Starting again has an interesting connotation. A chance to reevaluate, or remember what it was that made you want to do something in the first place and somewhere along the line you steer off course. Maybe you take the ‘crooked path’. Starting over may feel like you have failed at something and if anything should be taken away from our work with Scott, Neil and Simon and all the people we have spoken to who have collaborated with these guys is that there is nothing wrong in failing. Not trying is the problem, not testing things out may be the problem!

The cooked path is something we have hit on this week, it looks at the alternative journey that you take knowing that you want to get somewhere but maybe there are other directions, more interesting ones than if you just headed straight there because you think that is where you need to go.
At 42 years of age I would certainly say that my path has been crooked. When I look at my younger MA students I see myself 20 years ago. I see their creative spark, their thirst for knowledge and their yearning for an intellectual and inspired grasp on the world and an imaginative and groundbreaking way to tell their story. I know I still have that.
Trying to get my head around some of the aspects of this and what daunts me the most, I know I’m trying and I know I’m getting things wrong. I don’t know if I look right when I’m presenting my ideas and I have the age old concerns of looking fat and clumsy . But I’m normal, my doubts are natural. I think I hide them better with age or can shake them off abit quicker and try not to dwell on them for too long. The doubts still nag me. The critic, the voice in your head as Simon quite eloquently calls ‘the little fucker’likes to stick his ore in. The other voice being the witness and allowing you to take stock of what you do well and where you need to start over and re-evaluate your thinking or your methods.

This week has all been a build up to preparing us to work on the advanced part of the module. How projects get made.
Key points that came up are the simple starting points. Having the moments of clarity and realising that not all the stuff is there at the beginning. Taking us back to the crooked path again.
I remember some of my early work with my youth theatre and the drive and impetus I had to take a show to Edinburgh with them. They came from the simplistic ideas. And in some ways they worked and the show was, what it was at the time. There were some fabulous moments we achieved and the experience of taking that show and organising the event in itself was huge. I certainly know now however that I would approach these things in a different way. The initial spark however is still the same, but how I would explore that spark and ideas would be different. Exploring the possibilities in a style that has given me again the desire to create better, more meaningful pieces of theatre. Something that all involved feel they have an investment in.

Before we got our brief on Tuesday afternoon we played with more exercises that worked us as a group. Quad as a counting exercise which started to fuck with my head as I struggled with the beats and jumps and the whole multitasking thing. Something I get frustrated at but know I need to practise so that my brain can switch into the right mode. We looked at lifts and making people fly and played with the strops. A task that got us using straps so we could pull our partners and see what happened when you try something different. It can play about with the dimensions of the body make it stand or move in strange ways. How might this work in apiece? Frantic have used them in a couple of pieces to great effect. Creating characters that stand at odd angle on a set ‘The Believers’when they wanted the audience to get their sense of being out of kilter in the world because of the events that have turned their world on its side.
The crooked path is one that encourages you to try out these different approaches as the result may be one that yields more riches than if you try to get out all your ideas at once.
I think I do like to explore my ideas and I hope to think that I am a generous collaborator. In this sense there will be lots of space to generate ideas. I think during this process that I can be the one to steer things along too.

A task that we did was to look at how the process of putting a play together should/could be mapped out.
It was pointed out at the end of that task, that this was the first time that all of us has had the opportunity to work all together and how frustrated some of us got. I felt that I was one of those that did get frustrated I stood back for a while and as it seemed so obvious to me the order in which I would do things. But of course the operative word was I. However this wasn’t why I got frustrated. It was clear, apparent that there was a definitive beginning and end to the structure and there just seemed to be so much talking. Practically I just needed to say we know what the start and end of the process is can we move on to the middle. I got a chance to go through how I would structure it and I felt confident that this was right. However I could see the way that others worked was equally practical. This is the crooked path even there. As the only thing that really seem solid is the start and end… how you get there can be any route, development will happen. Some ways will need more direction though, so this falls back to the point that was made that in the collaborative process there will still be a hierarchy, it would be necessary. I was prepared to jump in and go through my process really quite quickly. I think the group could have talked and moved bits of paper, talking about the benefit of putting one action over the other for more time. And time once rehearsals begin will be very valuable.
It was very illuminating to hear how others structured the process, and I liked the thought Nicola put out there and very generously said how she knew her answer, but she didn’t know others and that she wanted to see how others minds worked because that was fascinating. Watching us work in that group also alerted her to people that she wouldn’t want to work with.
And so a little mantra that might work for a successful collaborators is to be Generous unto others
Sensitive as we are all fragile
Respecting others as we deserve respect
Resprocity breeds resprocity….
And here Endeth the lesson …

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