Guest Blog: Punching the Bacon Sandwich

Posted on 18 Feb 2016 in News, Performance

​Birds of Paradise performer Laurence Clark gives us a glimpse into rehearsals for Purposeless Movements

'I'm a stand-up comic by trade.  We don't usually move around a lot on stage.  Most of us spend the vast majority of a performance centre-stage holding the mic stand, like the Titanic's just gone down and we're left clinging to the last remaining iceberg afloat.  Occasionally I'll move left a bit or right a bit or come forward to pick on some unlucky audience member.  But on the whole we remain rooted to the spot like we're about to germinate.

So rehearsing Purposeless Movements, which comes to Tramway shortly, has been something of a revelation.  For one, I've discovered that there is an upstage as well as a downstage.  I knew this logically had to exist, I just wasn't clear as to its whereabouts.  Furthermore I've discovered a multitude of new and exciting ways to move from one side of the stage to the other.  Let me assure you, as a 42 year old English stand-up comedian with cerebral palsy, I never thought I'd be performing in a Scottish dance theatre production.

'What? A piece of movement theatre exclusively featuring guys with cerebral palsy? Not exactly playing to our strengths, are we?'

And yet there is so much that is unique, fascinating and, dare I say beautiful about our everyday movements.  Cerebral palsy affects different people in very different ways, as can be seen from just looking at our cast.  Usually we are told to try to minimise our 'purposeless' movements and attempt to conform as far as possible to normality, whatever the hell  that is.  But in this performance we draw focus to and celebrate our differences.

We are not trying to emulate a load of balletic, graceful dance moves because, let's face it, we couldn't even attempt to do this even if we tried!  Instead we're accentuating the clumsy, the spasmodic and the jerky.  For someone who's work normally involves just standing on stage talking to people, it is a new experience to come home from a day's rehearsal with practically every muscle and joint throbbing and aching.

Every night my 11 year old son Tom asks me what I've done at work today and, when I attempt to describe to him how I've spent the day  it always sounds like I've just been mucking around: "Well son, today I've rolled around on the floor, worn an inflatable fat suit and punched the living daylights out of a bacon sandwich!"  He now thinks my job sounds ultra cool!

Come and see our show.   It will make you laugh and, at times, move you to tears.  But most of all, I guarantee you will leave Tramway questioning your own assumptions.'

Purposeless Movements is at Tramway from 25 - 27 February.
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