Starting Blocks week 3

Cape Theatre and Caretaker Ministry spoke to us about how they’ve been getting on in the rehearsal rooms, ahead of the Starting Blocks showcase on 29 March.

Cape Theatre will be presenting We choose to go to the moon as part of the Starting Blocks showcase on 29 March. Their show is described as “Two performers strive for perfection. How do they make an audience fall in love with them, the way John F Kennedy was once loved?” Here are Reena Kalsi and Cassie Leon on what they’ve been up to as our Starting Blocks development scheme approaches its half-way stage.


This week we have been making our way through The Charisma Effect by Andrew Leigh, the charisma guru, understanding how to make ourselves more charismatic, if possible!

We have decided on seven ‘Charisma Effect behaviours’: Fluency; Confidence; Presence; Authenticity; Courage; Passion; and Demeanour.

We’ve given each other marks on each one of them – let’s not discuss the scores! We have been watching each other being charismatic in the space, which has been very funny at times!

We have been thinking of different people that we feel are charismatic, but also asking people what they believe charisma is – as we’re aware it is totally subjective. Answers from different people have been very interesting and we are hoping to use them in the performance.

We have also been continuing our research into JFK and have decided on the four main events/moments of his life that show off his true charisma, which we now want to start breaking down in rehearsals.

Our breakthrough this week is that we now know the performance is going to be an experiment. An experiment to see whether – after reading the book, gathering all of our research about charisma and using JFK as our case study – will we be able to become charismatic in an hour’s performance?


Matt and Rui from Caretaker Ministry have also been working on their project Paradis Fiscal. “Join us (well don’t quite join us) as we set off for a new world. A better world. A paradise. We’ve made it. We wish you were here.Here’s how their week has  been:

While developing a non-violent, non-hierarchical, non-linear art-making process, it might seem like a strange choice to present your first piece of co-produced work on a programme called ‘Starting Blocks’. It also might seem like a strange choice for a pair of young performance-makers to accept an unpaid opportunity in central London when neither of them live or have jobs in the capital. But we decided to give it a go, and we’re glad we did.

We would not like you to think of us as greased athletes, champing at the bit in prime Sprint position, ready to give the performance of a lifetime. We would like you to think of us as two confused, overeducated leftists with a bag of ideas and the beginnings of a toolkit for realising them.

We called ourselves caretakers because we’re building a praxis based on care. A caretaker ministry is also an interregnum, a breach, a queer interruption in the norm. We want to take seriously the micro-politics of resistance that we see all around us in contemporary culture. We want to manifest in our lives and in our emerging practice the radical potential of care: for ourselves, for each other, and for the people, places and systems we interact with.

If you see our work on 29th March, you’ll see a node in a network, a point on a journey. Other points on this journey have seen us carrying a papier-mâché giraffe through the streets of South London for the #MarchForHomes; we’ve talked to academics in Berlin and King’s College London; we’ve learned about Non-Violent Communication; we’ve made poems, durational performances, a piece of film. But most important for us have been the connections we’ve forged with other artists on Starting Blocks. If we’re serious about resistance, about finding and championing alternatives to neoliberalism, we have a lot of work to do here: live art is certainly not immune, and sometimes even particularly susceptible, to patterns of solipsism, competition, and privatisation that are invading ever more intimate areas of our lives. We don’t have any solutions to these things, but we think taking a bit more care, collectively, might be a start.