Monday, 21 May 2012

Hymas&Lewis: Seasick?

photo: Richard Davis
Last Friday night Hymas&Lewis performed at the Spotlight club, a wonderfully welcoming live literature and music night in Lancaster, which provides a great space to try new work out, experiment, dip toes into the waters of uncertainty. Which is what we did.

When we perform we always have strong reactions from audiences. I think they're often quite surprised at how we work together, a bit like Marmite and peanut butter sandwich: unexpectedly harmonious. 

I love this unexpectedness. I love what we do. In fact I love working with Steve Lewis. Here are some reasons why:

1. We muck about together to make pieces, so throwing away stuff is easy. And the stuff we keep always has some playful quality to it even if it's not immediately apparent.
2. We laugh and laugh.
3. It's a bit scary, as some of this mucking about involves improvising and even improvising in front of just one other person is exposing.
4. Reading/reciting my poems with Steve on an instrument forces me to listen to every word, to hear it with a precision and resonance I may not have done previously.
5. This leads to a strong edit.
6. And then Steve cries 'too many words' and we cut again. Cut cut cut. Space is what we create.
7. Steve's 'instruments' range from guitar, shruti, spring drum, accordian, elastic bands, to his voice
8. There is a constant push/pull between sound and sense
9. We begin most 'rehearsals' with a procrastinatory chat (usually initiated by me) that must be helpful in some way. If not to clear the decks to open up creative pathways, it gets shit off my chest to someone who isn't involved in the rest of my life.
10. Along the way Steve has introduced me to Sergy Starotsin, Adam Philips, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, Tunng, The Cave (Steve Reich's masterpiece about Abraham) and more, much more.
11. What we make is unlike anything I'd do by myself, and yet it feels like it is a natural extension of how I perform by myself. An extension. Yes.
12. How there's always someone in the audience who responds to what we're doing by laughing and I enjoy this manifestation of emotion, whether or not what we're doing is supposedly 'funny'.
13. And there's always someone in the audience who finds our creations totally transporting, and comes up afterwards to tell us with a strange shine to their eyes.
14. I finish each set with a wonderful sense of elation at having remembered everything we planned and composed to do.   

We're currently working on a longer piece we've temporarily called Seasick.
Steve writes our blurbs and this is what he said about it:

Sarah Hymas & Steve Lewis(aka Deep Cabaret) demonstrate the difference between a deficit and a debt with swashbuckling material and neo-mixed, self-sampled, mash-ups methodologies. The zygotian pairing of poet and voice will perform a livetease direct from Seasick, their still-developing new show about trust & fear, weather & philosophy and shipwrecked shanties. Comes complete with spring drum and shruti.

Let me know if you'd like to hear when we're testing the waters with it again...

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