By Kerstin Hall
Lexi Meier is a first year Masters student in the Drama Department of Rhodes University. Her choreography piece “Sipping Lapping Slap” will be performed by Kyle Prinsloo and Lea Vivier at the upcoming Theatre in Motion extravaganza on the 22 October. Kerstin Hall caught up with her to discuss small towns, plans, art and swimming naked.
How old are you?
I’m twenty-two, still twenty-two.
Where do you come from?
I come from Hartbeespoort Dam, in Gauteng. It’s between Rustenburg, Pretoria and Joburg… in the middle of nowhere. So from one small town to another.
You’re currently in Drama Masters, how’s it going?
It’s tough. But it’s good as well. I think it requires one to… well, all the armour cracks off. You have to look something in the face that you’re not used to looking at. That’s quite hard, but it’s also very good and you end up producing stuff you would never have produced if you weren’t so desperate, or pushed. You find places you didn’t know existed.
Drama at Rhodes, is it special? If so, why?
That’s quite an interesting question. In November last year, I went to UCT with Ilke Lowe for her Masters production and we worked with two UCT drama students. Because it was a process-based thing, it was a devised work similar to what we do here, that was very easy for me. That’s the way we work here; there is an emphasis on the process – how you got there is just as important as the end product. The UCT girls were struggling with that a lot. Rhodes pushes the process based stuff and that really gives you space to explore, so you don’t get stuck in one way of producing art. It’s really wonderful.
What influences your art in general?
Surrealism. I have a fascination with the surreal and the strange.
This piece specifically, where did it come from?
Okay (sighs)… It came from an investigation of attachment, human attachment, so it’s quite a personal space. The use of elastics, they pull space in a very interesting way, they are like physical manifestations of lines in space. Which is so cool. They have dynamics; they slap and whip and stretch and there is tension in them, which has a metaphorical link to the idea of human connection with other people.
A lot of it I actually dreamed of (laughs), as usual. The headwrap thing came from a dream I had about a production that was happening on a beach. This black water, it looked like there were a million lights from a city shining on it, but everything behind it was dark. So it was this desolate beach and this woman was running naked, like fast, fast, fast over the waves and you could see the ripples expanding from her feet. People were chasing her and she was the mother of the king’s unborn child and these people were after her. It was just a flash of panic. They caught her and they cut off her head. Her head became the baby as it rolled.
I expected to see no head when I looked back at her, but all I saw was this bandaged thing, a mummified head with a cord coming out the back. The people dragged her back into the sea by this cord. So that’s where the motifs come from, I guess.
Plans for the future?
Well, I can tell you exciting things. This work is the beginning of an exploration for the final culmination of the Masters degree and it will hopefully be performed at Festival. So we’ll see how that works out with venues and logistics and stuff.
I’m also performing a work with Liezl de Kock, Piet se Optelgoed and we’ve just been to Cape Town’s Fringe Fest and then next year we’ll do Grahamstown Fest and then Amsterdam Fringe Fest.
How are you feeling about the upcoming Theatre in Motion, where your piece will be performed?
Feeling good. I’m excited about it. It’s finally at a place where I feel it’s going to work. There’s been a sufficient amount of panic and depression lately, but now it’s fine.
What do you do for fun?
Other than the boring Grahamstown answer of going out and losing yourself in a crowd of crazy humans? I love birds, I love orchids, I love walking. And finding wonderful places to swim naked. I like drawing, I like reading and I like writing. I like painting as well.
‘Sipping Lapping Slap’ will form part of Programme A of this year’s Theatre in Motion. Tickets cost R40 for the general public and R20 for students and are available at the Drama Department.