The performance A Hunch is a ‘’hunch back story for a tiny mouse’’. The shifting approaches of presenting autobiographical thoughts are connected only by the words ‘hunch’ ‘story’ ‘back’ and ‘mouse’ with a consistent drive throughout the piece for struggle and success. The text and actions presented, though autobiography, are derived from a series of improvisation sessions, so holds an element of misapprehension in the mind of the performer. The work was choreographed consideration Anthony Howells three primary colours of Performance: Stillness, Repetition and Inconsistency and moves between the abstract and the literal invoking narratives as oppose to narrative.
A Hunch was performed for the fourth time at Leeds Nexus festival (2014) after presenting it at two Leeds East Street Arts venues and at the University of Manchester, where I studied my MA. This performance was constructed from a series of improvisation workshops when researching the documenting of improvised action for my MA dissertation. I really enjoyed performing this work at both venues, it was a well received show.
Extract from the performance A Hunch:
“Continues with routine. Breaks to stand still in an image which shows the right hand referring to the left hand which masquerades as a book. Ahh…yes, that’s the line… isn’t that what you said? Drops image – stillness and searching.
Said directly to the audience with content. Not finding the mouse gave him a reason to read this book over and over, and over, and over, and over again,[illustrates with hand] illustrate this with hand. He describes it as a hunch back story for a tiny mouse. The villagers knew where the mouse was and he knew where the mouse was. The villagers didn’t tell him because then he would have to stop reading, and he didn’t want to stop reading. Pause – stillness. Do you remember?
He talks like a mouse [illustrate talking hand], he sniffs like a mouse, and he snores like a mouse. [Change role] Harold are you listening dear? Harold, are you listening? Now Harold, A, A, B…yes, that’s you Harold, what do you think Harold, mm, A, B? Switch roles which requires running into the room and squatting as though sat. Now you don’t do that do you Harold? C? Try C. Do you see Harold? Oh yes, you were a wonderful baby. A, B, try C, never? Well, I’d say so. Are you listening Harold? Oh, indeed I do. Do try Harold, never? Try dear…Never…Try…Never…you were a wonderful…Never…Try…Never… Try…Never…Try…Never…Try…Never (speech affects body and vice versa). Performer has now reached image which sees her hunched and on all fours
Did you know that crawling on the floor does wonders for the memory;[crawls across the floor] it actually increases the intelligence [previous struggle revisited on the following word] …really? Performer stand. I’ll leave you to go alone. No…Really…He felt isolated
Performer is in an image which sees her leaning to the side and knocking on an imagined door.
[With trepidation] Hello. Pause, turns and reassures an imagined friend. Hello, yes, I’m asking – I’m asking. Pause.
I switch roles which requires running into the room and squatting as though sat.
We’d like to come in please. We would like to…stand against the wall.
We’d like to stand against the wall. We know you have chairs there; anyway, waiting for more valuable people than ourselves…but if you could just let us in anyway? If you could say when that is? Any way!
I can’t say.
You can’t say what? You can’t say when you can let us in or you can’t say when you might make a decision when you can let us in?”
Watch a clip here: