A Mile In someone else’s shoes… how many steps have I taken?

I don’t think I have made any ground breaking steps and I possibly sure that for every step I have made forward with this project I am maybe taking three steps back however even little fairy steps are better than no steps at all.

I managed last Friday to talk to my lady who had a close connection with the shopkeeper who unfortunately passed before I could engage him in this project. This highlighted for me the vulnerability of the topic and the fragility of the nature of my course of enquiry. Time is very much of the essence when the shops and those that run them are of a certain age, the fact that they have managed a business for so many years is a tribute to them. I think even more so in the economic climate that we find ourselves in when the town High Street is in decline in many local areas.

When I asked my lady if he had many customers, she told me hardly any. Having been friend with Cyril the Squirrel since around 2008 she has been a constant companion to him in his gift shop. Watching the world go by and having a good laugh, usually at unsuspecting passers by from the confines of the shop window.

Their first dialogue opened with my lady telling Cyril “ You must have been a copper in a previous life!” As he watched her like a hawk on the afternoon she happened to come across his shop.

His response was “ You must’ve been a witch and would she like some batteries for her broomstick?” He watched her leave and asked if he would see her again, she told him “don’t look at what you can’t afford.” With that a friendship was forged. My lady was a constant visitor to the shop.

My lady has a fantastic memory of the town, born and bred here she is one of those characters who is ingrained within the community. I didn’t pry into her personal history I knew from her open and frank nature she is someone who has had hard times and relies on food banks and local community groups that provide breakfast. A petit lady she comes as someone who can stick up for herself and her friends and Cyril was one of them.

She spoke to Cyril during our conversation, turning sideways as if he maybe sitting on her shoulder. I asked her if he had a regular routine with opening the shop, she candidly replied “did he bollocks!” She went on to tell me how she would always check on the shop for him on a Sunday as she passed through town to ensure no windows had been smashed by Saturday night revellers and once discovered he’d opened the shop on a Sunday. This was as she revealed the early indications of a man with Dementia. At 81 years old he still got up and carried on with the business. I asked her why hw hadn’t retired and she replied as if mimicking him “What else am I going to do, sit at home and vegetate!”

He may not have had the most regular of opening hours as he got older, but my lady informed me that he always had lunch at 12.30

Fond of a Haslet and pickle roll or perhaps cheese and bunion as she animatedly informed me, another of their little in jokes. Or often they would drive to Marks And Spencer’s on the way home and he would enjoy the little sherry trifles and beef and Stilton pie from there.

When asked to describe her relationship she simply said “total insanity” and we paused for a minute and I saw the great sadness in her eyes. It has only been a couple of months since his passing and I could see the huge hole it had left in her life.

She carries around a picture of him, Cyril, a young police cadets in 1957-a fine figure of a man who went on to be a police officer in the town until 1973. That was when he opened his shop. His wife Pam, the only love of his life had looked after her parents toy shop and when they passed Pam and Cyril ran the gift shop but had taken on all the stock from the other shops run by Pams parents.

Cyril and been interested in high end gifts and porcelain over the years it had included dolls and toys and even children’s clothes remnants of stock left behind. He hadn’t bought any stock in years but my lady assured me he would also bring things from his garage. When I asked about the sheers amount of stuff she said “I’ll tell you a story”

Back in 1983 a couple had come into the shop looking for a cuckoo clock Cyril liked to go out of his way for people and ordered a cuckoo clock, but of course this was in the day before Amazon and EBay, Cyril couldn’t order just one clock he had to order 6 so thinking it would be a good investment he got the clock, sold the one and was left with the five as dust collectors. He may have sold one other and my lady was given another one, however she has never heard it working “the destruction booklet”was all in Chinese and Cyril couldn’t recall how he’d managed to get the original up and running as it was so long ago.

