On course, on time, I walk in from the cold night. I breathe fast, short and hard. I move, propelled by the nervous anticipation that keeps me feeling alive. And I enter. I enter through the open, grand, heavy doors and the smell of a freshly restored room is welcoming. I am greeted by a space that asks for attention, yearns for appreciation and hopes for acknowledgement. Wholeheartedly and obligingly, I begin to voice words of amazement. “Wow” I exclaim repeatedly, turning, spinning and gazing up at the ceiling rose. “Beautiful”. It enjoys this, I can tell. I breathe a sigh.
Far from the fearful scene I had conjured up in my mind, that of a room full of performers running round in circles, screaming, crying and being all nervous, I stumble across a group of people, oozing the comfortable impression of a family. Albeit a very busy family with a lot going on in their lives, a family of mostly men who like to have a purpose. The kind that invites folk to their house for a nice evening of entertainment,’ the doors always open’ type of family. The head of the brood dances around the room, welcoming and smiling and taking time to introduce her boys. She seems to be coping extremely well with the task in hand, shuffling, organizing and sorting last minute hiccups with an air of confidence. A confidence only found in deep fulfillment. The boys are busy in their own worlds, sifting, finding, looking, plugging, and listening. Switching, tapping, chatting, watching, zipping rolling and moving within their own bubble. Then, someone is missing. The phones are out, the coats are on, bubbles are burst, and anticipation occurs, breaths get held, words are said, Sainsbury’s is mentioned, and then laughter is churned as the missing one walks through the hall. I am an invited voyeur.
Time passes and the beginning is imminent. Energy rises, exchanges are made, friendly, wordy and full of potential. I almost forget that I don’t understand Doric. Attention is drawn to a man on the stage and the movement starts. A shuffling of feet that have come in from the cold, crowd together, eagerly waiting. Charley willingly delivers his part with a dose of wit. He will be our narrator - a narrator-the narrator. We edge along with strong direction this time, stamping of feet, pertinent gesture “come in an’ cosy roon the fire side”. Some are laughing and some are thinking but most are imagining the plate of offerings, to gorge, nibble at or inhale. Engagement is constant, almost physical, a presence that carries us to new spaces. We move once more our characters tingling with excitement. What rhythmical delights abide in this place? Polite respects for sacred words are soon forgotten in the laughter. Eye contact and smiles weave the story together, spinning raw material spoke a hundred times but never like this before. Music begins to ignite the night lifting us again through the contours. The room distorts slightly as the visual projections create a tense environment for the ensemble gathered. What does it mean? How does it relate? It’s harsh in contrast, to the vacated voice. The mind utters but the sound rolls out, all beauty, all dreamlike, all rugged. Charley is laughing whilst taking pictures-“It’s funny” I implore to the rest of the feet – but they’re not listening, just engaged and tapping and shifting.
I’m watching a man with a bobble hat decipher the contents of a brown brief case. He’s ready, he’s waiting. He’s moving. He’s sitting. He’s lifting. He’s checking. He’s looking. He’s standing. He’s shutting. He’s locking. He’s standing. He’s gone.
The wooden floor is a constant. It has been all evening. Worn in some parts, it is patterned with diamond shapes, and smaller darker diamonds sit in-between. We regroup in the light; somehow it’s dimmer than before. We prepare once more to be immersed in the rhythm of the sounds. Sounds that will be made a hundred times again, but never in this story, never exactly as now. The gentle beat of the Doric helps me to relax. Movement and shuffling and shifting of weight, leaning and holding and directed throughout, we are happy to know our place: where we belong within the space. As the story unfolds, a contented weariness warms the room. I exchange glances with the others, smiles and common denomination sits comfortably in the experience we share. I sit on the floor and await the music. I think what a lovely night it’s been. A celebration of a passion, a belonging, a nice wee tale.
Then, dulcet change. I’m listening, is this my bedtime story? But I’m not listening to the story, just the sounds, the echoes, the rhythms? Sound trails are made and remade and repetitiveness will conquer through this soporific atmosphere. I’m glued to the floor. I am alert.
Transported to an experimental cavern by the man in the bobble hat, all characters are now helpless in his grasp. He plays with words. He plays with words. He plays with us. His voice is the presence. The present is here. I am immersed in the present. Is it shared? As if to answer a collective energy sweeps the room, not a breath to be heard, a pin to be dropped. The endurance of this instrument is relentless but still I yearn for more. Oh to stay for longer! And then one about the missing, the missing it seems is only to be found in the dark, deep, depths of a squeeze box. A place I now feel I can relate to. An angel ghost then beckons us back, ending the story softly, with whispers of an ethereal voice. We gaze, we watch, we appreciate; how satisfying it’s been to be here.
The linear has faulted, impressions been made, the constant is no longer but the Doric has stayed.