This autumn we, the company of the performance piece THANK YOU VERY MUCH, should have been in Bern to perform our show. We planned to share with you an entertaining (we hope!) and intimate evening in which the performers, a cast of world-renowned disabled dance artists, would relate our experiences of learning about the glittering and competitive world of the professional Tribute artist. Due to the pandemic, we can’t be with you this year but until we can be together again (hopefully in Oct ’21), myself, the performers and the creative team behind the show, invite you to share some insights into the world of the work.

To this end we have crafted some offers to you, our missed audience, in our absence, which are gathered here on this site. Some of our contributions take audio form, which may be more accessible to some of you.  We hope you enjoy from out (t)here in the darkness.
Until we meet, best wishes,

Claire Cunningham

Choreographin & Darstellerin, THANK YOU VERY MUCH

Running Order

Pre show:  Shanti Freed – Costume Designer

————show starts 8pm————
8.16 pm  Vicky Malin – Performer
8.27 pm  Luke Pell – Dramaturg
8.48 pm  Bethany Wells – Designer
9.14 pm Tanja Erhart – Performer
9.26 pm  Claire Cunningham – Performer
————show ends 9.30pm————

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

Pre show:  Shanti Freed - Costume Designer

Current Location: London, England

Costume 1

Wardrobe Maintenance and Rider
COSTUME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

PRE SET (on stage):

4 x Silk Scarves.
4 x Jumpsuits
(with Jewels/Belts/ Fringe attached)
1 x Green/White Wonder Cape
NB: Spot clean/dry clean only
DO NOT WASH as green color may run
1 x Black Leather Jacket
1 x Gold Láme Blazer

Costume 2

PRE SHOW PREP:

Check Jumpsuit collars/cuffs for deterioration and repair if needed. Steam and Press if needed with pressing cloth. Use calico pressing cloth for ironing all Jumpsuits and nylon/synthetic/láme fabrics.

Costume 4

RIG JUMPSUITS
BY PRESS-STUDDING ON:
Jewel strips – ALL
Belts – ALL (Note: Dan is threaded opposite to Claire and Tanja)
Shoulder pads – ALL
Flare Inserts – Tanja and Dan only
Fringing – Tanja

Costume 7

Thank you very much

– Shanti Freed

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

8.16 pm  Vicky Malin - Performer

Current Location: Brighton, England

Vicky 3

 

I would sit partly in the dark.
I would start by taking my shoes off and my ankle brace, and I would slide the jumpsuit up over my body, sit back down, and then I would start to do my checks.

I would check my shoelaces.
I would check the flare at my ankle. My cuffs.
I would check that my collar was folded, but up around my neck.
I would smooth my hair back.
I would smooth my hands over my quiff and tuck my hair behind my ears and make sure my ponytail wasn’t trapped inside the jumpsuit.

This time when I was sitting partly in the dark, it was about preparing, resting and waiting.
As I sat, I would listen to Claire talking to you.
I would be waiting to introduce myself, waiting to meet you.

I would hope to make you smile a little bit, relax.
Share with you a little bit of the clown in me, but also something a bit more unknown.
I wanted to share the little things with you. The small, subtle unseen things.

Since the last time we met, I’ve had a baby.
Now as I sit here, partly in the dark, I’m preparing a little, trying to rest, and waiting for him as he sleeps.

I will wait to see you again.

Thank you very much.

– Vicky Malin

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

8.27 pm  Luke Pell - Dramaturg

Current Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Luke Header

Thank you very much

– Luke Pell

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

8.48 pm  Bethany Wells - Designer

Current Location: Sheffield, England

‘Spikes’ on the stage are generally made with very small pieces of tape, invisible to the audience, but just visible enough for the Stage Managers to use before the show to set out the props, and just visible enough for performers to find their marks during the show. These marks may correspond to precise locations for moments to be lit with a focussed lighting states, or form the basis of a choreographic patterns.

MarkupA4

We began with the essential marks; Vicky’s microphone position at the top of the show, the angle at which Dan’s chairs were to be placed, but then I started to play… what if instead of invisible marks, we started declaring more visibly the specific ways these dancers were inhabiting the space. A simple cross on the floor doesn’t accurately represent Claire’s ‘quadruped’ standing position of two feet and two crutches, and is inadequate to represent the sweeping curve of Tanja’s wheels turning into place.
By increasing the width of the tape, and drawing out more of the subtle gestures in the choreography, the space became alive with the feeling of these specific performers standing, kneeling and occupying the space. Part sports hall, part graphic score, part Stage Management, the stage mark-up drawing therefore represents not just a setting-out diagram for the invisible backstage work of the show, but a visible tribute to the precise proportions, angles, and actions these four dancers use in the show.

Thank you very much

– Bethany Wells

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

9.14 pm Tanja Erhart - Performer

Current Location: Tirol, Austria

Tanja 2

YOU KNOW AT THE END OF THE DAY…

… it’s about being very stationary
… not being energetic
… sit down and do it
… or stand up and do it
… using both hands
… it being open to interpretation
… do you want to stand up and do it?
… expressing with your hand
… shimmy the leg, yeah, the shake
… and wiggle your shoulders
… and then you can speed up as you want
… doing it slower
… I can’t do it on the left leg
… shall I stand up and do it?
… or sit down and do it?
… it being cool to just have the one
… it about being pelvic, but not quite pelvic
… here swaying a little bit
… there being a little bit of a wiggle
… staying on the pulse

uh huh huh…the Pelvis

… warming-up with Lizzo’s scuse me while I feel myself
… sorry, not sorry!
… du du du du dum …
… giving it a whirl
… du du du du dum …
… an element of excitement
… du du du du dum …
… being sassy
… du du du du dum …
… sometimes also a bit over excited
… the connection with people
… tender loving

At the end of the day a no makes way for a yes!

