Mike is a piece negotiating our relation to work. What was your starting point and desire behind the development of this performance?

My desire, when creating this work, was to create an environment for myself and the audience where I could work in a rhythm and inside of a flow that was as native to my personality and as conducive to my optimal living modalities as possible.

I was working on making a piece where I could question my relationship to trust. and Iwas making this piece as I was also deeply questioning my relationship to work. I was observing workplaces, work habits, work troubles. Things had gotten real quiet (uh, pandemic) and I finally had time to slow right down and do more of this observational work that keeps me curious about being alive. I was observing how people worked and it was troubling. decided to turn bend this trust question around working, workers.

Mike is your first durational work. How does performing this work influence your way of being on stage and the notion of time? 

I am constantly doing detective work, hunting for ways to feel more alive and closer to natural state for larger chunks of the day and therefore larger chunks of my life. It’s been really obvious sinceI was a child (and I get reminded of this tension as I raise a child who is just so much like I was) that I seem to move way slower than most people around me. And that this slowness seemed to affect people in negative ways that I could never understand. it is very painful when your natural state seems to not only not be tolerated but seems to actively be coerced out of you on a regular basis. Makes it hard to understand how one should be if one cannot be “oneself”. Yeah, so, I keep trying to find ways, places, times to make it back to finding this comfortable, fruitful, flourishing, peaceful, engaged in a positive way self. And I figure doing this in public might offer a place where people might think about how they can offer this to themselves too.

Performing this work allows for this stretchy, this expansive, this non-distinct, this spiraling and non-linear sense of time that is native to me. I need to create alternate worlds where I can be a POSSIBLE way to be, to do, to live.

The piece is especially not composed for a black box. How do you work with the different spaces you encounter and how much is your performance influenced by a new space?

I love walking into new spaces, from a space where I have been offered to propose artistic ideas, to a person’s kitchen, to a grocery store. I love to observe and learn and absorb information because it helps me to learn how to be there, helps me to maybe know more about how to be in the world. Keeps me safe, keeps my mind nourished, helps me to feel closer to people. With this new project, Igot really excited about figuring out how to wipe away a few more expectations…how to maybe try and open up some more space to let myself and to let people wander inside of that vital imaginative space that I find we (fatally, discouragingly!) have less and less time to spend time inside of. An easy hack seemed to be this really basic thing of changing positions – in this case, just getting out of the theatre for a hot minute (or uh hundreds minutes!)

Photo: Carla Schleiffer