Later this week I’ll be appearing at SpringBoard – an event run by MainSpring Arts near Brixton in London – an evening of neurodivergent performances.
I’m preparing the kit and my costume in readiness. I’m collecting resonant, exciting or important words from attendees via social media in advance, which I’ve typed out on the typewriter and put into a jar ready for Thursday later.
I’ve not performed in the context of my neurological differences before, I’m realising late in life that I’m dispraxic, possibly autistic and I also sustained a head injury at age 12 from a bike accident (wrote a little piece ‘my taste of tarmac’ afterwards, of uncertain quality). I’ve been to see one woman play The Duck written by Rhi Lloyd-Williams, performed by Lucy Theobald and directed by Jo Loan when it was in Stroud last year and was blown away by it’s insight into the autistic female perspective. It was like the veiled mysteries of life fell away while I heard and saw a parallel version of my experience being played out in front of me. My world stopped for the duration of the play, clarity reigned and understanding. Someone gets it and can write about it with such clarity as it’s like when I got my first glasses for near sightedness when I was 14 and walking out of the opticians seeing wonderful sharp edges to everything once more.
In my upcoming appearance:
The experience of joining a library is morphed into a ritual to include filling in a registration form for The Lost Library on which you can pose a question. Anything you’d like to know the answer to she’ll mind/body ponder a while before giving you your loan.
I’ll be mute. I’m currently attempting to make a new costume for it – the paper I use for the registration forms, library card and typed words is cream coloured and I have some cream cotton fabric I’m attempting to fashion into a simple shift dress, to be worn with a belt with the lost library kit hanging from it. I enjoy the idea of it being a fully portable performance, kit attached. Instructions for joining will be projected on a screen, or failing that, with marker on paper.
I’m considering ways of documenting these performances and to inform this the question that drives my work needs clarifying.
This is where I’m at with that:
’What is listening?’