Here we are. Madonnanera is back again…in STUDIO: The place where we thrive. It was surreal and exciting to be back in a studio space. Taking in the black walls, black floors and black curtains, I thought, “Ah, sweet canvas. So wonderful to meet with you again, old friend, after all this time.” The hairs on my skin stood erect as I observed the silence of the empty space waiting to be filled with stories and dance.
THE STORIES. That is exactly what we were reminded of when we met last week to begin our residency with b current: how this whole process, since the inception of Body so Fluorescent, has accumulated so many stories along the way. David di Giovanni and I (Amanda Cordner) toured this show across the nation and internationally since 2017. We reflected on the number of different people who helped with the development of this piece. The guest artists we sought out in every city and invited to perform a half-time show- each performer bringing their own unique style and energy that transformed BSF everywhere we took it. All the people we met across our nation who gave us a place to stay, who connected us with other artists that lead to stimulating conversations. On the road there were tears, blood, broken backs, mirror balls, sweat, damaged heels, and one suitcase holding a costume and one prop phone. We didn’t need much. David and I had each other and a black box. And that is where we find ourselves again in October of 2020.
Body so Fluorescent. The fact that we were supposed to perform this show in November of 2020 is mind boggling to me. This is the story that never ends. Our greatest wish since we began our tour was to perform in our hometown. Catherine Hernandez took a chance on our scrappy little piece and gave us the opportunity to take this production to the next level. Oh baby, we had DREAMS for this piece. We were going to engage back up dancers with fluorescent batons. We wanted to collaborate with a composer to create an original soundtrack for the entire show. We had dreams of elaborate costumes and wigs. We were excited to collaborate with a deaf interpreter, weaving this person into the action of the story… …Alas, a global pandemic. So, you know.
Presently, we intend to embark on this choose-your-own-adventure residency to explore how we can develop this piece for a LIVE production in the future. Alongside this journey we will continue to massage and shape our script. While reminiscing about how far we have come, we thought that we could compile these stories- a behind-the-scenes- look into our process, the life of this show, the difficult conversations and our long-time friendship in the form of a podcast.
It is exciting to know that we still have questions about our piece. And it is quite exhilarating to know it’s far from over. Body so Fluorescent started as a half-hour piece in 2016, then turned into a one-hour epic with prelude and intermission drag performances, and this year it has been adapted into a 10-min short film. This story is powerful and we ain’t even close to being done with it. So, here’s to WEEK ONE of a chance to begin again. And we’ll be taking you, our Toronto arts community along with us. Tune in next week to hear about what is happening with Madonnanera’s Body so Fluorescent in residence with b current.