19 November, 2003

MotionFest, Wounded

I owe Steven the story of The Dog and The Very Bad Day, which was Saturday, the 8th of November. Amazing that it is so far away already. I will write it soon (promise, Steve! Promise.) I also owe everyone a description of the wonderfully fabulous, fabulously beautiful, beautifully loving Humpty Dumpty Piano Bar Benefit. It's coming.

MotionFest takes priority right this moment. I started driving one day before Michael needed me to start picking people up from the airport. My first was Julie Goell, on Wednesday, who did not know who to expect. My second was also on Wednesday- the overtly adorable P McG, who had been waiting, though I did not know it. I was answering e-mail and got a call from Michael. "How soon can you be at the airport? P McG needs a ride. He's from Cirque du..." I interrupted. "StRagz's partner? I'll be there in twenty minutes. Maybe fifteen." I took Pat's cell number from Michael and packed the kids back in the car. They were happy to get out of napping.

Avner and his son Zev I pick up Thursday night, while Fluffy is at rehearsal. After dropping them off at the Best Western, I return to my own neighborhood to pick up Fluffy from the Pea's home. The Prince meets me there, dropping off Mr Pea, who needed extra rehearsal for Hans Brinker, having joined the cast late. The Prince very kindly follows me home, at my request, as Fuzzy has fallen asleep in the car, and I cannot, in my current condition, carry her from the car to the house, much less up the stairs. He does, even removing her coat and shoes, covering her (I imagine) tenderly with blankets. He is so wonderful to me, and I despair of ever adequately communicating to him how much he means to me.

Friday morning! I drive the children to SisterBoss's home, for my dear mother in law has agreed to keep them all day and most of Saturday, so that I can do MotionFest. They barely remember to kiss me goodbye.

When I arrive, I enter a womb of love, caring and understanding. Tomi Casciero is there, and we share a few special moments, as we always do. He's a special person, and we share a special lovebond. He seems as glad to see me as I am to see him. Later, he has very insightful words for me on the topic of accepting love.

I chat with Todd Strong. "She was mauled by a tiger," he says of my injuries. Soon, it is more than one tiger, and by Sunday evening, it is rival gangs of tigers who have damaged me.

I do not attend workshops. I order lunch for everyone, talk on the phone to Steven, return home for a nap and to let the dog out. Back to the site for dinner at Harborplace with Steph and P...I refuse to fall in love with this boy, but ah, he's good to look at. Steph and I, who have known each other for years without being particularly close, have much more in common than we used to. He's good company and looks after me without judgement. The show at Harborplace is well attended by MotionFest folk, and a few actual Harborplace patrons. Back to the venue, for a session on something I am not interested in. I am distracted by a rhythmic bumping. P is practicing in another room. I investigate. I watch him unobserved, for a few moments. The noise is generated by the bouncing of juggling orbs like lacrosse balls against the circular platform that was so troublesome to fit into my trunk when I picked him up. When P sees me, he invites me in. I am amazed and flattered. I see the same thirty or fourty five seconds of material over and over. He is meticulous.

Critique Sessions. They go well enough, and two particular friends of mine have offerings that are clearly in need of refinement. With any luck, the comments of the assembled will be constructive.

Saturday comes. I wish to take Avner's course, as I have heard the word "breathing" from several people who've already been, and think that something as primal as breathing couldn't hurt to explore, and might be just at my level, crippled as I still am. Todd calls out, "This woman was mauled by tigers. Won't someone carry her to Avner's class?" Keith volunteers. He is so sweet- he isn't even attending Avner's workshop. He blushes when I kiss him for a thank you.

Avner shows us many things, including personal comfort zones and how to retain tension by suspending breath. I partner with the delicious P for a handshake exercize, which, at his suggestion, we do left-handed, in deference to my cast. I invade his space and make him nervous. He enters mine with less assurance, and gets closer to me than he is comfortable with, but I evidently have accepted him into my posse, as he is mere inches from me and I still feel quite safe. He winks at me, flashing that fabulous smile, and I think he is pulling out a standard stunt, a fallback response, because he is disconcerted. What would he have to fear from me?

Avner analyzes our stances, and manages to collapse several large, seemingly well balanced, individuals, then encourages us to do the same. I partner with Sarahjah, daugher to Scott, former, future, current? MWA President. She worked the RenFest this year. I had a hand in that, letting Scott (and her) know about audition times and dates. She is charming.

Avner's enthusiasm is infectious and delightful. He keeps saying, "And next I'm going to show you something REALLY amazing!" I already see something really amazing, Avner. It's you.

