‘read the smoke’

kumari giles, in ‘things i cannot speak’,  with ‘young palms lined with old stories’ shared some stories as part of the Young Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times on the weekend. Memories of Sri Lanka, coming-out, the power of the haircut, of grandmothers, infused the piece.  Of war ‘you cannot erase a people without erasing yourself.’ kumari shifted from characters easily, perhaps too easily, as at times one wasn’t sure whose pov was being presented – which, in a way, underlines the difficulty of maintaining  any identity in our culture.

whiteshelf

a moment of shelflessness

Simply staged, with good use of red fabric – it was blood lines and restraints at times – sound effects and lighting. A simple, evocative performance in which I identified with the way we become ‘impressed’ with actions of the past – how we take on mannerism of parents without realizing it – I have my father’s aches.

drawers02

put your drawers down

Next up was Andre Prefontaine, in ‘(mE)dith Piaf’, ‘read the smoke’ of his past for us as he shared his recovery and his love of Piaf. Like kumari’s performance he shifted from character to character but his piece was about self-destruction and self-discovery. Funny, clever, emotionally vulnerable and satisfying. He touched on the recovery process without being industrial; queer life & the sex trade without being defensive or exploitive. An honest, direct & accomplished piece.

drawers

Ikea magic

The staging was as simple as the first piece but with a greater sense of theatricality – the evocation of Piaf via lighting was excellent. Sound effects propelled the story perfectly as Andre created characters with lighting, accents and appropriate finger-snaps. Looking back the piece also mirrored Cabaret: the musical about sex, drugs and self-discovery right down the Joel Grey like personification of cocaine. Je ne regrette pas le voir.

samples

a piece of mine about sex, drugs & rock’n’roll

Unmasked

background:

Hendrix: burning the midnight lamp

soon … I wish I was a merman

foreground:

messy coffee table

open bottles wine beer Scotch

weed rolled in papers too thin to write on

yet strong enough to hold a shared dream

midground:

three of us

Del me Kathy

share this joint enterprise

laugh at a phrase I was going through

hands touch to pass

the precious opener of minds

or rather the opener of pants

as Del loudly called it

his eyes on Kathy

she gave him a look

that said ‘see you later’

then left with her cigarettes

and the remains of the wine

‘uptight bitch’ Del laughed

as the door shut

he stayed

the supply on hand

held more appeal than

the supply leaving the room

that Jimi guitar

hooked its way around our brain

led our vision across patterns

my voodoo child eyes would wander

all along the corduroy

that hugged and held Del

he invitingly pushed the coffee table away

to make room on the floor

we had become so smoke soft

only the backless floor could

hold our floating

rolling

bodies

till we found ourselves

naked

I could feel the crosstown traffic of my heart

the sensation of his tongue on mine

the coarse grind of pubic hair on stomach

a move for a breath of air

to refresh the disguise of liquor

thighs hands lips

trimming a midnight lamp

that still burns today

but no longer needs

a smoke-screen

the bottled mask of permission

shelf02

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