Daniel Oliver muses in a neurodivergent way about the making of 'Dadderrs' and about writing this blog...
Frauke and I have taken a neurodivergent approach to making this show. In this case, by neurodivergent I mean an impulsive ADHD (Frauke) and a clumsy dyspraxic (Daniel) approach. Of course, we’ve taken a neurodivergent approach to all our shows and everything else, too. We are neurodivergent and that’s how that works. I feel I’m already taking a neurodivergent approach to the beginning of this blog – drawn into an undisciplined digression that’s been opened up by the disorganisation of my thoughts. By now I should already be on what they like to call “what is it about?” or “how did you make it?”. Instead I’m stuck in meta musings about how what I’m writing here exemplifies the processes, structures and contents of our show. I think that’s where we’ve got to with Dadderrs now – we started in a jaunty, autobiographical, issue-based show about what it’s like to be neurodivergent parents who are also neurodivergent artists who are also neurodivergent lovers and now it has ended being about a thing or a place or way of being that we call the Meadowdome or the Meadowdrome (we haven’t decided). This Meadowd(r)ome is a digression from our autobiographical, issue-based starting point, but it also has some fidelity to it.
Talking fidelity, a question that we have returned to throughout the making this show has been “what, for us, is allowed in an ‘art context’” – by ‘art context’ we mean the sort of ambiguous free zone you step into when you make, do, or partake in art. We wanted to have a live unscripted conversation in the show where we ask each other what we would be ok with each other doing, so long as it’s in an art context. We planned on describing increasingly sordid (and unlikely) scenarios which, outside of the ‘art context’ would be obvious examples of infidelity (“ok… so what if I’m in a performance workshop and there’s a vigorous lip interaction exercise that me and one other person just aren’t getting right so we are asked to keep working on it on our own over the break… is that alright… so long as it’s in an art context?… oh yeah and it’s a naked scene…). We decided not to do that. The risk of simultaneously really hurting ourselves whilst revealing how boringly hetero-monogamous our relationship really is was too high. Having said that, if you’re into oversharing, risk-taking, and explicit insights (and explicit sights) we think we still have plenty for you.
Anyhow, to get back to being clear about what’s going on here … there is this place called the Meadowd(r)ome that we’ve made up and in that Meadowd(r)ome there is Frauke who is diagnosed with ADHD and real quick and her husband Daniel who is dyspraxic and quite slow and there are their kids who aren’t there because this is a grown up place to do grown things... and there is the chunktrot – a symbiotic creature that likes to festerskate amongst the glibplinths and there’s a dance about all that and a song about all that and we can all dance that dance and sing that song together … or not if joining in is not your thing. Sometimes joining in is not our thing either, but we do it anyway.
For more on dyspraxia, neurodiversity, and performance collaboration, see:
Ferris, Luke and Daniel Oliver, ‘Dyspraxic Collaboration’, Contemporary Theatre Review: Interventions, Issue 27.2 (June 2017).