… clapping (or stepping):

*sau*sage *and* sau*sage *and*mash.
*sau*sage *and *mash*mash.
*sau*sage *and *mash*mash*mash.

At the end of the day, yumm!

At the end of the day, it’s all about a shadow of 3 legs and a quiff.

… crutches, voices, handing over mics
… my insights say follow your gutsiest guts
… a cup of tea
… butter on toast
… a glass of water
… a can of coke
… good food in company
… chats and laughs in between
… breaths
… naps
… gin’n’t

… a triped
… a quadruped
… look look look
… looking for trouble
… diamond dancers
… taking up space
… pleasures
… thresholds
… in your face.

… that’s it
… that’s enough
… shaking up
… the blast from the past

You know at the end of the day, it’s all about the …

(Wooden) Erhart

“You know at the end of the day, it’s all about the heart.”

A quote by Colbert Hamilton aka Black Elvis.

My personal tribute artist who taught me to follow mine.

Thank you very much

– Tanja Erhart

TYVM Landscape Designer Bethany Wells

9.26 pm  Claire Cunningham - Performer

Current Location: Inverclyde, Scotland

Claire 2

Dear Audience,

Thank you very much for not being at my show. For understanding that I can’t be there. That we can’t be there.

Shall I stay…?

Would it be a sin?

Thank you for listening when we say we believe that we are not safe until we are all safe.

Wise men say….

Only fools rush in

Thank you for understanding that if there are some who cannot come to see our show because they don’t feel safe to be out in the world, or some who cannot travel, who cannot leave the building….then the show for us must not go on.

Like a river flows

Surely to the sea

At approximately 9.26pm I would start my last scene. A small square stage approx. 2 feet high, with a glowing lit surface in the downstage right corner of the room. You would be close, some of you only 2 feet away, sitting below and all around, looking up at me, or listening to the Audio Describer’s voice in your headset describe me standing above you.  Wearing a white jumpsuit with a high collar and a heavy turquoise leather belt with a large golden lion on the buckle, turquoise and diamond-like gems emblazoning the front of my chest, and wide turquoise accents on the flared legs of my jumpsuit, with short grey hair now wet with sweat and with my 2 grey shining crutches and holding a handheld microphone. And you would feel me breathe, or see me breathe and you would feel or hear the weight of my body on the small square glowing stage. I would tell you how my dream to end the show is to sing a song, my favourite song by Elvis, as I pass through the crowd and make my way to the door to “leave the building”.

Darling so it goes

Some things are meant to be

I would ask for your help to do this because I can’t hold my microphone to my mouth and move at the same time because I need to use my hands on my crutches. So I would ask you to help me. To be my hands. To hold my microphone for me, and to pass it between you, from one person to the next, from one hand to the next, to the person sitting close beside you, asking you to hold it close to my mouth as I sing to you.

Take my hand

Take my whole life too

And Carly would cue the backing track of music from the sound desk and I would pass the mic to you. I would sing to you. To each of you, and look in your eyes as I pass, you would feel my breath, you would feel my leg perhaps brush your leg, or your chair, or your wheelchair as I lean in close to you and move along and through all of you. And Chris would press a button on the lighting desk to bring up a spotlight that follows me as I move, lighting me and you and the Sign Language Interpreter alongside me as I pass. Singing to you. For me. And for you.

For I can’t help falling in love with you

And some of you would smile and laugh, some of you would be nervous. Some of you would hold the mic too close to yourself, or too high, or too low and I would have to lean close to reach my lips to it and I would ask you maybe to lift it up a bit, or to move it more slowly, in snatched moments between the lines of the song.

Take my hand

Take my whole life too

And we would get there, gradually, by the last verse of the song, in time for a final chorus where I stand by the door, holding the mic again, standing with Vicky, with Tanja, with Dan, and I would look at you all and I would sing to you all, sometimes with tears in my eyes, sometimes with tears in your eyes, and sometimes you would join in and sing along.

Shall I stay…?

Would it be a sin?

If I can’t help falling in love with you

But I can’t help

Falling in love with you.

And Chris would fade down the spotlight leaving us in darkness.

With love to all who cannot leave the building,

Claire

(Cant Help Falling in Love written by Peretti, Creatore & Weiss)

Print

Thank You Very Much (Out There in the Dark)

Letter designed by Bethany Wells – Set Designer
Including floor marking graphic from the TYVM set

Further contributions from:
Tanja Erhart PERFORMER
Shanti Freed COSTUME DESIGNER
Vicky Malin PERFORMER
Luke Pell DRAMATURG
Bethany Wells SET DESIGNER

FOR CLAIRE CUNNINGHAM PROJECTS
Nadja Dias EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Vicky Wilson PROJECTS AND MARKETING MANAGER
Luke Pell DRAMATURG
Hugo Glendinning PHOTOGRAPHER

Thank You Very Much, was commissioned by Manchester International Festival, National Theatre of Scotland and Perth Festival, in association with tanzhaus nrz and Dance Umbrella.  Produced by Manchester International Festival and National Theatre of Scotland.