Ten reasons you should COME SEE TENDER AT WOW MAY 9-11 59-61 EAST 4TH STREET NY NY 8 PM (this blog post written by Emma during rehearsal):

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1. There’s a robot puppet.

2. The robot puppet was illegally built in a fancy art studio with uh borrowed materials haha jk not really.

3. Lydia Love is designing the lights.

4. CONSENT IS SEXY. ACTIVE CONSENT IS SEXIER.

5. Tickets are pay what you can, and you decide what you can pay. We hope it’s fifteen dollars. We will be thrilled to see you regardless.

6. “What are your other phobias? That’s a weird question. Don’t answer that. Should we kiss?”

7. We’re performing at a queer anarchist theatre collective called WOW Cafe.

8. The play sparked a series of workshops on radical consent coming to you live summer 2013.

9. “Pretend you’re a bowl of peaches and they all wanna cuddle …” is the start to a warm up we often use.

10. Sometimes we spoon.

Dance Class by Amanda Hameline

There is something incredibly satisfying about seeing a group of mismatched
people all dance in unison. A slow, smooth wave of movement is followed by swiftly
changing feet; a mass of heads looks left and then whips around in a turn (sticky
heads is a term I once heard a teacher use). A stray arm may veer off for a moment,
but the sheer force of united momentum is, in and of itself, strangely exciting.

I think there is no better place to view this than in a slightly disorganized, open
dance class. Of course unison viewed on the stage is also satisfying – the end of
“Revelations” is a great example – but it is a different feeling. The costumes, lights,
and clear imprint on the dancers of hours upon hours of rehearsal make it too
perfect. A short combination at the end of a crowded, sweaty class contains a
different breed of urgency. When else in life do you see a group of people so focused
on learning something just for the sake of learning? Or focus so intently on a short
phrase they will never return to again, and one that will most likely have no direct
impact on their lives? Hard work and intensity don’t normally come along with
transience.

And all this cooperation is borne out of a kind of selfishness. You take a class for
yourself. You don’t take a class to make your other classmates look good. But you do
all come together out of a sheer desire to learn, and improve. And during those last
fifteen minutes it all turns into something, and everyone miraculously morphs into a
single, moving beast.

THREE WEEKS AWAY

Three weeks until you can see what we’ve been doing all this time. Hi it’s Emma. Last week, for the first time, we went through the whole thing! Something in the show got stronger last week, I am not sure what it was. There was some group spooning. As the day gets closer there’s less I can reveal about our process because I don’t want to give anything away. The robot puppet is getting steadily better at dancing; the dialogue is getting tighter and tighter; we’re finding the props we need, developing moments of conversation between theatre and dance that seem to deepen every time we go again. Everyone, across the board, is taking massive risks. I’ve never been part of anything like this show, and this is really, really the last week I am allowed to edit the script. So I’m writing this post to take a really huge deep breath, one that ideally lasts until I have a script that is weirder than the one we had before.

Mark your calendar.

May 9, 10, and 11 at 8 PM, at WOW Cafe, 59-61 East 4th Street, New York, NY.

It’ll be a little warmer then, a little closer to summer, but not quite time for Manhattan to go on vacation yet. Pressure will be building, and you’ll feel it under your feet. 

READING THIS SATURDAY – MARCH 16

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This Saturday! This is it! The full text! Here we go! Emma’s gonna stop drinking coffee! Seriously you should go to this. You should. I’m talking to you. Yes you. You should go.

Workshop Reading: Tender

Tender is a dance play about a queer couple that is coping with intimate trauma. The show is awkwardly sexy, sweet, and strange; there’s a really cute robot and, we hope, a seed of queer advocacy that will continue to grow throughout our work.  Exploring the complex issue of relationship abuse in queer communities, we created a process of generating dialogue and dance that we hope to share with you on March 16 at 8 PM. We’ll do a short reading and strike up a critical discussion, focusing on your observations, questions, and thoughts. Come by to listen to a rigorous and fascinating conversation or to add your voice to a new work that strives to be anti-racist, honest, and wholeheartedly queer.   Tickets are $7 or pay what you can. For more information about the dance play, the workshops, or the emerging company behind both, check out freshpeachdance.wordpress.com or email freshpeachdance@gmail.com. For more information about the 32-year-old anarchist collective venue, check out wowcafe.org.

First Rehearsal: Game of Getting Close

Hi it’s Emma! I have the good luck of being asked, last August, to do some writing for this dance workshop; and now I’m doing a lot of writing for this show. We had our first rehearsal with Lynne, Kelsey, Julia, and me, and it was the first rehearsal I’ve ever been to where I felt a certain filter removed that I hadn’t previously been aware of. Lynne, who acted in the August workshop and is acting again in the show, told me at the end of the rehearsal “you can trust us.” I’ve always felt afraid of people reading what I write out loud. I don’t want people to read it because I’m afraid of what it will turn into when it’s spoken, like a big scary monster is going to jump off the page and start smashing things. I never thought it would be a good idea to try to figure out why I felt this way, or to try to engage this monster in conversation.

Lynne, Julia, and Kelsey are good friends, wildly talented people who took the rambling text and made it into something interesting, who put up with my fumbling through pages, and, most importantly, who facilitated this rehearsal, deriving from the text a very necessary conversation about the issues in the show. They said things like “I know it’s weird between these two people, but I don’t think I totally know why” and “they are playing a game of getting close that they are really good at”…

… and, on the topic of BDSM in queer relationships, which is in the foreground of the play and which the characters tend to skirt around discussing: “there are two things in this show that audiences might confuse as being identical. those two things are bdsm and an actually nonconsensual relationship. how do we make it absolutely clear that bdsm/kink is not abuse? how do we show the difference? how do we show a relationship in which nonconsent masquerades as bdsm, and, in the same breath, show another relationship that involves bdsm play in which there is clear communication, and clear consent? how do we give these characters well-rounded, evolving identities that draw power from making traumatic experiences part of their identities?”

I realized these conversations are how this play is going to write itself. I felt artistically unfolded. I owe my friends for this.