Just as my lady saw the copper in him, he prided himself on being a vigilant shopkeeper, it was sad to hear the story of a distraction theft that happened in his store some six years before. He had sold a foreign couple in the store a beanie babie for their child who was with them, a young boy. It was a pound and they paid with a twenty pound note. The woman then asked to see something off of the top shelf while the father and son remained at the counter, when he had fetched the item down the lady said it wasn’t what she  was looking for and they left. He knew the minute they went something was wrong and headed back behind the counter. The tin in which he kept the paper money was gone and the precious coins he kept in the tin too. He took off in his car, locking the shop in order to find them. My lady spotted him in his car and he pulled over to tell her “ I’ve been had”. She said he wasn’t himself after that, that they had “ruffled his tree” he was quite embarrassed and didn’t want to report it to the police especially having been a copper. But the did and my lady told me they could paper the wall in letter from Lincolnshire police telling them how they have not successfully brought them to justice. Cyril’s shop not being the only ones hit that day.

My lady painted a full picture of this policeman come shop keeper, with a passion for brass bands and nothing he would like better than a night at the proms. They went to the theatre together last year to watch Christmas memories at the local arts centre and both joined in the singing, it’s on again this year but my lady doesn’t think she’ll go on her own.

One thing that strikes me now is the unique friendship that these two formed. Cyril left no children and his wife passed some years before, my lady now has Cyril’s cat Molly. The shop and Cyril gave my lady her routine and ritual in looking out for him and breaking up his day with her visits, she brought the outside world inside that shop. Cyril who couldn’t do anything else but be in the shop had someone to inject personality and life into a faded and worn shop that still retained an element of quality and dignity despite the dust and from the sound of it he looked after her too, the pair of them finding great comfort from the other’s company and humour. I know she will feel his loss greatly.

A Little Taster: MA Final Project

On Saturday afternoon a group of 6 people turned up for a taster session in physical Theatre as part of my Final Project for My MA in collaboration theatre making.

For me I did know all the participants in some way shape or form so they weren’t a complete group of unknown. For them the experience may have been slightly more daunting as they, for the most part had never engaged with this type of work before.

I was very pleased with the way they responded. Having participated in workshops like this I knew there would be challenges with fitness and working through the warmup. I encouraged everyone to be aware of their own body and what limitations it may present and that they were not in any competition. Drawing from my experience of being part of the Frantic Assembly workshops I knew that facilitating their comfort would draw hugely on creating the type of environment that would be conducive to allowing them to progress at their own pace.

For me it was a little strange being in a room with some of my peers letting them see the sort of thing that I do and am passionate about, it was also very relaxed, as the workshop moved on I found my comfort zone and we progressed quickly, it was good to see them having a go at something that was completely new to all of them bar one.

Many of the group were nearer my own age and the tasks that involved remembering sequences were a struggle for one or two of them. Having done this myself I was able to encourage them and show empathy in that they can all work to their own abilities. I reminded them to get their movements secure in there own head and not to worry where anyone else was.

By the time each group had worked on a sequence they were able to share with everyone else, we looked at the results of what they had created and added some direction so that I could allow the participants to see the very different narratives that evolved through sound and pace and focus.

The discussion at the end of the two hours was enlightening, my participants clearly saw that the movement tasks were given a whole new dimension when outside influences were changed, be it with the movement or the proximity of the participants. They were able to recognise the difficulty in trying to create the scenario they envisaged but discussed how interesting the movement was when manipulated into narrative where there had been no talk of this during the exercises.

All in all the taster session set up a good example of what to expect. There were six participants on that day although there were more that had said they were coming and didn’t make it. In an attempt to get material for my project I realise that the more numbers I have the better as I can expect at least half of those who say they are interested may not make it. So ideally 10 participants I need to be recruiting 20-30 people. So on with the task then.

 

Overcoming your optimism – Final Project MA Collaborative Theatre Making

Sometimes it feels as if the ideas are enough. That you have a vision that you can see through to create something wonderful.

Reality bites back hard, as if it wasn’t quite enough of a challenge to be doing a Masters in Collaborative Theatre making in a year, while holding down a full time teaching job, running a home and running after 3 children and still trying to think that you can get in a session at the gym. This week I have a pending taster session for potential participants for my research project. My husbands father is at deaths door and all I can think about is who’s going to have the kids for me tomorrow. Normally this would be where my mum could step in as she so often does for me but mum is away on a cruise … How dare she?

The  physical theatre taster event was posted in Facebook, utilising the power of social media, but this is where I realise my network isn’t that wide. I’ve targeted staff and students at my work thinking that this is a great opportunity, and realistically I remember that like me teachers have very little time to commit. I have an article going into the Grantham Journal today, enough maybe to snare some interest. I can only hope.

