This weekend marks the date that I crossed the last t on my thesis and now all I do is take it to be bound and hand it in before I head off to the Edinburgh Festival midweek. Whilst I was printing off the thesis in our spare bedroom I noticed the plant in the window had started to flower. We’ve had it for twenty years, it belonged to my partner’s grandmother and we took it when she passed away, I have no idea how long she had it for. We’ve been very hard on this plant, (as we are with all the succulents we have), we forget to water and we shove it away on a North facing window but now, amazingly, it has presented a flower, and why now?
The performance I created for my practice as research study was called Coffee with Vera in the Vestry, Vera was a character created from many voices and stories I collected during my research. Yet, the name I gave her was the name of my partner’s grandmother, Vera. The character of Vera was, along with myself, the co-host of a coffee morning in a site-specific performance created for the space I performed it in. Referring to site-specific performance Cathy Turner in ‘Palimpsest or Potential Space’ says
‘the “host” is already the layered “space” formed by lived experience, so that the givens of site-specific performance comprise not only the machinery of “place”, but also the patina it has acquired with past use’ (2004: 374).
The term that Turner uses “host” comes from Cliff McLucas of Welsh theatre company Brith Goff. The “host’ was his term for the site, the building or space that was “hosting’ the performance. The performance, in turn was the “ghost” which was/is brought to the site. I was now playing a host within my “host” – the site, and a host within my “ghost” – the performance, moreover the voices I had used to create Vera were also the voices of ghosts, people who had passed away.
Maybe with all this research into Vera she is ghosting us in other ways – just to let us know!