Friday, June 21, 2019

'One Step Forward, Two Steps Back' - 6.6.2019

I had been considering the potential elements for a new performance within the pages of one of my notebooks and it was earlier this month during a trip to see my parents in the UK that the opportunity came to bring this piece to completion.

The world today seems to be fraught with so many problems that appear to have no current answer. Since the Second World War there had been a vague but nevertheless inexorable move in support of what we could for convenience sake call 'progress'. This development has been hardly ideal but for sure things were improving and we could have been confident that at some time in the future the world would be a fairer and safer place.

However, in more recent years, many of the positive gains made since the war have begun to evaporate or to be more accurate, have begun to be deliberately unravelled. Hatred and conflict have increased in intensity and hurtful intentions towards certain sectors of our societies have reemerged from their hiding places. These hiding places, it seems, were not so deep or remote after all.

On a more personal level, everyone faces challenges and usually we can face those challenges and in many cases overcome them, or if not overcome then at least come to terms with them. Sometimes though the challenges seem to arrive quicker than we can deal with them.

In this new performance I take on the role of another Sisyphean character attempting to scale a flight of stairs. Unfortunately, and frustratingly for him, with each step he takes towards the summit he must take two further steps away leaving him further back than when he made the initial progress. Sisyphus was not a man to give up easily so this new character persists with the task again and again until finally arriving against his wishes at the bottom of the flight of stairs.

Sisyphus was able to enjoy a brief respite from his labours during the short period as the rock rolled back down the hill and he was able to walk down unencumbered by the load, and so our new character takes some time out at the bottom of the stairs to look out at the ocean, finding a moment of calm before possibly beginning again.

The performance was conducted on the steps between the cliff tops and the beach at Sewerby near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, UK on 6th June 2019.

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