I can get carried away when describing what I see happening on the stage inside my head. I’m used to the concerned and slightly confused faces I sometimes get and I’m excited by the intrigued and engaged faces I get. What I’m getting when I describe Ink Black Water are the extremes: utter smile-and-back-away or pure wonder. The next question is always the same: How? And my answer is to whip out a notebook or grab a napkin and draw diagrams that no one understands. Except me, of course – I have faith in myself.
Ink Black Water is the collaboration between Sanjin Muftic and me for the iQonga platform at Out the Box (for more on my involvement click HERE). I’ll be building on the techniques we first explored with Under the Stars, Above the Tree in 2008 and then developed with Crowsong earlier this year. Just your typical light table, multiple projector and lamp with shadows and ink set up; also some interesting new experiments with different fluids and a couple of unlikely mechanisms. But all that is slightly lower on the priority list than the fish puppets – and the crows, can’t forget the crows. These are carved out of foam, meaning that my flat requires constant sweeping – the tiny scraps of foam are more tenacious explorers and spreaders than the 17th century Spaniards.
The piece is a dream; of floods, of deserts, of birds, beasts and fish; of crumbling cities and shaking ground. It’s about loss and longing – maybe not for the thing itself, but for the traces of it, the memories you should have. Sanjin and I decided to approach it visually (similarly to how Jason and I worked out Crowsong) and so I’ve been creating storyboards to capture the action – omitting the manipulators at this point, and also the multimedia – mostly because I’m a bit overwhelmed to create that detailed a storyboard (it’s a bugger to draw text layered over cracks and silhouettes of towering heaps of books behind a school of fish playing with a submerged performer).
Most exciting for me though is the chance to work with an old collaborator, the incredible Brydon Bolton. He did the music for my master’s final production (together with Niklas Zimmer) and for Under the Stars. It’s been way too long since then. His compositions are awesome, dark and layered, perfect for the surreal dreamscape.
I’m really excited and damn nervous that my work will be seen up on the Little Theatre’s stage. It seems like a step down from the Artscape Opera House where we did projections for the Flying Dutchman in January, but this piece is much, much more personal.
Ink Black Water is on at the Out the Box festival as part of the iQonga line up on the 10th September 2011. Bookings are open on Computicket.