Day 4 Jo Bannon Residency – Penetration in expression – Oct 2017

Eva Sifis

How are you penetrated?

We were asked to translate this into our expression – bodily movement, dance rendering, sound exposition, verbal description, etc, etc.
A veritable ‘hit and run making’ of theatre.

We grouped off to work our accumulated collections of experiences and emotions around the concept of ‘penetration’. This is a many layered proposition based on a word with multiple interpretations and a host of meanings.
Each of us felt its import in a different way.
The offerings were bound to be loaded and unique.

After a break we returned to the space to perform and, phew, our queries into the folds of this origami-like notion were discomfiting to say the least.

The contrasts impacted us in a bodily way. So much so we had to run about the room shaking ourselves free from the cloak of suffocating energy.
We cleared the space to allow room for reflection.

The first group listed how their personhoods have been penetrated in the past and how the concept affects them presently too. How inherently they feel in disempowered positions and that boundaries are not respected or honoured. Their memories of penetration reveal powerlessness in situations of the everyday. This leaves a hollowness of feeling, of doing things as if by rote, of repeatedly not being heard.
Via the simple action of shifting the positioning of the audience there was a shift from passive viewing to those of voyeur. In this, the 4th wall was gently broken more in query rather than as direction.

The next group ventured to penetrate the audience as a group ripe for manipulation. By barking imprecise instructions at the collective, they invoked a quiet chaos. After the group had collected into the centre of the room, there was an attempt to penetrate via rolling in a bowling ball manner, with mixed levels of success.

The last group described how their take on the word was a negative one. One was consumed by memory of their bullying at high-school and of being back in hospital with a needle vicious in the flesh of the arm. They spoke of being able to smell fear and how it comes up behind and through their person. How, lost in their own world, they get confused and flip.
Another described their awareness of the interplay between the words Sympathy and Empathy and that the possibility lies therein to always find a way to relate. However they also know they will never really know what it is LIKE.
The other always felt as though they were performing yet questioned how they were capable of doing so. They felt their authority and autonomy had been taken from them via not having the freedom to move or travel the way they want to. It was a very deliberate choice to move into performance.

Our society, by its very nature, takes away the ability to be autonomous.

More tomorrow x