*Des’ree’s “Kissing You” starts to play*
First kiss at fourteen at a school disco. Damp and slobby. Lips bruised for days afterwards. Felt like I’d been initiated into a special cult of adulthood. You’re a woman now, Ava.
Young bodies on that enormous expanse of stone space, carefully helping each other into glittery blazers, hanging over their knees, off their elbows. Silly, wide grins, occasional bursts of laughter. We’re inside a dressing up box, contained in their space where they are free to explore and fall and skin exposed knees. They race around the stage, jumping as high as they can, falling to the ground. Sometimes it seems like they’re going to step on each other by accident, but they skirt out of the way just in time.
Kissed a girl at a party at sixteen – soft and gentle, but in front of people, so a strange paradox. Gossamer wings fluttering somewhere in the curl of her ear. Later – shame.
It reminds me of BOYS by PappyShow, but less streamlined, messier, clumsier. The little sibling of that show, maybe. James Blakey strings together these fragments, skits almost and they don’t quite coalesce until the final stretch, this twenty-minute silent rush of movement and skin and touch which builds and builds and builds before – release. A girl falls to the floor gracefully. Her friend catches her head before it smacks on stone. They do this again and again, bathed in Jamie Platt’s pink light. No verbal acknowledgement of queer love, but small moments found in the silences where bodies meet. And it’s lovely but I’m yearning for something more tangible, something I could’ve clung when I was younger.
Nineteen in a club in Budapest. Unsure of his name. Unsure of who I am. Unsure if I want to do this really but I do it anyway. A running theme that summer, I think. This is what young people do, isn’t it?
Before the show I’m talking to my friends. “I feel so old,” they both say. Twenty-one and twenty-three respectively. The kids onstage can’t be older than seventeen and it feels like there’s an enormous, craggy ravine between us. Sometimes. I don’t feel old. I’m twenty-two. I feel small and breakable. The gulf swells and recedes and sometimes I feel so close to these kids that I’m almost nestled inside their grey matter. I’m worried for them even though they are so much more equipped for this than I was. I see them spill out of the theatre afterwards, laughter pealing into the humid air and I think be careful please because I don’t know what I’m doing and neither do you
The best kisses were when I was seventeen and sneaking into clubs. When I felt the most audacious, the most untouchable, the most powerful. Just becoming aware of that power, not totally conscious yet of the danger.
They don’t take it too seriously, which is perhaps the best thing. There’s a lightness of touch to the ensemble which is what makes Company Three so vibrant. They’re not afraid of the silliness, the fumbling, the mistakes. They’re confident in a way that I can’t possibly replicate anymore, in a way that I think I once was. I want them to stay there, suspended in blue and pink shadows, twirling and writhing in the light.
*Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Cut to the Feeling’ starts to play*
The Act is on until 2 August 2018 at The Yard. Click here for more details.