‘Okay,’ I begin, pressing the record button of my handy-dandy new recorder. I’m the dramaturg for Reading with Bach and am about to chat - a kind of ‘interview’ - with each of the cast and creative team. ‘These conversations,’ I say, ‘are a step one of the rehearsal process . . . a way of preparing.’
I explain that when Lizzi and I had started talking about how we read and what we imagine when we read this or that, I had this flash of thought, namely, that we don’t ever read in abstraction. We may talk about reading in general, but in practice when we read we’re reading something. A newspaper or book or brochure – specific.
Of course with every dance or performance piece, those coming in as performers are individuals, but here, especially, it seemed to me that everybody would arrive with their own particular history and relationship to the subject matter of reading and books. Which books we read (or don’t) or reread (or not) is very individual.
And so, with this background set out, each cast member and I proceed to talk about books as well as music, films and/or art. The focus is on what he or she finds meaningful. These could be books that you’d want to revisit or those that are markers. Or simply something more casual, that you enjoyed or remember for no good reason. Or even a book you’ve meant to read (or something you’ve meant to listen to or a film or art work you’ve wanted to see) but haven’t.
What a range of titles emerged. What a range of books. Books that reflect what we’re made of. As personal as our signatures.
We physically brought some of them into the studio for the R&D; others were what we carried in our imaginations and memories. In devising movement material, we handled the physical books and peered inside, bending back the spine and reading, a first sentence, a second sentence, a paragraph, sometimes aloud, sometimes silently, becoming interested, even absorbed. We became aware of titles new to us and from there it was a small step to being curious about everybody else’s list of favourite stories or books.
By the end of the R&D we realized we’d generated a Reading with Bach Library. A portable library – that we work with, that we work from.
Our July 2013 titles are: [link]
Mary Ann Hushlak