Rooster & Snowball Again
Last week Magda and I performed Rooster & Snowball again in its original 15 minute form for the Performance Mix Festival in NYC. We applied for the festival when R&S was a brand new baby of a piece but we were going to perform it a full year after that!
We were nervous that it was going to feel different. What if we didn’t have any of that anger anymore? What if we needed to make Rooster & Snowball grow up in someway? In previous run-throughs it sometimes slipped into a forced place where we were “performing us performing” the piece. I was nervous I was going to be stuck in that zone.
So this is what I was trying to prep me and magda for as we embarked on our first R&S rehearsal before Performance Mix. Reminding us how it might feel bad and lowering my expectations. Wow I must be a fun rehearsal partner.
But lo and behold! It felt fantastic. We ran it all the way through fucking laughing and cracking each other up the entire time. Riffing down more diagonal paths away from the piece and right back to it again. The paths that aren’t visible to the audience in performance, but dwell in the sub world of invisible rehearsal meanings and psychic choreographies. We were right back where we were two years ago, lonely, angry and looking for love (do you believe in life after love?) It felt like hugging an old friend. A friend that you grew up with but forgot how they instantly mirror back to you the person you are in all of your mess and your beautiful when you’re with them. It felt like me! Like us!
It was a reminder, of what exactly I’m not sure. Something about myself. Something personal and not necessarily about the piece. Like a touchstone where the deep core of my being is easily accessible. It, again, felt like freedom in the way that it had at the very beginning.
I was explaining this feeling to my therapist and she told me it reminded her of a painting by Henry Matisse “Bonheur de Vivre,” which currently resides on the second floor of the Barnes Museum. She told me how all of the seeds for the rest of his work are in that early painting of his. The style and colors and direct images from all his other work can be traced right back to Bonheur de Vivre.
Can Rooster & Snowball be the Bonheur de Vivre of me and Magda’s work? Is it the piece that birthed all the other pieces?
But also the piece has, of course, changed. Rooster & Snowball are growing up a little. They both have blonde hair now and wear turtle-neck sweater tank tops so they look real professional with their bouffant hair-dos. But they also got yelled at before the show for sitting on a carpet in the lobby and taking a nap on the floor of the dressing room so they didn't grow up too much. Feels good (and bad) to be failed rebels again.