I try to remain optimistic, even though a potential candidate who offered me valuable start to some avenues of research never showed up to a meeting. A second attempt also proved to be fruitless. Do I pursue? There was a definite interest on her part, do I make up the excuses for her because like the rest of us we get busy and life presents obstacles. Maybe she had no credit on her phone to call me back? Is this where being optimistic can run rings around your sanity? One thing I do know for sure is that things will not go the way I want them to and oI may have some little moments of perfection where the timing seems to be right for me, being in the right place at the right time so to speak. I am beginning to think however there maybe more right places and wrong time scenarios waiting to present themselves.

MA 21 Professional Studies-Skills Audit Checklist

Provocationthis week: To conduct a skills audit checklist

Wow,  this was something I felt really uncomfortable doing. It reminded me of the questionnaires you used to fill out in ‘Smash hits’ or ‘Bella’  those trashy teenage magazines that pose trite terrible conundrums like ‘ What sort of person are you in a relationship?’ and then you would work out who you were from the answers you gave. I found a lot of the questions didn’t really relate to me at all. Anyway it turns out I can remain calm under pressure. Who knew?

Well I knew….Certainly in a working environment I have learned to roll with the punches like when you are an hour from curtain up and I’m filling the parts of three people who suddenly are unavailable to perform their roles or  when stage fright overcomes a performer mid flow and I take the helm. You never know what will happen and you certainly can’t always prepare. One thing I think I have learned from that is that panic does not help. Take the reins and try to keep the waggon rolling and hope no one notices the wheels have fell off, yes sometimes it can be a bumpy ride…

 

Working with others and taking responsibility were also a strength. This is something I offered a lot when working on the M20 module. I enjoyed the opportunity of being in a room with others and having tasks that fed into the development of the project. I really thrived in that environment and was at my happiest.

An area to develop and certain one I think I don’t like to admit is: planning and focusing on detail. Now I do and I don’t. I know what the plan should be and I start off with very organised and clear intentions. A little bit like starting a new book and writing in your best handwriting, the first few pages are great but by the end of the book the handwriting has gone to pot, you’ve stopped underlining and it no longer looks like the same person who started the book!

Reflecting on the last point, the skills audit picked up on my energy and drive and in terms of learning, a lesson I take in developing as a collaborator is that it’s about having the right motivation.  Certainly putting me in education and training categories as well as creative and planning events I know I can work at my best with the right people. I thrive in a creative environment and can check in on terms of fulfilling a brief when there is a team there to support each other. When looking at the projects I was involved in, I loved being a part of them all. I want to take this forward with me, knowing that I can support and can be supported. This makes for the most agreeable environment and at the end of the day we all want the same thing. To be doing something we enjoy! Another strong comment that came from the results of the audit. After all we all want to do a job we enjoy.

Embracing the Arty Farty

As a performer and director for many years I never feel more privileged than when working with young people. Engaging with young minds gives me purpose to create  and feed not only my imagination but also those around me. This certainly wasn’t the dream that made me go out and haul my backside through drama school. My family all thought I would be on coronation street but fate and the need, I hate to say it, to earn money turned me in a different direction. And thank goodness it did!

20 years on I have created a range of works, from musicals to Shakespeare. Usually veering towards devised and original works, as they can so often take you in a direction you never thought when the ideas were first conceived. Also creating your own work is liberating, not only creatively but in these ever increasing times of pinched funding, financially.

I have ventured with  impressionable youngsters to the Edinburgh Fringe and know that for some it made a significant impact on their lives that has never been forgotten. This is a goal I want achieve again, to show young people their abilities can be limitless when they open themselves to possibilities.

My vision now is the continuing pursuit of making theatre with young people. Giving them the tools to be able to try new ideas and not to be afraid to experiment with drama in its many forms. I want them to react to the world around them and the stories that can be told. I want those that collaborate with me to see that they can be unique and bold in their choices. I want them to rebel against the mundane and expected routes presented to our youth. There is a need to re connect with young people and present them with alternative ways to express themselves.

I want to be able to present audiences with something unexpected. Original work that shows ideas of what young minds can achieve. I love working with visual imagery and exploring movement. My early pieces leaned heavily on trying out these forms and as I move on I want to develop more work that  can embody a performers movements and gestures just as much as the dialogue when exploring the narrative of a piece.

