“I just had a vision of us doing something queer and messy and joyful and abundant and it made me happy.”
In Abundance, Beth and Matthew are gonna take you on a damn journey. One step, text, or word at a time, you’re gonna move away from Brainwaves of Scarcity and wrap yourself and others in the loving embrace of a dimension where you know that you have everything you need.
They have compiled some meditations for you dear reader on the process of making the show, and how their relationship as two people, floating through time and space in search of connection, has grown through the experience.
I first met Matthew Bratko in December 2018 after he had reached out to me to perform at an event I run called Glitter Hole. I didn’t know anything about him other than his act was called Kyle Kyle Kyle Kyle Kyle Kyle Kyle. When he took to the stage his performance was like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life. It astounded me, reminded me why I started Glitter Hole in the first place and made me want to push the limits of what I performed myself. I got to see Matt perform a few more times before he had to leave Ireland and return to the US. Early this year he contacted me to ask would I like to apply to be in Dublin Fringe. We didn’t have an idea, but an early message in my conversation with Matt was a turning point: “I just had a vision of us doing something queer and messy and joyful and abundant and it made me happy.”
Beth Hayden is an absolute dream person and their mentality is much more abundant than mine! Beth’s outlook was just so wonderful and refreshing to me, as I can be quite doomy and cynical. They’d be like “oh yeah we’re definitely going to get the funding” and then we’d get the funding, which was lovely, but even if we hadn’t gotten the funding at least we felt good during the waiting period!
They also are so good about taking breaks and being aware of their needs, like maybe a week before we were both about to fly over (because I was in California and they were in Glasgow) I was being negative on zoom and they very wisely told me that we needed a break so we could come into working in person and rehearsals with fresh energy and enthusiasm and they were completely right. We reset and so far our rehearsals have been really fantastic and energetic and generative because we built up so much of a relationship and shared knowledge and ideas from all that frustrating time working apart!
Abundance is the culmination of months of conversations between Matt and I. It felt like we were making very little progress for a long time and then when we suddenly started to write and devise material we realised that those conversations were actually research. We spoke about community, we spoke about our feelings, we spoke about our attempts to establish a connection with people and places, we spoke about our needs and wants and desires. Now that it’s made, we realise that all of those conversations are present in the show.
The show we’ve made takes place remotely and in person. The audience will first establish a connection through a collaborative WhatsApp group. It will be totally voluntary but really fun and will have clues and foreshadowing for the show to come. The live show that follows will be a reunion of the community that has been built through the WhatsApp and will explore the ideas of abundance, community, sharing, and resilience with the help of the audience. There will be interactive sections, moments of meditation, and dance breaks.
I spent a lot of time in Lockdown really Working On Myself, in therapy, reading loads of books, and one of the things I kept bumping into over and over again was that our “mainstream” way of living was not compatible with our biology, the access to food and water and shelter that many of us take for granted is phenomenally different from what our body is made for. We evolved to be very adaptable, yes, but there are limits! We are designed for Scarcity, not Abundance. So this idea of “having enough” is not a human idea, not based on our biology, maybe not a mental state that is possible for us to achieve, which made me really interested in an understanding or definition of Abundance that felt even theoretically possible. I’ve historically been an anxious and depressed person and the thing that’s helped the most has been community, feeling close to other people, and so we started looking at ways we could bring that into the show, explore Abundance through Connection.
“If you’re standing at the bottom of a hill with friends, it will appear less steep and easier to climb than if you are alone.” -Lisa Feldman Barrett
Abundance will run via WhatsApp and live at Dublin Castle’s Chapel Royal from 22- 26 September, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival 2021. Get your tickets here.
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