Here in the West of Wales, it is still pouring with rain | The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Here in the West of Wales, it is still pouring with rain

Here in the west of Wales it is still pouring with rain and there are more warnings of floods, difficult travel conditions and a general sense that maybe we should be alarmed. But we are used to this. This is the west of Wales and whilst many people were actually left devastated by floods over June 12th and 13th, Cyrff Ystwyth carried on as normal.

We performed outside at Capel Bronant, 3 times. There was never sun. Sometimes the wind stilled and the rain turned to drizzle and swallows swept overhead breaking momentary silence with their soft shrieks. Crows argued. Cars came and went. Midges swarmed and chewed on everyone – but especially the performers.

Dense and driving rain, and gusting gales soaked everyone through to the skin depsite layers of clothing. The performers worked, focussed on each small moment, with only the special ability that performers have (to see the future as they know what is coming next) to support them. Move forward, proceed, the next and the next and the next moment becoming, and then gone when finally they moved to signal the end of the work. They all expressed suprise at how quickly the hour and ten minutes had gone by. Such was the level of concentration and I imagine Flow, in the sense that Csikszentmihalyi uses the term. This being in Flow was the unity between them, and it seemed to me, watching from the periphery, that the audience found their flow, for solidairity between audience and performers was complete. Complete focus. Two halves of the same series of events that opened up a place and revealed and re-newed relationship and knowledge with and about it.

This performance of place was also a performance of how all of us are this place, like it or not. The weather, the climate, the air we breath and the muscles that push and pull; our consciousness of gravity and incline as we walk and stand and stretch arms to water soaked skies; all these things are this place and we are not merely in it – it moves through us. At any rate, I drink, breathe it, feel it on my skin and hair, wince and scratch it away, flinch and find it clinging to me. It resists me and it envelops me.

Capel:The Lights Are On’, made by my colleague Adrian Jones, performed by Cyrff Ystwyth, directed and now, researched by me, remains to be understood by us all. There is much thinking and writing to be done now. There are many photographs which reveal beautiful moments, but cannot grasp the micro-marks that characterize the language of this Dance/Theatre company. Each individual commits to this metonym of a community through body and action. I am reminded of Hannah Arendt and her teaching about ‘action’. The necessity to appear as a person, for oneself through action, elevates us from passivity:

...for without a space of appearance and without trusting in action and speech as a mode of being together, neither the reality of one’s self, of one’s own identity, nor the reality of the surrounding world can be established beyond doubt.

(Arendt, H. 1998 The Human Condition. Chicago and London: Chicago University Press. P.208)

This is what Cyrff Ystwyth seem to me to be about today. Capel Bronant is a place, reworked through each action and intention, by Jones and the company and finally I think, they appeared in this place, the performance consituting the ‘space of appearance’ for now. Capel Bronant is shut again and quiet. We go for Sunday Lunch this weekend in Tafarn y Bont, where we can look at the site and remember.