This is the first week working on Binary Opposition, a new creation of Reckless Sleepers. The project is in an early stage of infancy, but for an infant it’s already big. Due to lockdowns, lack of touring and probable boredom, Mole built the entire set in his studio. It’s a beautiful set. Wooden horizontal and vertical beams screwed together to create two rooms; echoes of Negative Space and Schrödinger, two previous Reckless Sleepers projects. On the first day of working, we simply walked through the two rooms, two people following each other, the simple repetitive journeys incredibly watchable.
There is another group of people working on this show but they are in the UK without a set but filled with possibilities of what these two boxes can offer. We meet twice a day from our two spaces, in two virtual boxes on zoom. We check in with each other in the morning from Gent to Manchester, then again in the afternoon. It feels so great to see these people again. It sometimes feels like we are there, like we are together again; the madness, the oddness, the distractions, the nearest coffee is at the garden centre, there’s a rabbit that needs cooking, what are we going to have for dinner tonight? What did you have for lunch? What, you made it yourself? What’s that film with Glenn Close? What’s the one where she opens her legs? We just had vegetarian sandwiches. What did you say? Can you repeat that Tim? Is it recording? You look tired. Did you go out last night? Is that everything on your list? You should try hammer, back, look. We should watch Rear Window. I couldn’t hear you, could you repeat that? Is there enough security to do that on the set. Did you make it to the garden centre to have coffee? It’s recording. Do you want it fluid or staggered? No, we just watched star trek. Are you going to show us something then? I don’t even know what staggered means.
We try to show the other group bits of what we’ve made. Echoes of the work made in Manchester are finding their way to the set in Gent. Echoes themselves of sequences found in Schrödinger, Negative Space and other Reckless work. Alex and Tim walked forward in a strange way, a recreation of how they enter the Schrödinger set, we recreated it in Belgium, with one of us on the floor, the other walking precariously on the very top of the set. Leentje, Kevin & Rebecca walking through doorways that don’t exist in Manchester and Mole, Alexa, Leen and I trying to retrace them in Gent. Alexa, Leen and Charlie climbing across the wooden beams of set like they are mountaineering. Leentje pushing Tim out of the frame of the video in Manchester. Playing games, playing George Michael in Gent. Playing with previous journeys from shows in Manchester. Playing with chairs, lots of chairs.
The initial plan was to enclose the set in cladding and that may still happen but there is something beautiful in the openness of the vertical and horizontal beams, something about seeing the structure, seeing how every beam is there for a purpose, something in the openness of seeing people coming on and off stage, about what happens at the back, what happens at the sides and what we would do knowing that we could always be seen. I helped Mole take down the set on the last day. I long for doing this in a theatres once more, there is magic in arriving at a theatre and building something that you know will be taken down in few days, the fleetingness of something so hefty, something so big that can fit inside a van and be driven to different empty space ready to be reconstructed once more.
As we begin to move out of the pandemic and we see restrictions slowly lift, I think of how joyous this week has been, the joy of playing in a theatre space again. I am filled with excitement, this week has been a glorious tonic to the mundanity of lockdowns. Excitement about showing the work to audiences, excitement to see the company in the flesh. Someday soon, we will all be in one room together again and when we get there it’s going to be so fucking good.