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Joe Lethbridge Journal Entry 2 - The Water Lover and Slow Change


Community Voice

  • Joe Lethbridge. 2019. Photo by Karly Boileau
    Joe Lethbridge. 2019. Photo by Karly Boileau

Joe Lethbridge | July 30, 2019

Recently I attended a Common Waters event at the BRIDGE storefront which was comprised of two performance pieces, The Water Lover by Patrick Allaby and Slow Change by Tess Martens.  While I have seen many performance art events before, nothing could prepare me not only to see and hear what I was about to, but to experience it wholly; mind, body and soul. 

Patrick spoke of his unquenchable thirst for water, something often seen as tasteless and odourless. A deep yearning for water, a yearning which led to his diagnosis with type one diabetes.  Through spoken word and his own illustrated cartoons he took us on his journey and always present Prince , through his music about a higher being .

Tess told her story of childhood, the routine of preparing for synchronized swimming and femininity.  Through five costume changes of swimsuits she wore from eight years old to sixteen years old , starting with the most recent .  After doffing her dress, she stood at the front of the audience, baring herself both physically and emotionally .  Scanning the audience and making eye contact. Would the audience look away ? Was she being judged ? 

As she sat up front, she repeated the routine of readying oneself for a synchronized swim event . 

Applying gelatin to her hair, lipstick,eyeliner, shadow and blush and danced up the aisle between the audience , dancing in eight count movement .

She did this for five costume changes, removing her makeup , applying new makeup and adding more gelatin to her hair. 

At the end of the performance she put on her dress, packed up her swimsuits and makeup to a duffel bag , disassembled her clothes rack and walked down the aisle and sat with the audience , saying nothing, and again looked audience members directly in the eye. 

I had no words . At first they wouldn't make it to my lips .  I tried holding back my tears but like a spring rain nourishing the earth, they came and I welcomed them . 

Thank you Patrick and Tess, not only for an amazing performance but such an experience. 

June 29, 2019