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A REFLECTION

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The Three Furies in retrospect: From not having the words, to throwing things out.

Last month I was so angered that I threw things out. For the first time in my entire life. I gave myself permission.

It was a startling revelation to me that I even had it in me to. There was the undeniable thrill, a rush surging through my body, a kind of pulsating energy – the signs of life. This was new territory for me. It was the unknown. An experience I had never encountered before.

Prior to this moment, I had always had great difficulty creating the space for anger in my life. I have always understood it as something particularly negative. Even more so when it pertains to my own anger. I have feared it.

Creating The Three Furies has taken me on a journey of questions. It has been such an interesting process because there were more questions than there were answers. It became a journey of exploration.

When we walked into the rehearsal space we made a number of assumptions. We thought we understood our naming process, we thought we understood the shape the content would take, and finally we thought it would be a linear process.
Very early on during the course of our first session together, we were asking ourselves: ‘Why the title of The Three Furies?’ ‘What is the difference between anger and fury?’ ‘How have we been conditioned to write women?’ ‘We write for women but do we write as women?’ ‘How do we understand women’s fury?’ ‘Is there such a thing and how does it manifest’

My personal process began at that place where I realized, and had to admit, that I had no poems that spoke of or spoke to my own anger.
Zena asked me, ‘Where are your anger poems?’ I had nothing to offer her. Instead, I started crying.

There was this big silence. It became a question, ‘Why?’

This question would weave its way into the entire framework of our creative process. It moved from the safety of exclusively making statements to interrogating our perspectives.

Asked to consider and explore and my anger, I had to face up to the fact that I had written all of this material I thought suitable but it didn’t say anything. I wrote around it and I wrote for - I didn’t write about. I was missing from the narrative of my own life.

This is a painful realization to have to admit to as a writer. To have to open yourself to a new kind of awareness, one that says, ‘you too are implicated’. My experience of that first session challenged me profoundly. Though the discovery of the artist in me has strengthened me into visibility and voice, it has also become something to hide behind. At times, when I have been incapable of admitting to my own vulnerability, I have opted for saying the right thing instead of the thing that needed to be said. Working on the Three Furies has revealed the lies I tell myself. It is a process that has shed light on those areas where I need to excavate deeper, and more honestly. This process

With our sketch performance in Cape Town only a week away, I had to start over. I had to start there. I had to tell the truth. To work with where I really was in my personal process and not where I thought I should be. I have come to realize how adept we are at being able to speak about the external/public issues that anger us but how difficult we find it to express the personal.

Invaluable performance material emerged from the cracks in our initial perception. We recorded the impromptu conversations that came out of that first session and we used them as our opening soundscape. And we also reconstructed the set design to accommodate and reflect our new insights.

There is the woman who first walked into the rehearsal space in late March carrying undefined and significant silences within her.  And now there is the woman who walks away from this process trying everyday to give herself the space to understand her anger and to allow it to take her in whatever direction is necessary. The Three Furies process has reminded me how critical it is to not judge the process. That in fact the ability to sit inside the uncomfortable has a direct impact on the nature of the outcome. It is the key. In now being aware of this I am learning to not only listen out for the process but to trust it too.

These days I strive for balance. The strength it takes to suppress must become the strength to recognize, acknowledge and channel my anger. It must become the strength to use it – to risk healing.

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