Checking in with some paralysing self-doubt on a Wednesday

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If anyone is curious, this is where I’m at.

It’s Wednesday 11 March 2015, I’m in Sydney, and it’s classic IDM in the headphones.

January and February were fairly manic. Ten days in the Philippines, two days in Korea, then three weeks jumping between developments: Kill Climate Deniers Felicity: The Stage Play to Are We The One? back to Felicity again. More or less seven weeks of back to back project work, followed by this patch of down-time. I’ve spent the last two weeks writing emails, writing reports, booking travel, catching up on admin.

This is four parts good and one part panic.

Weeks like these are great because as well as all the necessary project admin and correspondence, as well as getting the chance to see some fucking lovely theatre, it’s also a rare and pretty vital opportunity to take a look at the bigger picture. As someone who generates most of my projects myself, it’s really valuable to be able to contemplate stuff beyond the next few weeks – where do I want to be in 2016, 2017 etc. These quiet periods are precious as hell and I’m incredibly grateful for them.

Having said that, there’s nothing like a momentary pause to force you to confront the horrifying blankness that lies behind your actions. My whole practice is based on forward motion, and without that, I feel a kind of terror and panic and the sense that it’s all coming apart under me.

Even worse, it confronts me with the question: What do I want.

What do I actually want? And if I say it, if I can even get a grip on it enough to be able to articulate it, is it actually possible? Is there a way from where I am now to where I want to be?

And if not, what am I actually striving for?

I have answers to all these questions, I’m sure you do too. My Churchill Fellowship report was one attempt at answering them, and I think it’s the most accurate formulation of my intent that exists. But no matter what, those answers always feel a little threadbare when you’ve ground to a halt and you need to begin the slow push to get another project moving.

That said, this kind of existential panic is a pretty good reminder of how helpless and small we all are against this massive stumbling world we’re clinging to. Anyone who doesn’t have time for the occasional bout of paralysing self-doubt: I pity you. And anyone who has the time but feels neither confusion nor doubt: I pity and fear you.

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Angst aside, it is now time to get busy again. I am heading to the Philippines next week for two and a half months with the Sipat Lawin Ensemble. There’s a few things on the cards:

I’m working as dramaturge on Sipat’s new large-scale participatory show Gobyerno (Government), in which a playing audience design and film their own original documentary articulating their ideal society. The show is having initial trials in Manila at the end of the month, then we are taking a prototype version to Festival B:om in Seoul, Korea, this April.

Following that, I’m helping out on Sipat’s incredible Karnabal Festival, a huge gathering of theatre and performing artists from the Philippines and internationally. I’m helping manage the International Platform, in which artists from Korea, Japan, the USA and Australia will present their work, and collaborate with local artists on new projects.

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As well as Gobyerno, I’m involved in several shows that are happening at Karnabal. The first is an ongoing collaboration with Isabelle Martinez. Last Karnabal she performed our jointly-written one-woman show Appropriate Kissing For All Occasions, based on our shared fascination with ‘sexy TED talks’ (god help us all). This time, Isab is restaging AKFAO (time to learn to kiss, yo) and we’ll be working on the first staging of a new piece about romance, and forevers.

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And finally, at long last, I’ll be performing as one quarter of AustrAmerican ensemble Everything is Everywhere, with fellow writer/performers Jess Bellamy, Ira Gamerman and Siobhan O’Loughlin. We’re presenting a new work entitled 24 Truths and 12 Lies, and I am fucking jazzed. Ira describes it as ‘three rounds for world domination’, which is pretty much the perfect tagline for any play, ever.

And now that’s enough words; words aren’t even words.