Talking to Tania
|Richard Layzell – Talking to Tania 6|
Day 1 • 8 May 2005 • Warsaw to Piotrkow Trybunalski
TK I wasn't expecting to hear from you today
RL Nor was I, but there's been stuff to talk about
TK Where are you for Christ's sake?
RL Careful, this is the land of the now very venerated late Pope.
RL Warsaw, on the way to Piotrkow Trybunalski for a performance festival called Interakcje 2005.
TK My scene?
RL It's a bit macho and intense, very East European, not really your scene.
TK So why are you doing it?
RL It was an opportunity, you know the score, and not my first time in Poland. I like the relaxed interface between art and theatre here.
TK Are you sure it's so relaxed?
RL Now that you mention it, chap with a pony tail just came up to me and remembered my 'theatrical' performance in Minsk six years ago.
TK So what's the difference?
RL This dark, intense, durational, action-based tradition.
TK For instance?
RL We just stopped at a social housing complex on the outskirts of Warsaw to visit a gallery in a basement of one of the blocks, and there it all is: an office full of bearded men drinking apple juice laced with vodka, a strange assortment of accompaniments including several plates of bendy shaped Wotsit lookalikes, on entering the gallery young documenters wield still and movie cameras and an older man sporadically writes a line of numbers on the wall. I’m greeted by Victor Petrov from Belarus, co-curator of the Navinki performance festival, who I haven’t seen since 1999, and the inevitable collapse into pigeon communication begins, “Reechard”...[pause]....”Victor”..[pause]....etc. Jan, a founder of this seven year old festival, and quite frail, looks up at me and says quite distinctly “it’s gonna be alright”.
TK I’m not so sure.
RL I wondered if I’d misheard him. But that’s the attitude here, it’s a very particular ambience, different even from Belarus. This festival will make itself, no set schedule, just ask for what you want. But we’re not there yet, this is the taster.
TK Are you thinking about your piece?
RL A little. For some reason I think about adding in some vocal/sound stuff. But want to talk to you about it first.
TK Is this another first, overlapping private and public dialogues, working on the work as it goes? I can’t recall the dialogue in process and the work in process going public before.
RL How about the installation in London?
TK Not so live, the dialogues were more performative within the space, you couldn’t step back and reflect like this.
RL It’s not so reflective right now. The bus has filled up and there are 20 of us heading off into the darkening rain. Polish, Russian, German, French and English is spoken on all sides. Hank and Sarah, from Canada, are planning their piece behind me “the orange plastic...so glad we brought the cardboard...did you pack a sewing kit?...I was wondering if that might be...” and back to background Polish. This begins to feel like a journey without end, windows steaming up, chassis shuddering, engine noise, a lost little town bus with hard seats. Music drifts from the driver’s cab “all by myself...all by my...self”, this is it, the event, the festival and the place are a figment and a foible. Then Jan, now sitting next to me says “We are here...at least”.