|Neil Ellis Orts and Donna Meadows|
photo by Simon Gentry
When we started talking about what we were wanting to do with our portion of the residency, she said she wanted to participate in my work as well as making her own work. Okay, sure!
Sometime, maybe I'll talk about the "audition" (I put it in quotes, because they weren't really auditions in the usual sense) process, but I ended up with Donna and Cassandra Shaffer-Permenter as my cast. We had a couple of play dates in September and have been working on Jill Alexander Essbaum's Necropolis (my half of Questions and Declarations, the HopeWerks showing next week) since early October.
I asked these two ladies if they had anything to say about the experience. Donna sent me the following:
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I am so enjoying working on this project with Neil and Cassandra. Any time spent in rehearsal is absolutely serious fun. The most intriguing thing for me is having the poems reveal themselves aurally rather than just reading printed words on paper alone. And as I delve further into the poems through speaking or hearing them I am drawn to return to their natural home on the page. While I am most familiar with the ones we are performing I’m finding that experience eases my way as I read other poems in the collection. Neil’s staging has enabled me to explore them with multiple viewpoints.
As we continue to work through the staging and lines of this poetry I find myself becoming more focused yet more at ease. For me, I feel we’re at a point where we’re starting to flow. I’ve always enjoyed the exchange and co-mingling of energy with fellow performers, separate entities creating and sharing a singular experience. This project has been no different. Cassandra and Neil have been great and Jill Alexander Essbaum’s poetry has been wonderful to explore with them. I’ll miss our time together in the Hope Stone studio (my dance home) when our HopeWerks is finished.
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Won't you come see what we've been up to? I feel really good about it. If you're on Facebook, let us know we're coming by visiting the event page and while you're there, I invite you to "Like" the Breath & Bone/Orts Performance page.