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I take my inspiration from companies such as DV8, Frantic Assembly and I have a huge love of how mask companies such as Trestle and Vamos engage with their audience. Each have unique story telling concepts that challenge the audience to take notice.

It is important for me to continue developing as a director and performer myself and find my inspiration, in this way I think I have the tools to inspire others and to get them to look at the world with a new perspective. For me it is sometimes the simple thoughts that won’t go away are worth looking at to see if there is a piece of drama unfolding or certainly a chance to start a journey that may reveal a whole new  potential to create and devise work, often  spontaneous improvisation can yield a starting point and shows that we can truly create from anything.

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As a performer I never got as nervous before a performance as I do when allowing others to step in that role and perform a piece. I know it may scare them to death for a multitude of reasons. But I know that the hard work of getting them there reaps so many benefits. The confidence and skills they build, the ability to mentally and physically engage with work they have an active role in creating. Having ownership on your efforts and the journey you take to get there is something real and tangible and a gift that can be given again and again.

 

Reflections on my Artist Statement

If someone had asked me to write an artist statement 6 months ago I truly would be thinking “for who?”

My first attempt at this was during the introductory module with Frantic Assembly and it is something I had never done before. The idea that I’m an artist was ridiculous. I just do something I love, the only way I know how!

It is a unique feeling, being able to acknowledge what it is you do and a deeper recognition in seeing the value of your own self worth. For me I have had the validation that yes, I have been able to have a positive impact on young people interested in making theatre, or even just signing up for something they never really knew what they were getting into. You accept this as a huge positive as a teacher it doesn’t always happen, but in the arts when it is something you feel passionate about and you know how richer your life is for this medium. You have to share it.

In writing an artist statement you truly do share. You accept that this is a calling. And it sounds like an arty farty  thing to say. You get used to hearing these phrases bandied about because what you do doesn’t seem as important as maths and science and it’s ‘not a proper job!’ Well I see plenty of these proper jobs on the credits of a film or in the programme of a theatre production. These people who don’t do proper jobs, enlighten, amaze and engage millions, via a goggle  box at home or with those who do actively engage to spectate with live performance or visual art or the many forms that arty farty may take. It makes the world an interesting place and for me I realise I need to embrace that I am part of the movement for making the place more interesting. My artist statement shows I have grown in confidence. So I can truly begin to realise what I do and actually why I do it.

M21PA A New Purpose…

Back in March, enthused by the introductory module in collaborative theatre making, working along side Scott Graham and Simon Pitman in getting to grips with how a company like Frantic Assembly create work. I was keen to embrace this style of collaboration. It made sense to me. Even though I feel I have always been someone who copes on my own, taking on all the roles needed to bring forth a piece of drama. “Jack of all trades but master of none”. Ultimately I realise looking at how I do things I am never completely on my own. Like being able to do this course. It would and only ever could be possible with the support of those around me. As my family and I juggle work to make certain things happen, check schedules and organise who needs to drop off children and pick them up.

It’s important that I do give up some of the reigns when looking at creating work. Intuitively I have had a sense of others building on what tasks I have given and therefore a collaboration has taken place but having a purposeful collaborative. When I first wrote my proposal in response to the Duane Michaels picture

This was a real opportunity to have a response to something and have more than just my perspective. This was an opportunity to be able to develop my ideas with people who had very different skills sets and talents to mine.

The proposal was quite intimate in the response it wanted, questioning how we might engage with the stories that we saw unfold? What did it unearth in our life and what resonance did it have today? The Michals images were very raw for me, issues with my eldest child,  very real and emotional topics to draw on. Something I realised at the time but in collaborating with others I would take my experience and have further insight into what version of this event could be explored. Hindsight in not having my proposal gave me relief. It’s fresh and still topical. It may have been difficult for me. Although I am not one to shy away from difficulties.

What the process has done for me is to look at things in a way I may have not before. To see stories not just that are bound to me but to look outward for more inspiration.  Things I have been interested in but dismissed now are perhaps a source of an idea. Why does it interest me? Why does something get my attention? It could be the most insignificant thing.

