February 16. . . First Draft of Madness and GASP! Rehearsals

February 16. . . First Draft and GASP! Rehearsals

The week of the Creative Pinellas grant adjudication, I was closing in on the first readable draft of Madness, a new full-length play that’s a carnivalesque, gender-fluid riff on the humans in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

That Tuesday, we continued rehearsals for Air-Earth-Fire-Water, a dance-theatre project Helen Hansen French and I were commissioned to create for Creative Loafing’s GASP! Festival coming up in March. We’d had a helpful table read of the scripts on January 24 and I’d made a lot of changes and tightened them up before rehearsals started at the end of January. I’d just revised the first script, Airborne, again.

Air-Earth-Fire-Water is four short monologues I wrote, inspired by science. We had a terrific team and it had turned into a wonderful collaboration. Helen and Paula Kramer are our choreographers, Eugenie Bondurant and Chris Rutherford are our actors, and the team of dancers Helen put together is Helen, Alex Jones of Collective Soles, and Erin Cardinal and Brian Fidalgo of Moving Current.

(Eugenie’s experimenting here with an actual flight suit.)

We’re using Helen’s son Paxton’s cool blue plastic car as a prop for Chris Rutherford, as he gets stuck in traffic in Airborne. Hilariously, Paxton’s home from school one day and comes with Helen to rehearsal, where he’s delighted to see his blue car and rides it blithely around the dancers.

The morning of the grant adjudication, I was working on Madness and a grant application for an interdisciplinary collaborative series for children. I had to leave early because Helen and Paula and I were meeting Creative Loafing Editor David Warner to scope out the hill outside the Tampa Museum of Art, where Air-Earth-Fire-Water was due to be performed.

Always a delight to take a road trip with Paula and Helen. This makes the fifth project in the last couple years that I’ve been fortunate to work on with Paula, and the third with Helen. Both are such terrific physical storytellers, and it’s lovely to work with artists who are looking at the same questions I am, just in a different way.

(Here’s the hill where dancers will be unfurling parachutes and Chris will be driving a child’s blue plastic wheelie car, in the name of art and science.)

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