’s Team of The Decades – ritualised sports poses to crowd noise through a boombox. I think of ITV replays. I think of endurance.
This is physical.
This football does not smell of anything, but there is the sweat of the audience, of he performer, the squeak of boots on stage, the expectation of breathing.
I am lulled by gin.
I am also bullied, exploited, made to feel complicit.
I am laughing.
I have been manipulated.
The audience laughs at x joke, but not at y joke.
What makes y beyond the pale?
Violence in all things.
All political language is violent.
No language is violent.
All performance is neutral.
Al performance is loaded.
All theatre is political.
“Art isn’t political man, I just do it”
“You are an idiot, I am going to kill you.”
Does SLAP TALK flatten the language of power/authority? Does cutting between political speeches, boxing pre-fight grandstanding, delusional ranting about angels and destiny dismantle the violent impulses in these paragraphs, theses verbs, these barbs, these arrows?
Finally, a focus, chilling stares;
(England v Italy Saturday 14th June 2014)
“Well, it’s too early to say really.”
“Why are the goalkeepers allowed to pick up the ball?”
“Why have they all got yellow shoes on?”
“What does that mean?”
Ps are PLOSIVES
1 2 3 4
“We pronounce this language dead”
And at the first violin rasp, every hair on the back of my neck goes up