I have new purpose, something for me that is battling the depression inside me, that tells me that I can do better and can find something that will help me fulfil an ambition to create something worthwhile with people who can develop their skills along the way.  I’m already thinking of what it is that can make work more dynamic and engaging. Graham told us he isn’t interested in there being lots of Frantic clones, but the idea that we can take a format, adapt and evolve. That’s a purpose. For me I have got busy with life and it has run me and now I have to run my life with a bit more purpose. The first step for me is not to do it on my own. And in looking forward it will be about finding out how I can bring together a group who can trust in each other and have the same values.

 

M21 Professional Studies- Qualities to Admire…

 

In the ever changing climate of theatre, artistes, companies, collectives work to make themselves sustainable and as any true creative there is more than just a  desire to make work and of course keep the ‘roof over your head’, there is an integrity that lies within that companies ethos.

Vamos theatre is a company whose work I have managed to see a couple of times and despite the lack of usual dialogue, performances have always moved me to tears.

The statement or mission from Vamos, although brief speaks volumes for this full mask theatre company.

Vamos is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation, founded by Rachel Savage it is made up of trustees with a collective legal, financial and artistic responsibilities whose ethos is about the “belief that wordless skills of our pioneering full mask company encourage empathy and understanding in all of us regardless of who we are”.

The company who have operated since 2006 offer so much more than just their touring performances. Yes they do the festivals and usual attractions that one might expect and it’s not unusual now for companies to offer their skills for educational and outreach programmes. These make for a good sound business and tick the boxes that can allow them to create new work. The work they do however is ” rooted in social research”.  Very much following Savages vision to bring the human story through the masks.

Vamos have been working in the care sector since developing ‘Finding Joy’ in 2013,their award winning production about dementia. A browse through their web page tells you over 25000 people have experienced their health and care workshops and performances.

http://www.puppetcentre.org.uk/animations-online/features/silent-speech-rachael-savage/

This company are clearly successful because of the engaging theatre that full mask work brings and the way that Vamos connects to the audience through the characters storytelling. These stories have been researched with care and explore the complexities of human relationships and situations. Furthermore they have expanded their voice or rather lack of voice by reaching out to the care industry and building positive engagement with those receiving care through workshops, mask making and much much more.

Daphna Attias Co Artistic Director of  Dante or Die and Peut Etre Young Theatre.

concentrating on her work with Peut Etre

http://peutetretheatre.co.uk/who-we-are/

Artist statement. A short brief insight in to the clear vision they have of themselves.

“Surrealpoetic aesthetic to the world of children’s theatre. Driven by desire to create early theatrical experiences for the young audiences.”

This is something that I can relate with. In a blog with the Roundhouse Attias speaks of what she wants her young audience to get from her productions, she reveals the drive to inspire the young with what they see on stage so they can take it away with them and  “do something to express themselves and be creative.”

Attias is also a great believer that if you want to make work then just to get out there and make it.

http://www.roundhouse.org.uk/blog/2015/12/friendship-creativity-and-learning-to-fly-meet-the-little-birds-director/

One of the things I pick up from her  and fellow Co Artistic  director Terry O Donovan through their other company Dante Or Die which creates  “ambitious site sensitive productions inspired by contemporary stories and the enchanting in the everyday.” Is how accessible they are. They make themselves available to direct or mentor students and companies. I dare say a fee is involved but the potential to reach out to professionals that are not aloof and  maintain a grounding and integrity that their work promotes and also using charitable status outreach and community groups which feeds into their creativity.

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Again success for these companies is the integrity through which they work. Honest accessibility is something to be admired. Artistes using the tools that they have to put more than a performance in the marketplace but looking for community and communication with their market.

M21PA Professional Studies: My top 3 takeaway learnings

My top three takeaway learnings from the professional studies lectures led by Jackie Elliman, Percy Emmett and Anna Moutney (producer from frantic).

As someone who has run my own business and been self employed for 17 years it was interesting to get an insight as to how I could have started my business all that time ago with right guidance. The scale I started at and still am is testimony only to  what I haven’t explored and the avenues I haven’t taken. I’m not unhappy I’ve ticked along and had my share of successes.  But I have missed opportunities, maybe down to lack of knowledge and insight or even just not being fired up enough to be pursuing the next thing. It’s hard when you are on your own to keep that going. The discussions made me realise the importance of finding the right business set up.

