Fall #38

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We’ve been thinking about falling. Months ago a friend posted a link on facebook to a short wikipedia page about William Rankin, the only person to ever survive falling through a storm cloud (he fell for forty minutes and had to hold his breath for bits of it so that he didn’t drown in unfallen rain) and it caught our imagination, making us wonder what our pre-occupation with the sky is all about. Over the following months across texts, emails, conversations and late-night internet meanderings we’ve become more and more interested in this act; the free-fall of the body through space and the emotional parallels and all the other things that this four-letter, one syllable word means. Fall.

So this is what our new show is going to be about, or at least where it’s starting, or at least where it’s so far got to, via India, machines, cities, women and weather, we’ve arrived at falling and we think we’re going to play in this subject for a while.

With this mammoth task (it’s always a mammoth task) ahead of us: make a show – write it, get the people we need, work out what needs to happen and when, all that – we decided to go away to write some things. We wanted to have a word document with thousands of words and thoughts and bits of research about falling. Last week we went to Darlington, away from our normal spaces – habitats – to do this.

Falling is massive. At the moment it’s too big, but it’s also endlessly interesting and you see it everywhere. In Darlington we read and we wrote and we listened and we looked. Some of that:

We drove round North Yorkshire with Tom, Jojo’s cousin, and went to high up places. Malham Cove. A quarry. The top a hill. And we looked down.
We listened to this radiolab episode about falling.
We read about the inner ear and the sensation that lets us know we are falling.
We revisited this article, and this film about suicides from the Golden Gate bridge – one of the first pieces of research we ever shared with each other when we were at Dartington and making Isabella. Maybe it’s finally relevant.
We danced around the sitting room and fell over, again and again.
We started to collect people’s falling stories. We’re looking for as many as possible and you can contribute here.
We wrote thousands of words and read them to each other.
We thought about the fall of the British Empire, and about doing the show in India.
We listened to Laurie Anderson.

And now we embark on two weeks in the Bristol Old Vic’s Coopers Loft to write some more, research some more, fall some more, and try to make a bit of sense of it all. We’re thinking about it like a book or a catalogue; a collection of falls. We’re thinking about it being called Falls #16-781. But we don’t know what the numbers will be yet. It’s exciting to start.


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