Had you asked me a couple years ago what my first one-woman show would look like, I would have hands down said, “a song and dance show, with some stories intermingled.” I have 2 decades experience as an internationally touring and teaching burlesque artist, with dance as my primary medium. Well, when I finally responded to the call, and committed to the creation of “I K(no)W,”--which was it’s acceptance into the SF Fringe Festival--the show itself took the reins, and I just kept showing up for rehearsals. I did what I call “spill the beans...count the beans,” with the astute, tender, systems-groking support of the best solo performance midwife an awakening showgirl could ever ask for: Martha Rynberg.
“Spill the beans, count the beans” means riffing out loud, with a choice and present audience--I like to call them my “witience,” which feels more complicit to me. It also means recording the session, then having it transcribed. It’s this witnessing process that alchemizes the material, it’s being SEEN that shapes what’s even accessible for me to name.
Martha helped me SEE me through this process. In our beloved San Francisco black box theater, Stagewerx, I spent hours and hours recounting to Martha what I now know to be true, and the ways in which my not saying “no” for so long cost me everything: my health, my wellbeing, my relationship with myself, others and Life itself. I came to know more than the material, I came to know me.
And of course, this show is shaping me this way! One of the main themes I dance with in “I K(no)W” is how 3-5 minute burlesque acts have been a primary training ground for me to earn secure attachment, recover from autoimmune illness, and essentially remember who I am, and what it feels like to radiate me. Meta, meta, meta...
Along the way, we unearthed waaaay more material than could ever fit in a 55 minute show. Martha’s talent for “bean counting” came in very handy at this point. She essentialized the themes, which I was too inside of to directly see. This allowed us to know what served the show and what had to go. The show is alive and knows what it needs included to support it.
The very creation of the show rewrites me. In each live performance this rewriting continues. “I K(no)W” is a LIVING show. Based on word from witience members at Fringe Festivals in San Francisco and Atlanta, the show is having a similar effect on it’s witnesses.
I break the fourth wall often while sharing my stories in “I K(no)W,” and guide the audience in direct experiences several times. It feels like an intimate-chat-with-a-friend meets TED Talk meets emotional burlesque.
We didn’t have a script ready for the first run of the show in the SF Fringe Festival in September 2018. So I placed on the floor stage left, a a 6 foot length of butcher paper with colorful post it notes as a map of the show beats. The map has shrunk down to an 8.5 x11 sheet of paper with handwritten beats on it, and I’m keeping it! This material sends me into fuzzy, foggy territory.
I’m not just delivering a script of some stories I’ve found to be true. I’m talking and walking through them again, with my mind and body and whole self, in your presence. I’m tracing the form of what I only recently could “K(no)W”...the shape of the forest that I couldn’t see because of the mesmerizing trees.
At the precipice of touring “I K(no)W” around the US this summer, I’m letting the show take me by the hand and re-guide me, again and again to know what I know and to “no” where I choose to “no.”
Join me in St. Louis at the Kranzberg Arts Center Studio
August 15th 7:30pm
August 17th 1pm
August 18th 1pm