All the text for this work comes from overheard conversations. Occasionally I wonder about the ethics of it – but these are conversations held in public. On the street and on public transport there are many one sided conversations to be heard as people talk into their phones.
I travel on buses and trains a lot; also many notes taken in cafes – the Arnolfini bar is prominent in this work! I have picked through and found lines relevant to my themes. The only words not overheard are the anagrams derived from: “A mincy writer absolutely.”
I sometimes employed intentional actions/systems that produce chance outcomes. One third of the way through is a chunk of conversation about death, and plots at the graveyard. Of proximity of relations. This chunk of text is presented three times: As one syllable words only, with one syllable words removed and the total text, read by a male voice in contrast to the two female voices throughout the performance. (The actual words were spoken by two women). It allows for something more intimate.
The chorus of “no no no no” and “yeah” were so commonly heard [especially from people on phones] and I wanted them to be a rhythm throughout. A hint at something musical; also the rhythms of travel.
In wondering about theories of the voice, it took a long time to dawn on me that we are constantly experiencing spoken language overlaid. Sitting on the train or bus of course there are many overlapping conversations as there are at many social situations. It is nothing curious or odd. Constantly people over talk in a group and in the background there are many other conversations. Scores are written for different voices, different melodies and sometimes different words overlap. In the Bag is much less like music than Ysgwydd, the overlaps are more about confusion, my creation of the confusion of walking into a room of conversations, enhanced by the live performance in a space with amazing echoes. The crypt at St.Paul’s, Bedminster was instantly obvious for performing this work in. The place has the added bonus of having been an air raid shelter in WWII – people, chatter. There is also something interesting about being underground in a city – life and sounds all above you.
Both Ysgwydd and In the Bag have a strong element of liveness. Ysgwydd was recorded in two parts and In the Bag in one, the video of In the Bag is of the event, live. my preference for making “real time” work.