I am in pain. Wonderful, meaningful, glorious pain, all over my body. Let me tell you all about it.
Yesterday I took a very, very rare Brunch shift off to go to school. The Ottawa School of Speech and Drama to be exact, but not for my usual acting class. This day, I was heading out to participate in an early morning Movement Workshop, which was being put on by local superheroine team/theatre company DELUXE HOT SAUCE. consisting of luminary ladies Kelly Rigole, Doreen Taylor-Claxton, Annie Lefebvre, Kristina Watt, Sarah Finn, Alix Sideris and Jan Irwin, they were putting on a fundraising day for their next show, consisting of various classes/workshops/one-on-ones throught the day. It sounded awesome, although some like the grant-writing class and solo sininging sessions were a bit over my head for now. But Movement? Hey, I can move! Sign me up!
After an early rise and a hot coffee, I hopped a bus for the school, happily meeting Kelly Rigole on board. Kelly, being one of the awesomest people in Ottawa, let me accompany her on the way in, where I was reintroduced to Rideau Award nom Sarah Finn as she was setting up for the ‘spa day’ as they were calling it. All very cool.
Soon enough, Alix Sideris made her entrance (and she DOES make an entrance), and it was time for class. I entered the familiar classroom space with my fellow students for the day, (Kelly herself and two lovely gals by the names of Marianne and Jessica). And, of course, instructor Alix Sideris. And after this class, let me just make it clear: Alix Sideris is a Goddess. Yeah, I said it. Argue the point if you will, but don’t be surprised if you get struck by lighting in the near future. And yes, you’d deserve it.
Alix got us all into our bare feetsies and we ran through some warmups…Alix’s version of warmup being to cram an entire yoga session into about 6 and a half minutes. So, yeah, consider us warmed. She then gave us the unusual assignment of ‘self-loving’ for a couple of minutes. And you know what? I’m just gonna let your imaginations take you away on that one. You’re welcome.
…Are you back? Great, because it’s about to get GOOD. The next ride Alix took us on was one that, thinking back, I can hardly believe I actually took part in. Because it terrified me SO VERY MUCH. Essentially, she told us to partner up, shout out a word, and then we had to improv an ongoing movement/dance/whatever inspired by the word, and whatever music was playing at the time. I silently thanked whatever deities besides Alix were operating in the room that my first partner was Kelly, who I already knew a little bit. Because these turned into some very intimate movements…lots of contact, holding, touching…I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of cat-killing robots. When I moved on to partner with the girls I didn’t know at all, I must have been insanely awkward. But I kept trying to remind myself…this is what we DO. Actors and such. We share, we interact, we create (am I really including myself in this ‘we’ right now??), and we use ourselves to do it. I had to remind myself that a lot. I ended off the excercize as I started it, with Kelly, just squatting face to face, staring into each other’s eyes inches away from one another with the word JOY as our guide. It was so ridiculously amazing. Also, Kelly Rigole has purty eyes. This beats brunch, all right.
Then Alix showed us some art books, Dali and that SCREAM dude, and asked us to find a pic that spoke to us. Stare at it for 10 seconds, then head off and devise a movement, or series of movements, based on that picture. Evoking it. Move the picture, she said. And she said it in a way that really made me not want to fuck it up. So I settled finally on a Dali pic (forget the name, but there was a humble farming gal talking to a death-headed figure), and went to work. I had a terrible time coming up with anything, especially when I glanced around and saw the graceful, gorgeous things my co-workshoppers were evolving, but I plowed on, eventually (and really dumbly, as it would turn out) coming up with a series that ended up with me falling to the floor.
Alix then went around the room, making us do the series we’d come up with. And I mean MAKING US DO IT. She got a little vocal in her enthusiasms (“I can’t feel your fucking pain…make me feel your pain!” Awesome.), so that by the time she got to my lame piece, I was shitting enough gold bricks to buy the moon. If the moon were made OF gold bricks. So I went into my routine. And I fell to the floor.
MAKE ME FEEL IT! YES!!
…I almost didn’t make it. I literally staggered near the end, totally out of breath (Those of you regular readers of the blog know I don’t take the BEST care of my body), and Alix saw, and said with a smile, “Two more times”. I would not disappoint this woman. Two more times it was, and I hit the ground something fierce. It was VERY hard to convince myself to get back up again.
But up it was again, for the grand finale. Alix had this poem, see, from which she had pulled the words used to inspire our previous two-person excercizes. She handed us each a copy (beautiful fucking poem), and asked us to pick our own word, one that inspired us. Then, devise a short piece based on that word. Predictably, I picked VILENESS, and even more predictably, my bit ended with me hurling myself to the floor. Mental note: stop hating yourself so much. It was fine back when you didn’t have all these outlets, but NOW…
We all made our pieces. Alix called us up, one by one, to show our pieces to the group, who then learned the movements. When we’d all gone, we altogether performed the four movements back to back, chorus-style to tell its OWN story, whatever that may be. My own bit, that I’d been so self-conscious about, became the end piece, and ended up working perfectly AS the end. We performed the story as a group some four times in a row, and I wish we’d recorded it. It was incredible. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever taken part in. I didn’t know you could DO things like that. Honest, I could have cried I was bustin’ with pride so much.
After a final moment together, the workshop ended and we spilled out into the main foyer of the OSSD. I was pumped. I was on the kind of high Hunter S.Thompson only dreamt about. I didn’t want the day to end yet. So, fuck it, I loitered. I hung about, joined Alix, Sarah Finn and Annie Lefebvre on their coffee and candy run, returned, and just chatted with Kelly and Sarah (got to briefly met Doreen Taylor-Claxton and Jan Irwin in there too…no Kristina Watt, sadly) for something like 2 more hours. About whatever. I just didn’t want to LEAVE.
Eventually, however, work obligations forced me to bid adieu, and I reluctantly stole away. And today, as the reality of mortal man sets in, I’m so sore in so many places I can barely walk up stairs. But I really don’t mind. Every stab of pain is a reminder of this class, the most amazing thing I have ever taken part of in my whole life. My very first workshop. So thanks Saucies, thank you SO much. I hope we all meet up again soon. Let’s bring firewood. We’ll make fire on the mountain.
Peace, Love and Soul to all Saucies everywhere,
The Visitor (and Winston)
Alix Sideris fuckin ROCK!