Hannah McDougall talks with Beth Sometimes about her exciting and almost treacherous journey as ‘The Blind Sailor’, featured in The Waterfront Series of The Performance Arcade 2013.

blind sailor

What does your performance involve?

I’ll be rolling around with a couple of different ‘roving’ performances kind of loosely labelled “the blind sailor” – that’ll be me, blindly navigating the waterfront…on roller-skates. Just making my way around really. There’s no one else in my boat as such although we’re all in the same boat too. I’ll be performing thrice daily, eleven, two and nine for as long as each journey takes. 

What is the nature of the relationship to the audience? How do they engage? 

The audience can be the wind, or friends. They get to hold my hand if they like. It’s an invitation to help out a fellow traveller. It could become very awkward if they choose not to, but I’m sort of into that too. It might be like the feeling of nervously waiting for something to happen. Just standing there like a total dork.

What is it like to be in the audience’s position in this situation?

Invited to be part of a performance? Well sometimes I love it and sometimes it just feels disingenuous. It’s kind of an intuitive feeling or a hunch that provokes one’s ability to engage aye. And that is a lot to do with what the performer is radiating. And I don’t think that’s necessarily about utter conviction or any well thought-out scheme but more about a lurking confidence or acceptance of ones vulnerability – which is what I’m trying to get into here. 

How do you prepare for a performance like this?

Right now I’m sewing costumes – kind of an inside out (outside in?) way of going about it. 

What are you hoping to get out of the Arcade? 

Ummm. I’m hoping what I’m trying to do adds a flavour that I like to the thing. It’s been great to meet other artists interested in this kind of forum and making work that is going to be out in public as such, and straddling some interesting borders of art-land. It’s cool when freaky ideas get to be real! 

The Blind Sailor will be performed from the 14th – 17th February, at 11am, 2pm, & 9pm, in and around The Performance Arcade on Wellington’s waterfront, behind Te Papa (Waitangi Stream Promenade).



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