I'm grateful that the process of this work seems to be liberating me to think. It's like a machine for allowing. (allowing thought and events to appear).
I felt dreadful at the end of the day on Sunday. I felt exhausted and depressed. I'd been observing, in the role of a 'visitor' - but also, of course, trying to observe to learn as a performer. I was distressed or disappointed that I had missed noticing lots of things and got distracted, and let my attention wander, and daydreamed. I felt shocked not to be always excited or engaged by what I saw. I felt I hadn't noticed anything - although when I made myself write down what I had noticed, there was quite a lot.
This contrasted greatly with how I usually felt when 'doing' the work: in doing it, even if I noticed that I wasn't noticing very sensitively sometimes, I let that be a challenge or something to take into account. I think the discussions about agency and thought and conversation have been invaluable in this. They help to make the experience one in which the focus is on agency and a sort of transparency in relation to the group. And opinion is distinguished from thought. It's, for me, a new way of getting a bit of distance from the concept of 'self'. And the inability to make mistakes in this piece has nothing to do with being self-accepting, it is more to do with accepting the task.
So...what took a day to recognise, was that I had been experiencing what it was like to look and feel as a visitor. Judgement, self-judgement, envy of those able to see what I couldn't see, frustration, a weight of responsibility for the performer talking to me - was I distracting her from what she needed to do? Was I, alone, being talked to, and therefore the centre of attention (I didn't actually feel that but can see an audience member might). What action was I missing while engaged in a deep conversation etc etc
One conclusion: looking for transformation might be a good way of not seeing it
One question: should we discuss what visitors might go through? Not to solve their dilemmas, but it may be useful if we are to me empathic in approaching them, sitting with them, talking to them.
- Peter Fraser, performer