SHORE in Narrm ESSAY by Marija Herceg

Reflecting on SHORE in Naarm
By Marija Herceg


Looking back now the visual I am getting of SHORE is a gradual becoming of this being into life, this big whale holding us all together in it’s belly!   

From day one I was captivated by Emily’s fluid, poetic conversational expression. We seemed to have instantly passed through a threshold into the delicate space of feeling, planting a seed with each movement and gesture of what is to come. Trees that may have simply been noticed as just being there outside the window became known; togetherness became important, story became important.

My initial position in the performance space was an invitation by Emily to stand with ease and assurance, as if I had been so for a hundred years, and for this I needed to see with eyes that see beyond the immediate.

Each element in the space connected and grew into each other; even through transitions, it felt like water flowing. The space for me had this honest quality to it, where it wasn’t so much created, but allow to be. I feel we the cast held the space in this timeless stillness, in my imagination watching on like spirits.

I felt it so special the feeling of intimacy created when Emily and the dancers would lean and hug the cast. I also enjoyed watching them in one particular scene when they are stomping their feet, they looked like these primal creatures in the wild that have reunited in joy.

What came, as a challenge to me was standing still for longer than usual periods of time, more so mentally without the usual distractions that break state. I took this as another trait of the world that I belong to that is moving too fast and needs to slow down the pace. This was best experienced in the ‘slow walk’. I see the walk as an important indication of my relationship to time, presence in myself and expression in the world. Observing another cast member ‘slow walk’ made me think of us as temporary passengers in our bodies, and with that I felt a sense of gratitude for the moments that we are here and together.

The performance spills into the world and I recognize it in the patterns of movement from the various rehearsal sequences. In traffic I saw cars, equally spaced from each other, maintaining same distance, following each other around a bend, just as we did in our circling of the tree. It felt nice to for a moment think of them as following each other to stay connected…

This blending of ‘art’ and ‘life’ I seek and seek to create. I more so realised this at the beginning of our circling of the tree, when I was first overcome with a nervousness, knowing there is an audience present now, the thought came to me that I need to ‘perform’ and although I have been practicing for a performance I wouldn’t be staying true to it if I had just decided to perform, so it felt powerful to recognise that this is me, with my feet on the ground existing no less or more as myself by this tree than at any other occasion in time, whether I chose to call it performance, it is my life.  

…And the tree, beyond the performance, beyond me, awaits as an invitation for us to gather, to remember, share a meal, share stories again… share a vision of the future as we have been doing so for hundreds of years.

SHORE spoke to me of belonging, that we are perhaps only one person, story, tree away of creating that feeling…