revew: ThisEgg – dressed.
in collaboration w/ Made My Wardrobe/
costume Lydia Higginson/
dramaturg Laurence Cook/
i went to see dressed. by This Egg.
is it helping/
sometimes you’ve seen a friend in pain so many times its hard not to feel pointless. useless. but friendship isn’t about utility. i’ve been seeing a lot of talk about emotional labour recently. labour isn’t automatically exploitation. sometimes labour is given freely, is care and is given in love. sometimes labour is wasted. you can do something fruitless. if you do that in love the frustration is even greater. like throwing stones into a lake at night, hearing nothing, feeling nothing.
near the start of dressed. the audience is asked to close their eyes. there is the sound of rustling fabric. i am rolling over in bed. i am in a quiet place and the only things i can hear are the blood and breath moving in me and the friction of the cloths i’m wearing. there is no wind in my ears and it doesn’t matter if there is anyone i know nearby.
there are types of honey which heal wounds. some types of honey are better to eat and ease your throat. sometimes if you’re ill all you can do is breathe clear air and wait. friendship or love is sometimes only useful to make a condition of someone else’s existence, and wait, and hope. you can’t spoon or pour it. even if you cannot speak to them, if they cannot speak to you or you cannot see each other across an unnamable space. it can be the better work to lean into the bare fact of existing in relation to each other.
perhaps i am in a bad place or a dark place and i am unable to speak about it. but knowing someone else is rustling nearby might help.
is it helping/
the pain or the presence of the fear of failure in dressed. is not the drama of a lone hero. it is the danger of the collapse of a shared essence. if Lydia cannot come back, if Josie, Nobahar, and Olivia cannot warm and wake her, they all cease to be. as far as i am let in, they exist like we all do. they exist in their knotty ties to each other. they exist in the ways they admire and love each other and the ways they can see each other in a learned way. if they can no longer speak to each other or hear each other or help each other what has it all been for.
Lydia makes. toward the back of the stage, in a clear light, she sits and makes. you can hear the sewing machine she works at. it is too large to carry and so the women lift it across the space together. sometimes if you are in a dark place it is not like you are numb. instead it is perhaps like you are the lake at night, being filled with stones. a lake is a huge thing, always moving even when it seems still. and sometimes it is like you can feel every part of that hidden fluid movement at once. and you can feel the stones being dropped into you. and you are yourself too much a flat screech of white noise to reach anything outside of yourself or understand anything reaching toward you.
but Lydia makes. sews and the clothes she makes are somehow for the friends that must surround her still because they always have.
is it helping/
there’s no solution in dressed. but maybe there are no solutions.
solutions are single points or great revelations. help doesn’t come like that. help comes before you need it, so you know it is there. help comes when you give what you can, even if you find that it doesn’t work. help comes in knowing, eventually, that you can control your movements. or that you always could. or that you don’t need to control all of them.
dressed. takes the context of theatre and uses it to express the healing potential of care which is not invasive or even always active. theatre is not a healing force, or a political force, because it is not a force but a condition. we are all just in rooms together, carrying our separate lives and connections to each other. breaching distances sometimes.