Stories of two people found in two separate tombs many years apart:
One was a Tunisian princess who had suffered a catatonic fit and was wrongly declared dead by an inept doctor. She was "buried" above ground, in a royal tomb made of stone. A few days after her burial ceremony, grieving members of her family noticed that the tombstone resting on top of the princess' grave was not sitting straight. Upon closer examination, they realised that the stone lid seemed to have shifted underneath. Perturbed by the possibility that someone may have attempted to rob the grave, the family called in servants to check that all was well inside the tomb. On sliding away the lid, the servants were appalled to discover the body of the young princess
The other is the story of a museum guard at the Bardo who, upon hearing the attackers make their way through the galleries, hid inside a stone sarcophagus for two days before being discovered by the police. He was so traumatised he refused to leave, despite being weak and dehydrated. In the end he had to be coaxed out by his best friend.
"Traces" and "liminal spaces" recur. Academic catnip. BEWARE!
We work with two actions: "attack" and "protect", creating an essentialised set of movements. These begin as hand gestures, and then grow into full body expression.
There are similarities between the two choreographies, though we note that "attack" seems to be more demonstrative and "protect" more reactive. We discuss this and come to the conclusion that you shouldn't come to an early conclusion. We need to dig deeper, as both sets of movement seem to contain contradictions.
The Tunisian state's reaction to the Bardo museum killings was described as being as bizarre and alienating as the attack itself.
Kitsch, "ethnic", elitist, divisive, confused.
Unlike the terrorist attack, no clear vision or consideration went into the proceedings.
Kings and princes are buried above ground, with their heads turned to face Mecca.
We deconstruct moments of intense personal fear into three stages (moments before, during/apex, after) and transpose these into still tableaux onstage. The silence of these still images communicates a strong violence as we fill in the blanks.
Can we find a way of incorporating visceral thrill into our work? Such as when we see a tightrope walker or acrobat performing a death-defying feat at the circus. How do we put ourselves in danger, whilst simultaneously reassuring the public of our virtuosity?
How can we juxtapose and splice our findings (personal, political, movement, text) to reveal the deeper irrational workings of fear?
Can pure fear be performed in any kind of positive or generous sense? What is the mask, body and rhythm of fear?
A discussion about theatre and stage-fright: Is it possible to perform well without stepping out of one's comfort zone? How can you improvise in total security? How do we deal with the extra burst of energy that comes before we go onstage?
The Medina twists, slopes and stacks: labyrinthine! Wajdi's ghost stories head off on tangents, interruptions and embellishments. Both the places and the stories attached to them seem convoluted, dubious and contradictory. Wajdi relishes these twists and turns: they are human! The personal and cultural specificity of each tale is essential to understanding the power of scary stories. Who is telling them? Who is the recipient? What intended purpose do they serve? They deal with the realms subjectivity and the emotive rather than the rational.
We expect them to shift over time. In order to be remembered it is essential that they do!
The supernatural does not have to be maleficent in order for us to be afraid of it. Benevolent or neutral forces can be equally terrifying, provided they have an unknowable or unnatural dimension.
The unknown and uncanny is always more unsettling than the directly threatening.
Violence with clear motives is much more reassuring than acts which follow a mysterious or seemingly random logic.