February 9, 2012

Letter to some members of Maher Shalal Hash Baz (who I have yet to meet) in preparation for our performance together


Hello Maher Shalal members,

First, I would just like to thank you all so much for agreeing to participate in our performance together. It means a lot to me. I am very excited to see what will happen.

Now I will try to describe, as clearly as possible, what I think might happen on the evening of February 16th in Yokohama. I have never tried anything quite like this before, so it will be a new experience for all of us. However, if we do it right I’m sure we will all have fun and learn a lot. My shows are always experiences that stay with people for a long time and help them think about the world in new ways.

I have divided the performance into six parts in order to be clear. I feel it is important that we keep the basic proposal as simple as possible. However, in reality the parts might not be so clear. The “parts” are mainly for us, so we have a way of speaking about the show with each other during rehearsal.

Part One: Introduction 
Jacob explain his basic idea to the audience: how he began working with Tori Kudo by doing pottery and noticed that Tori lives a kind of double life: music and pottery. The idea of a double life was extremely interesting to Jacob and he will speak about why he finds it interesting. He will also speak about some of the ways he himself lives a double life. Jacob will then show the pottery he has made to the audience and explain that he will give the pottery away for free at the end of the performance.

Part Two: Pottery Begins 
Tori sits at the pottery wheel and begins throwing. We ask for a volunteer from the audience to write down the words Tori hears from the wheel, and also maybe words he hears from other things happening in the performance. The words will be written on large sheets of paper on the wall and later, in part five, they will be sung. Tori continues doing pottery for the entirety of part three and four. He can also interrupt, say things, do whatever he wants.

Part Three: First Question 
The members of Maher Shalal will come on stage. Jacob will ask the first question: TELL US ONE THING ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO PLAY MUSIC IN MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ? One at a time, each member will take a few minutes to answer the question. They will be translated into English as they speak, so they will have to say one or two lines, wait for them to be translated into English, then continue speaking, wait for the next lines to be translated into English, etc. They can say whatever they want. They should try to think beforehand what one thing about playing music, or about the dynamic within Maher Shalal, they would most like to share with the audience. When each member is finished speaking they pass the microphone to the next member and it continues until everyone has answered.

Part Four: Second Question 
Jacob will ask the second question: TELL US ONE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB? The members can speak about any job they want, and also answer in any way they want. They should think beforehand what they would most like to say. If they can think of a good prop to bring, a physical object that relates to their job that they can show the audience and that will help them explain, that would also be great. For example: one member will bring badminton equipment and play badminton, Tori is already demonstrating his pottery, etc. When each member is finished answering the second question they will go to their instrument and start quietly practicing. They can also look at the words on the wall and start to form musical loops around them.

Part Five: Music 
When everyone is finished answering the second question they will all already be at their instruments. Tori and Jacob will join the band and everyone will play music.

Part Six: Conclusion 
Jacob will give away his pottery to the audience. If more than one member of the audience wants one of his creations, they will have to explain why they want it and the best answer wins. (It is like an auction but with “reasons” instead of money.) While Jacob is doing this, Tori will collect all the pottery he has made during the course of the evening and roll the clay back into a big ball. He will create pottery during the show, but in the end it all comes full circle, it turns back into clay.

The main theme for the show is the idea of a double life. Tori will play music and do pottery. Each band member will be asked to speak about music and another job they have, two different parts of their life. Of course, we each have more than two lives but for this performance we will focus on just two. We do not need to give any answers to the audience. All we need to do is raise a few questions. If we think about our lives, the audience will see us and also think about their lives.

I do not know exactly how it will all go. It is a performance experiment, hopefully an extremely interesting one, and we can all learn a lot from it together. I look forward to meeting you all on February 16th.

Thank you again.



1 comment:

bibi move said...

beautiful crafting of an encounter.