Coming back to Always Already, waking up to it after almost two years since our last public performance of it, we begin slowly, working sections, amiably re-hydrating the performance and our memories of it.

After our first week of rehearsals, I watched some short clips of the video captured by Andrea Milde in our first days after two years away from the material, and I see that we are carrying the lightness we attempted to keep in the work. Andrea is an arts linguist, with a focus on performance rehearsal speech and artistic discourse.

The work is focus and persistence and the attempt to stay on track following the plan of the performance through eight hours and through the transience of the audience, we pull a thread through all of the slow change and the constant becoming and in the seventh hour content blossoms at just the moment we are almost incoherent with fatigue. It isn’t physical fatigue, it is mental fatigue. It is the fatigue that comes from focusing on every move made within the six hours leading up to the beginning of that seventh hour, the hour in which the content takes on a thicker weave.

Here you can see a short video of clips shot by Andrea Milde on her visits to our rehearsal process in advance of performances in Edinburgh as part of Horizon Showcase 2023.

Always Already explores the weaving together of human and machine and the seeds that have sprouted in the soft tissue of throat and lung and heart: pea shoot, fir tree, dandelion. With the whole room as the loom we work on a 3-dimensional cloth. There’s the passing of a line, the synchronised arms, and a place for the hand and time.

What does it mean “a dance of great difficulty”? It is cooperation made visible, a legacy of exertion and diligence proving we came back to it many times over time and revisiting made us know it better, know it differently, think through it, think with it.

We are under a wall. We are not on either side of it, we are underneath it. We can’t hear each other think. We start from different languages, not the same mother tongue. Translation is an opportunity to belabour the point, to focus on particulars, to take nothing for granted.

We fall down, we stand up, we make small adjustments to our clothing, we wave our arms in the air, we tidy the air currents, we smooth out the temperature, we gather the storm, we align the twigs, we bend, sometimes we break.