It’s no secret… I am a new work enthusiast. There is little that excites me about re-invented classics or perfectly preserved museum pieces. I want to see, read and experience the very edge of artistic possibility. I want to be moved and shaken. I want to be awakened to a bright and difficult reality or compassion. I want to be surprised and delight and transfixed. I want to surrender to staring. I don’t really mind if it’s rough and its ready, as long as it’s new.

I feel like that about text based theatre.

I feel like that about music.

I feel like that about visual art.

I don’t want some re-hashed homage to something else, or someone else from another time.

I want to see something I haven’t seen before.

But there is a problem with this – is that the more you see – the harder that is to find. It is as beautifully problematic as an epistemological pursuit – and as never ending as Sisyphus’ unrelenting task. The new is then found in the timing of engagement. Also in the context. Also in the place/space. An old idea presented in a new space, by a new person, at a different time – perhaps. The art therefore is the curation of the new work – the framing – the presentation.

It was 2009 when my eye first strayed upon the curatorial generosity of Katy Green’s collective, Stage Juice with their show, Into the Shadows. Since then a series of developments, productions and even a tour has resulted in an impressive body of work. Freshly Squeezed is a Stage Juice initiative which provides a platform for artists to explore working methodologies and ideas, performance styles and genres in a safe and supported, non-competitive environment. The resulting show is a showcase of those partnerships. A brilliant opportunity for any performance maker – dancer – video artist – sound designer – puppeteer – performer.

there’s a smell in the air. It’s the smell of smoke. It’s not long before the fire is found – nestled and nurtured in a bathtub like a baby by a woman in PACT’s courtyard. She is gently offering scraps of paper and torn cardboard to the flames. The flames are licking at a wire grill on which cobs of corn are scorched and heated.

Three people dressed in reams of paper offering us freshly roasted corn cobs. I take a cob and balance it between my burden of jacket and program and bag. Their dresses look very flammable We are invited to tear a piece off, write something to a loved one who has died, and keep it until further notice. I write “thanks” on my piece and tuck it inside my pocket, and await instruction.

We stand like friends at a funeral, or nervous race horses, or weary librarians – rubbing our eyes, chatting, or silent: you know, the usual pre-show waiting. Now, with tattered dresses the performers ask us to huddle around the tub – and offer the paper to the fire. We are silent. This all seems serious. But it’s a bit silly. Should I really be eating corn when I am thinking about my dearly departed? I laugh. No one else does. Oh well.

We are lead into the theatre by lanterns held by the paper-dressed folk. In the foyer white plinths present audio offerings from Nick Atkins Msgs From Somewhere Between A & B gentle musings and confessions confront feelings of being displaced or differently placed in the world – away from loved ones. There is something very intimate about the act of donning headphones. I am trapped in the world of someone’s voice – a voice without body in space or reference. My eyes flick around to see the others with headphones. Frowns of concentration in a ring around the foyer. I smile.

Walking through the double doors into a space filled with shards of light and free floating banners. I love this world we are walking into – corridors of space, half translucent cloth, light that shift and strikes. This set by one of my favourite designers Paul Matthews houses nine works on the theme of Smoke.

This is hybrid arts – bits and pieces stolen from multiple practices. Ideas, rituals, themes, techniques mixed up together in a lab with the “what if” principle firmly set as the focus. There is much dance, much is not text based. Some has text. Hands and feet flick out from behind curtains – a dancer’s body is divided and segmented by black curtains untila reveal. We see an awkward date with clownish coloured water. A bathtub full of wheat and oranges. A blurt that feel s like a beat poem – with force and friction and rhythm – explains physics, chemistry and revolution. Three people walk on crumpled paper – a brown dress – a gibberish version of My Favourite Things. Jars of illuminated something – a chess game of sorts. A piece about fear of collapsing or being collapsed as a woman chases/is chased by a torch.

It’s the curation I’m curious about. And I think it over and over in my mind.

It is the most valuable of skills and artistic arrangement – which is often ignored – easy to notice and examine the performers. But It is how the night is presented to us, the audience as a suite of works that I think is really interesting. A huge feat. Not an easy task. Katy Green’s vision is one of epic ambition – with curiosity at the core. She invites us into a suite of works – that by all accounts are intended to be showings – but this reads as a grand full scale production.

It looks finished. It feel finished.

As such I receive, read and judge them as such.

It’s a tricky thing with Hybrid art – how to you show a work in progress when design is such a huge part of the idea? Design is needed and necessary – and is deceptive. It then becomes the challenge about how to teach the audience to read a hybrid work in development.

I really enjoyed the works. I really honestly did.

On the whole, some fascinating images, interesting moments and surprising comments – I will definitely be awaiting the next Stagejuice installment.

But there are a few things I wished for:

I wished that there was more pleasure in the transitions between pieces – and that the riot after the 8th piece was more confident. More direct in it’s chaos. I wished for all transitions to be choreographed confidently – more time and space (and tech rehearsal may help).

I wished that some of the ideas in the works felt more dangerous. By more dangerous I mean utterly personal. A reaching from within to offer outwardly. It felt like much of it was found from the outside – which is fine – but it’s one thing to look at the leaves of a tree – and another thing to reveal and untangle it’s roots. It’s it’s roots I was after. I want something to be uncovered from the artists that changes the way I think.

I wished I felt that they were confident enough to fail.

I want to see more. I want to see the next stage. I want more juice. I demand more!