Sarah Hopfinger’s Pain and I is an incredible piece, accessible to all, as it’s both a live dance performance and online auditory piece.
Hopfinger’s audio piece, featuring gorgeous string arrangements from Alicia Jane Turner, is at once personal tone poem and mantra.
Charting her long struggle with neurological pain and back pain, Hopfinger’s words are initially welcoming and soothing, turning to staccato and jarring, emulating twinges of pain. In this, pain is regarded as a secondary character. Hopfinger says she is “in companionship with pain”. How she navigates this is the core of the piece.
She interrogates “the stiffening and shrinking of my workd’, delving into not just the complexity of a body which will not do what it’s supposed to, but the reactions of others (friends, family, partners) whether supportive or squeamish.
As a critic recently diagnosed with severe osteoarthritis I related to this in many ways. It’s intelligent and vulnerable ; fragile and visceral , dealing with the vagaries of lived experience.
Hopfinger’s words are not self- pitying, but have weight and nuance: simply a defiant, strong and lucid story of resilience and survival: a “space for the unhealed” to take up room and be fully present. It’s beautiful, raw, honest and, ultimately, hopeful.
Main photo by Brian Hartley
See the show live at Summerhall until August 28th.