In more recent years I have started using film to animate my installations. The film brings together my sculpture, environment and the text of the installation.
Performance for film – 2009 ‘Ground Bound’
‘Ground Bound’ is a performance piece exploring my struggle during the transition from aerial to ground-based artist.
I choose to wear no costume to illustrate emotional vulnerability and to emphasize the contrast between the colourful Skinning The Cat performances and this raw emotional piece. In editing the footage we used my figure as a translucent form and layers of shadows.
Collaboration by artist Becky Truman with filmmaker Jean McEwan, co-direction by Deborah Sanderson with music by Ian Tothill.
For Groundbound, the sculpture was crouching in the corner, the glass in its backlit from the inside and the film was projected as a full wall-sized image which dominated the small dark room.
As if all the life and energy has been drained out of me, all hope, all courage. As if I am empty and having to start again. As if all my personality and strength has left me as if there is something terribly wrong and I will never be safe again. As if my body has been invaded by fear in a physical form which creeps into all my joints like a thick black fog causing pain and discomfort in every part of me and as if someone has plugged electrical currents in and left them running through my body so I can never find peace.
Film – ‘Pre-show’ 2010
Film – ‘Pre-show’ 2010 is bright, colourful and full of circus imagery, combined with archive footage of my Firebird act.
I attempt to evoke the feeling of preparing for a show, the mental and physical preparation which changed me from Becky into Firebird.
Collaboration by artist Becky Truman with film maker Jean McEwan; music by Carl Stipetic, Helen Fonshaw and Rizzy.
For Pre-show, I created the interior of my caravan as it was when I prepared for a show. I filled it with the pictures, ornaments, text, costumes and makeup from that time. The mirror where I sat to do my stage make up became the screen on which I showed the film.
Waiting in the wings, I pace up and down. I wear my voluminous black velvet cloak with its red sparkly lining. It is edged with purple and red cockerel feathers and trails along the ground behind me. I discard it at the bottom of the rope like an unnecessary skin. As I wait, I work through my routine in my mind, feeling it in my body at the same time, I constantly put my resin sock into my already sticky and sweating palms. It is a wonderful feeling of fear and excitement – this time before a show, crucial for changing head space from chatting in the green room to becoming ‘Firebird’.
Show- ‘Rubicon’ 2002 ‘To pass a point of no return’ The most experimental Skinning The Cat show (largely thanks to being Arts Council Funded for the first time!) taking aerial skills to a dimension beyond the trapeze, using a flying bicycle, bungees and straps on an electric winch. The story of this show came originally from a clown Becky met in Sarasota who told me about his act about releasing a small bird from a cage. The costumes in this show are more extravagant as working more experimentally allowed. ‘I use more extreme characters and make my own interpretation of the fairground freak show. ‘ Becky
A Skinning the Cat production, Artistic Director Becky Truman, music by Carl Stipetic, Helen Forshow and Rizzy. video by …
‘Warrior Princesses’ 2001
‘Warrior Princesses’ 2001 A doubles trapeze act performed by Becky Truman and Rachel Hyde in Circus of the Streets. Using warrior style movements and the look of Zena warrior princess, this was our most commercial act.
A Skinning the Cat production, Artistic Director Becky Truman, Music by Helen Fanshaw and Rizzy.
‘Chameleon’ 1992-95, performed on the triple arched rig, this was Skinning the Cats first show with a full narrative. There is one special costume from our early show ‘Chameleon’ which has been chosen by the Victoria and Albert museum in London to represent modern circus in their performing art collection. The costume itself is the chameleon. It is one of a pair of costumes made for the doubles trapeze. Its partner is a bird. The story was about a woman who, while shopping in a supermarket, found that her trolley was magic. It danced around the stage and bizarre creatures sprang out of it, performing acrobatics around her. The shopping trolley flys into the air – growing wings and flashing lights and taking the woman with it. The show was about escaping mundanity. The chameleon symbolised change.
A Skinning the Cat production, artistic director Becky Truman, music by Carl Stipetic.