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Lets Play.

THANK YOU for accepting the invitation to play!

A little context.

I'm currently pursuing a Masters at the University of Glasgow in Theatre Studies. A huge component of the course is Independent Practice, essentially the idea that we will all be generating and developing our own work outside of the coursework for the entire year, culminating in the development and presentation of a large practice-as-research project.

I've been struggling with how to use this part of the programme, because I am not now and have not ever been the kind of artist who goes into a room by myself and emerges with much of anything - all of my understanding of how to work creatively in the theatre is collaborative. So, I've decided to funnel that into my IP.

Right now, the two main questions I am playing with and unpacking are:

  1. how does collaboration with absent and/or long-distance partners open up new ways of thinking about how I can generate work?

  2. what does it mean to stage an absence? how can I play with a present absence onstage?

I've been working on a physical score that plays with a present absence - and now I am ready to start adding some language in. I've picked Sappho's fragments as a starting point because the absence is captured in the text - or at least, in the elisions.

The task.

Below are three of Anne Carson's translations of Sappho.

  1. Pick one. 

  2. Read it to yourself. (Check below for Anne Carson's note on the brackets...)

  3. Play around with it. Read it, riff on it, compose a song based on it - the parameters of how you play are up to you!

  4. Send me an audio recording of what you've done. Probably easiest way is to just email me a file to

Then it is my turn. I'll take what I get back into the room with me and see how it informs/plays with/problematizes/inspires what I am doing.

I'll share back what I find.


I'll start compiling and playing as soon as I have anything back, so if possible to send by Nov 10 that's great.

That said, the project is on-going, so if you want more time with Sappho, feel free!

Anne Carson's thoughts "On Marks and Lacks"


"When translating texts read from papyri, I have used a single square bracket to give an impression of missing matter, so that ] or [ indicates destroyed papyrus of the presence of letters not quite legible somewhere in the line. ... Brackets are an aesthetic gesture towards a papyrological event rather than an accurate record of it. ... Brackets are exciting. Even though you are approaching Sappho in translation, that is no reason you should miss the drama of trying to read a papyrus torn in half or riddled with holes or smaller than a postage stamp -- brackets imply a free space of imaginal adventure." (xi)

Sappho, and Anne Carson. If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. Print.

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