I think what we realised those late nights as we scratched records about regional bird songs beside fairground organ compilations, is that playfulness was a serious matter. We're based in The Cube and at that time we'd started selling online tickets and the venue had become a much busier place.Obviously it's great when we make some money and when there's an audience for the things in the programme. There's an ongoing, fond, in-joke about events which three people come to at the Cube. It is part of it's charm, but it's painful for the event programmer. So we weren't objecting to being a destination for more people, but we were wary of losing our roots and of becoming too businesslike. We wanted to teeter on the precipice a bit, do something pointless but with an impact and encourage others to do the same. We wanted revive the idea that since the Cube is an art project all of it's volunteers are artists. And do something that wasn't afraid to be difficult or obscure.
That's my vague memory and interpretation. The problem is it won't be the same for any of us. And where 'us' starts and finishes is a deliberate grey area too! Here's a typical discussion:
~How's this for the copy: Not a scratch night, not quite an impro night, hen do is a night of doing things we're not ready for that could take their own twists and turns and about embracing chaos!
~Thing for me in not saying it's a scratch night, is that it can be anything (including a try out) but . . . it should also be an opportunity to DO a thing. i.e. that thing only needs to exist in the moment and isn't a step or a stage to anything else.
It's on there because I have gained so much from doing it. It's made me realise that my years of volunteering at the Cube, all the small performances, workshops, décor and prop making and generally being part of the collective are an artistic practice in itself. And it has helped me make this into something more solid and presentable. And specifically the people have helped me, with technical assistance, giving me a deadline, working together on a show, but most of all with sheer enthusiasm. I've always said it's group where everyone thinks it's okay to run with an idea before you think about it too much and that's been really important for me as it makes things happen.
We've held, I think, eight events at the Cube (not counting the impromptu gatherings), provided Audio Visual Bafflement Solutions as spacemen at Supernormal Festival and a 'mischievous disruption' at the Arnolfini for Andrew Kotting's By Our Selves screeening.
There's been too many artists and collaborators involved for my memory to cope with, but a lot has happened. Poetry, puppetry, cookery, lectures, theatre, improvisation, projections, sounds, music and a disco in the urinals.
I've been really happy to make some theatre in house as The Cube and ¡hen~dø. It's been ambitious and definitely could have done with more rehearsals, but we did it. It's been great to finally have people to work with from within the Cube and I've really enjoyed running workshops and devising work with the ¡hen~dø crew. It's also given me an opportunity to make some ridiculous props and develop puppets, which are things I am really enjoying at the moment.