Vulnerability- The Process 4

Mar 01 2017

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Ed Rapley

Hooray! Another play day with collaborators, Ed Rapley and Liz Clarke, back in the Brunswick Club again (which incidentally is one of the most exciting new play spaces in Bristol; an old working men’s club now full to the brim with prolific creatives making wonderful and exciting things. They're having their grand opening this Friday, check them out here). 

Before we go any further, it must be noted that today Liz wore her Zebra suit in solidarity.

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Ed Rapley

But unfortunately, Ed did not get the zebra suit memo.

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Liz Clarke

This morning, after outfit check, check-in and reflections and revelations about Monday’s work, we selected an hour’s worth of material that hadn’t been played with yet, mostly directly related to our the central theme of vulnerability. 

To begin with, I shared some theory on vulnerability and shame and showed some of the protection shields I’ve used over the years to avoid having my vulnerability witnessed (perfectionism, the character of Fuckknuckle (as seen in Stage Fright) and the isolated, elevated expert). 

Next I showed my Canadian encounter with clown-shaman, Sue Morrison; playing both parts to demonstrate the ferocity with which she removed my “safety wall” three years ago. I am very grateful that she did.

After that I talked about 6th form college and meeting my best friend, Sita and how I resisted her advances towards friendship for a whole year, coming up with increasingly ridiculous excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly have lunch with her (like needing to catch 2 buses home to change my clothes and 2 buses back). I talked about what her friendship means to me, how we’ve nurtured and cared for each other and helped each other grow for 22 years. Then I did a little dance called “I love Sita.”

Next I showed my story of internet dating and how I met my boyfriend... this bit might make it into the show, so I won't give it away yet.

To finish the show, I offered one minute of yodalling, but Ed and liz said they’d prefer 1 minute simply sitting and doing nothing. They'd both noticed my resistance to doing nothing / being seen and felt that's where my true vulnerability lies. So that’s what I did.

After all this vulnerability, we all needed a hearty meal to ground us, so we went to Cafe Kino for spicy bean burgers and chips. Look at how tasty that was!

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Holly Stoppit

In the afternoon, we were all very full of food, so we took the opportunity to explore doing nothing. I took 10 minutes to tell the story of a total freeze moment, travelling to Italy on my own for the first time at the age of 23. Ed and Liz asked me to pause whenever they felt I was rushing / splitting away from myself. In these pauses, I did a mini meditation to connect with my feelings and physical sensations before carrying on with the story. This technique offered a much more connected quality of storytelling.

For the final show of the day, I took 20 minutes to replay the first show of the day, but without any words and to music. Ed and Liz were keen to get me into my body and my felt experience, giving me permission to say less and feel more. They kept the “pause” rule from the last exercise, meaning they could stop and centre me whenever my attention was drifting.

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Liz Clarke

To end the day we made a list of selection criteria and sorted through all the material from the 2 play days, selecting some that may make it into Sunday’s show. 

I will take the material and do a bit of writing over the next few days, making sure there is some coherent framing to the show, but I hope to leave space for the unknown on the night, in keeping with our catchphrase from the week, “The gold is in the gaps inbetween.” 

Come and see the show on Sunday 5th March at 7.30 at The Wardrobe Theatre. Pay what you decide at the end. Venue info here.

Facebook event here.

More about Holly Stoppit's Work In Progress here.

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