Will Dickie is bringing his electrifying team show for 10 people, 1 coach & 1 captain to Hackney Wick for Walkie Talkies from 24-26 July.
See below for the trailer and interview with our team captain Will!
You investigate and communicate ideas, thoughts and feelings through physicality, exploring this through martial arts, Butoh dance and Actor Training. What made you move in this direction?
At school I did drama and played rugby, and the teachers were always negotiating my time between training and rehearsals…the rugby coach at school, Steve, was an amazing man, very supportive and open minded. He used sports to help us look at our relationship to ourselves. He didn’t really care if we won or not but on how we played! Whether we were true to our potential. I thought rugby was for me but at university it was a very different. I remember wearing a bra and pants and vomiting into a large bin in the centre of a rugby club in Devon and thinking that it wasn’t really for me…who IS that for!? Very luckily – thank god – at that time I met Phillip Zarrilli. He’s a theatre director who teaches Asian martial and meditative approaches to performance. And so I found out how to merge the physical and the creative and never looked back. That stuff eventually took me to India to practice there and meet Siva Kumar, who is my martial arts guru.
Siva Kumar, Steve and Phillip were all interviewed for this work, along with my Dad. Their words can be heard through the tape player I carry about like a rugby ball. They’re the 4 male role models of my life so far! and they all say beautiful and intriguing things about strength, weakness, fathers and manliness.
So, you are inviting your audience to take part in a game, but it seems like a very different kind of a game, one that moves between the physical and the emotional. It sounds intense! Will the audience be taken through their paces; will they feel the burn?
The team is well drilled by their coach en route to the park, and should develop a keen sense of space and group manoeuvrability. Out on the park that is put to the test through a series of contemplations on the landscape and on manliness, punctuated by motivational squeezing, back patting and head tapping. There is a more aerobic section to the match, but coach is on hand to guide all players – ability is not an important criteria within the team outlook and auxiliary roles are on hand to be distributed. Emotionally it’s a different ball game and the team will have to grit their teeth and get through that however they can.
The title suggests an exploration of generation as well as physicality. Your previous piece, Memories of Suburbia, involved your Nan and her musings on life. It sounds like family is a very important driving factor in your work; do you feel that enough art is made about everyday life and families?
There’s quite a bit I’ve seen of late. Laura Bradshaw, Jo Hellier and I were all on at Luminate Festival in Glasgow with our grandparent pieces. Last year I saw Pete Lannon perform with his dad at Buzzcut, there was Dad Dancing at BAC and I worked with Rosana and Amy Cade on their work – Sista. I guess the big challenge is to use that personal stuff to create for people outside of the family – less therapy, more expression! With TotD my dad started the whole thing, it was his gift of the helmet I wear in the show that got me thinking about the protective and isolating aspects of manliness and male relationships. I walked about the high street with it on and felt safe and alone at the same time. What interests me is the cultural stuff around family we have in the UK. My Portuguese and Argentinian pals were talking about family life, and how it’s a very UK thing for people to leave home so early, for uni and so on. I think the dark spaces in UK families are instinctively attractive areas for artists to delve in to.
Playing this out in public will of course attract a secondary audience of passers-by. How important is this secondary audience?
All the landscape is our pitch and all its users are part of the fixture – be they fans, team mates or even opposition. During practices and proper runs coach and I have accumulated numerous extra players of all ages that have just got stuck in. We are ready for all who want to join and whatever they want to contribute becomes part of the thing. Of course there are those who notice nothing and become beautiful parts of the picture, whilst others amuse with bewildered looks. I always get a nice buzz from a good pop as I high five a dog walker or on hearing friendly toots from passing car horns. Workmen in trucks tend to be the most animated, often shouting what I can only assume is encouragement from behind their large steering wheels.