Monday, November 19, 2012

The Venue

When you create a show, there is automatically a need to imagine what kind of venue you'll be performing in. This helps shape the piece. When you perform at a festival, all bets are off on what kind of space you'll be stuck in. So I must admit, I end up having some venue anxiety along with tech anxiety. Hours are spent in the middle of the night with my mind whirring through all the possibilities of what could go wrong. Performing is risky business and part of the process is all about dealing with the practical stuff so you can be relaxed and confident enough to give a good show.

 I was very happy we were going to have our tech talk 2 days before the show. I was able to find the venue, through a black door, nestled discretely between the "toy" shows of the gay village between Beaudry and UQAM metros. I headed up a narrow, well-worn stair case to find an intriguing space with a bar and a small kitchen.

The building was used in the clothing industry. This is one of the signs from that business. It may have included a sweatshop behind a heavy fire door, which is where we performed. It was a Chinese restaurant and there may have been a bordello upstairs where there is a series of small rooms off a hallway. This is why La Baraque bills itself a "performance art bordello". When I heard that term, I was very relieved.

The manager of the venue was very warm, respectful and accomodating. Our technician was serious, fun, and entirely competent. The audience was receptive. I made a few mistakes, dropped a few lines, we had some technical difficulties, but other things went really well.

I was inspired by the other performers. All created fascinating works in a program that was an eclectic bumpy ride. The program left me thinking about demystifying the female and transgendered body as a mean of empowerment.

We performers were asked to sign a messy contract, with full exposure on what kinds of solids and fluids we would be using. We agreed to a LEAVE NO TRACE policy. This made me think about what we leave behind in the spaces we visit. I felt compelled to deliberately leave 4 sequins in the plate of a planter. I inadvertently left gold glitter on the bathroom floor that fell from the bling I put on my skin. In the green room I left hair, skin cells, eyelashes--all mingled with the genetic material left by the other performers. This in turn mixed with the tiny traces left by the people who rent the rooms and the ghosts of memory left by the workers who inhabited this space in the past. LEAVE NO TRACE is impossible and perhaps on some level, wholly desirable and human.

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