Alex Napier of Guns asks Stay Here Don’t Go‘s Alicia Grant about her big balls, sweaty dance moves, Zen meditations and rock star ambitions…

Alex Napier: You talk about Stay Here, Don’t Go as being fueled by a willingness to be uncomfortable, and yet there is a tremendous amount of pleasure in even your show blurb (haha, ‘blurb’). Can you talk about the role discomfort plays in your process for this work?

Alicia Grant: I often feel uncomfortable when I dive deep and stop hiding from things. It feels vulnerable. It’s staring at all of my neuroses, insecurities and self-judgments. Discomfort in this process has been pushing things further than we want to go. Endurance. We keep going when we’re tired, keep making jokes even if they’re lame and we keep digging through the memories we wished we’d forgotten for good. The next part of the process is showing people this! Ahh! It’s like showing our period underwear to the audience. 

AN: Your title is an imperative: who are you talking to?

AG: I’m talking to myself. And I’m talking to my collaborator. And I’m talking to the audience. Mostly it’s that Zenbuddhayogameditationzazen thing of staying present to the people and circumstances around me as they transform and not wishing for something else.

AN: Who are you working with on this piece & how are you working with them?

AG: I’m working with Andrea Spaziani on this piece. She is a dear friend, and we have been dancing and laughing together for a long time. She has really good jokes.  We start each rehearsal with a 45-minute dynamic meditation technique that I read about in a book by Osho, the controversial Indian mystic. It’s pretty cathartic. We clear ourselves of our blocks and judgments and then we dive in. We talk about our feelings, our messiness, the history of all time and outer space. We’ve been working from the inside out and it’s been pretty scary. It’s been a lot about trust – trust in each other, trust in our bodies, trust in ourselves. We’ve discovered things like: emotional osmosis, bravery, boundaries of self-generated bullshit, infinity points and adult allergies. WHOA!

Andrea Spaziani and Alicia Grant at the opening night of Rhubarb

AN: What is music? Is music an important part of your practice?

AG: Music is the combinations of rhythm and sounds that make me want to put my hands up, make me want to get down low, make my eyes brim with tears and make my heart swell with nostalgia. I tried to get some music-crushes to work with me on this project. But timing didn’t allow it. So I was left with some headbanging and an ipod. Which is as true to my real life as it gets.

I like to listen to music really loud and dance really hard.  To remind myself about the joy of dancing, I committed to go out dancing each week for the month of January.  My friends Norah Franklin, Chelsea Omel and Laura Merdsoy joined me. I then remembered what it’s like to love that beat, lose my shit and practice that feeling of being uncomfortable when I feel dumb, feel like I’m too much or when I feel like my moves aren’t so hot.

AN: What will it look like when you achieve your rock-star ambitions?

AG: Probably pretty sweaty with some heavy breathing. If I had balls, it would be a “balls to the wall” kind of thing.