Making theatre – spoken word, whatever you want to call it – is a truly bizarre thing to do. “Difficult, stressful, ruinous of relationships”, as my director said to me only yesterday as we stood in the courtyard at Arts Centre Washington, waiting for the last hour before the first performance to slowly wind itself up. “But once you know you can, then you have to.” Yes. That.
A strange old day. Listening to the music waltzing out of the tea dance room with Duncan the Tech, trying to persuade him to follow his faint impulse to take ballroom-dancing lessons, if only for the delicious image of a large and magnificently bearded man with a blue quiff and a faceful of spiky piercings being able to break out a nifty foxtrot on demand. Bashing a big bruise onto my bonce by slamming INTO the ‘Mind Your Head’ sign. Doing a show.
And doing half a workshop – bless him, Dave was the only one to turn up, and half and hour late at that, so we didn’t have a chance to do any writing from visual prompts like these…
But we did end up doing some erasures together, blocking out lines on extracts from old travelogues to create little fragmentary found poems, which we then used as prompts to write short verses in response. By chance, we both ended up creating erasure ‘shards’ about gardens and Paradise. Dave’s was “The road wheels, bright green. Girasoli, the new ones on faltering legs, sweetest countryside reminds me that this is Paradise. In shadowed hills, orchards give way to Montepulciano” His reply was
The beer’s on tap.
There’s one or two bulldogs,
But they got rubber teeth.
Listen, mate, today is Saturday,
But you can make it Sunday.
We don’t bother with the rest,
‘Cause this is Paradise.