Lunchtime: I end up with less time than I thought, and wind up at the hotel restaurant. I shouldn't have ordered the tuna sandwich, and wouldn't have, if I'd suspected the size of the salad. David Tyson joins me and we chat, until he notices the time, and wants to hurry upstairs for Tomi's tribute to Tony Montenaro. It's beautiful. Moni Yakim is there and is asked to say a few words about Tony, which he does. I decide, looking at him, that I wish to take his afternoon workshop. Stephanie Monseau, the gorgeous woman from Bindlestiff, chats with me afterwards about how MotionFest and all those involved in it seems such a love-based undertaking. She says it's not like that everywhere, with every instructor. I try to imagine, and it's unpleasant. We haven't shared much in the four years we've been nodding acquaintances, and I treasure these moments of shared insight and understanding.

Downstairs for Moni's workshop. I ride the elevator, as I have been doing each time I need to switch floors, stumping around with one crutch that I borrowed from CJ. Moni's workshop is amazing. We move in slow motion. We freeze. We spring into motion briefly, and freeze again. We make explosive movements, accompanied by vocalization. We work together in pairs and groups on an excercize called Imperceptible Engine, which is akin to an excercize I've done before, but this version goes way, way beyond, exponentially beyond, anything I've done before. It is amazing and I use muscles I have not used since October the 10th, when I fell off that twelve foot wall while performing. A short aside: everyone at MotionFest nods their understanding that I was injured while performing. It seems right, fitting, in this setting. How pitiful it would have been to have received these wounds crossing in front of a bus, or in a non-gig related car accident? No one, however, shares their performance injury stories with me. At the end of the workshop, I am soaked through with sweat, and by the way my muscles sing and zing, should be exhausted. I am not. I am exhilerated. I race home to prepare dinner for my family, who will be coming to the Public Show.

The Public Show! Avner is, in fact, amazing. Bob Berkey is hysterically funny. P McG is technically near perfect, and when he drops, covers with that adorable wink/smile combination that makes me wish he'd drop more often. Julie Goell is strangely cute or cutely strange, I can't decide. I participated in the Public Show by taking tickets and, earlier, by finding and helping to choose a clip of Tony Montenaro's performance in a previous show, which is introduced by Tomi Casciero, who plays Emcee tonight. Drew Richardson is a fabulously sweet example of the bungling clown genre, terrific both live and on film. He deserves international reknown, and I hope he gets it. The hair alone deserves recognition.

My children are cool for sticking around after hours, for the Critique Sessions, and I lean against my longtime friend, fellow stilter and fireater Chuck Flayhart, who (I mention to him) should be called "Chuck Sweetheart," which makes this happily married father of two blush. He has just had surgery and is sore from laughing at the public show. He sits beside me and I lean on his shoulder. I am worn out, but I wish to see Steven Lampredi's annual incarnation of Brain Surgery, Chris Davis's condensed dramatic rendition of Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum, and Stephon Walker has brought his dove, Clementine, to show us. She is a new addition to the Geek Show, as brought to us by Swami Yomahmi. Steph is very funny, and damn near perfect on his angles and his timing. Alaina and Garrett prowl the room as tigers, ready to maul. I think that's what they are, anyway. It's near midnight when we leave, and past that when we arrive home. I manage to wake Lainey, because the two casts prohibit carrying her.

Sunday comes, and with it, my eagerness and excitement for Moni Yakim's Intensive Workshop. Moni sees me in the morning, leads morning warmups, pats me and tells me how brave I am, how amazing it was to see me yesterday, "balancing on one leg, in all these intricate positions." He shakes his head and pats my cheek. It feels like a bennediction. I fall irrevocably in love with this man.

Moni's Intensive Workshop is very like the Non-Intensive, only moreso, and longer. I get to partner again with Patrick, this time for the Imperceptible Engine excercize, which I love, for some reason. Within the context of this exercize, he is not nervous. Perhaps he is used to me now. Afterwards, we go to lunch, finding Rock Star parking in the Whole Foods parking lot.

The event is winding down. Wrap Up and Horror Stories follow an afternoon workshop. I leave in the middle to make an airport run, taking three people from MotionFest to resume their lives. When I return, I tell the story of my fall, and let Michael wrap it up, as he used my accident as fodder for a sketch in the RenFest performer talent show. I get to hear his version, but he refuses to act it out for me. There are only fifteen seconds of tape, reputedly, which I still have yet to see.

As I am ready to leave, I am approached by Patty, who hugs me and shares a story of her spine injury. She has been a wonderful, gentle presence this whole weekend, and I am lucky to have met her. In fact, I am lucky to have met everyone here at MotionFest, even the ones I knew before. It had been an empowering experience, though I was less involved than in previous years. I felt enabled. No one said "don't do that." No one said "sit down." No one said "you should rest." Everyone instead said, "Can I help with that?" or "let me carry that for you," or "would you like me to bring you a chair?" I was encouraged to do what I could, by people who understand what it is to want to use the body to move, to be active, to express.

So I say to all of you who participated in MotionFest, as Patty said to me Sunday evening, "Namaste."

I honor the spirit of God within you.


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