The Gran Show, Bristol Old Vic Diary Day 1

I intended to publish this yesterday but decided to go and see Joy at the cinema Instead. It was brilliant and surreal and portrayed a powerful woman refusing to give up. I feel bolstered by Joy.

So… yesterday I watched the video of the performance of The Gran Show at Camden People’s Theatre. I reviewed my current material and worked out what I want to carry on into the performance at Bristol Old Vic on 20th Jan.

Things to keep: Introduction, Dancing Cabbages and Grapefruits, Sunbathing scene, Cigarettes scene, ‘My Gran’ Poem written by me age 9, Closing lines and Angel.

Things I realised: I have identified three strands within the piece.

  1. Scenes that are Tributes to my gran, some of which are the performance of objects that she interacted with and remind me of her and some are reenactments where I play her and partake in an activity e.g sunbathing. I want to be a bad re-inactor like a chees-y tribute band rather than presenting these naturalistically, partially because I think it will be more fun. (I probably need to discover some theoretical grounds on which to base this)
  2. Scenes that are delivered from a pulpit and fit with the form of a funeral service, poems and readings fall under this category.
  3. Me, me just saying something about my gran.

I’m not sure how these fit together yet and I spent a lot of time yesterday writing lists and thinking about it.

Things I thought about:  I thought a lot about about the cyclical nature of time and how the re-performance of events that are over or people who have passed away upsets our concept of linear time. The event/person lives in the past, in the present of the performance/ reperformance, and might continue to live in the future in these repetitive reperformances. The history of the event/person does not end when they end as the reenactments or reperformance allows it/them toto live beyond their natural endings.

I identified a cyclical pattern of :

Death/ ending- Remains (the deceased’s objects, or documentation of an event)- The re-performance of remains (civil war re-inactments, elvis impersonator) and therefore life – Death/ ending of these remains- leading again to a kind of death, and the remains are not living when not being performed by a body or physical place.

This cycle naively assumes that memories are not living, and you could argue that the life of the rememberer makes the memory living, and so living memory needs to slot into there somewhere.

I realised that this piece is my way of allowing my gran to live on through the re-performance of her remains: objects of hers, reenactments of her and memories of her. It is also an a failing attempt to say goodbye. Something that is almost impossible to do as her history lives on, using my body as a site, a site that in itself is already a genetic remain. There is something here about repetition. About the breaking of form, about the fluidity of time, but Im not entirely sure what yet.

Things I shouldn’t have done but enjoyed anyway: Youtube Karaoke of Phil Collins Tarzan soundtrack. Dancing my pants off to James Brown.

Things consumed: Porridge, berocca, thai green curry salad, banana, tea, orange, strepsils, water, 3 meatballs and a little bit of tomatoey pasta.

Sleep: 6hrs ish, deep, but still didn’t feel like enough.

Wish me luck with day 2!

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