No#1 The plan

First, is really looking at what it is I want to do and why should people care? This is a sound mantra that Percy looks at. Especially given the nature of our industry and the huge variety of interests there are. This ties in with being able to formulate a business model. And as Jackie Elliman spoke about giving yourself Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic targets. This is the heart of any business, that has your vision but also needs to have the research to take you forward with your strategies and actions. Anna Moutney, producer from Frantic Assembly was the epitome of what is to work hard and work harder as in words “nothing comes for free”. One of her standalone comments ties in with all of the takeaway learnings from our industry experts and that is about getting organised- pro active and getting people involved.

no#2 Press release

If I want to go forward in business however, looking at press releases and my ability to engage with social media and make it work for me is one clear way forward. I need to fully get to grips with this powerful tool, with the potential of reaching  the right audience and exploring other possibilities along side that are what can really build an audience and a business. Making friends with the media, getting organised enough to be ready to have something of interest. Finding angles to get you noticed.

This is something I really need to engage in and exploit.

No#3 Funding

Looking at the nature of the beast, funding is something that you will need to get your head around. I’ve been successful in applying for pots of money in the past and there is a knack to it. Getting my head around the possibility of doing this again all ties in with the venture of how to pursue the right avenues. Tying in the “what do you do” and “why should people care?” aspect  once more. Not being shy to reach out to those who lend themselves to getting funding for groups and projects could be a way forward and aiming yourself at the right trends. If I want to make work I need to be prepared to explore what it is I can create. I can still get to create how I want, I may just need to taper the market to get on with the creative business of making art happen.

Looking at reinvigorating the business plan  is certainly something I plan to action given some of the ways forward from our discussions. I shall be having  conversations as to how myself and others see themselves involved in creating work. What benefits and opportunities we create, part of that plan for me is to engage with social media. To network the journalists that even at this point in my plan will an essential part of banging the drums to get the right attention.

Not having all the answers

So there has been a lot going on. A weeks research and development at the beginning of April gave us food for thought. Ideas and workshops a go go. That’s us completed a full week and already at the start of a second week of rehearsals. There have been lots of ups and downs in trying to pin down some moments. Some very clear breakthroughs and a real sense of moving in the right direction.  Also I think about understanding of how to communicate and use this new language and process. A realisation for me last week was something that was mentioned in our beginners course. Trusting in your collaborators. I’ve  been very keen to get up and get moving and at times we seemed to have talked ourselves around in circles.

In as far as contribution and collaborating there is a wealth of things to explore. At times it has been frustrating. Sometimes wanting to pin things down seems to be the natural thing to do. It feels like a foreign entity that we don’t need to have all the answers just yet. Developing material and finding how it may lead us somewhere is the concept that we must trust in.

Peppermint tea…

First blog in a while,

Just about to rejuvenate with a pepper mint tea. Then bring you up to speed on week one of the advanced theatre making module.

so this time last week I said to Ruth. “This time next week we’ll be half way through our first week!” This thought was frightening. We had received information of what groups were working together and upon whose proposals.

My initial response was one of a little disappointment. Of course I was fully prepared that out of all the proposals only 4 would be considered. Actually after the first day I realised that actually I was rather pleased with this outcome. The prospect of my proposal was based a lot on my recent relationship and experiences with my teenage son. Even though I was fully prepared to be distant from it. I think now I would have found it diffficult and all too fresh.

I did find on Monday once we had a warm up and we got down to looking at everyones proposal in detail, that I had far more to offer each group, and how stimulated I was by the collective ideas of the group.

As a devised and performer working with Ruth, Kristen and Charlotte is going to be an exciting time. I feel enthused and invested in the proposal that Ruth has. Stemming from her reaction of of the out of water tulip in the Rego painting. We have all had fertile discussions at what direction we can go in looking at the idea of decay. The removal of support from something. The uprooting and what the flower symbolises.

On returning home in the evening I have looked at what I could add in written responses. Seeing a daffodil on my way home I wrote about what I saw as the flower battled in the breeze. How it seemed to rebel and that it was there clinging to the earth. But how that self same flower resigns it’s self to an early fate when it is removed from the ground.

I also found some poetry by Ted Hughs  and Silvia Plath. Both very rich in their imagery and even more so given the toxic relation ship that this couple had. infamously  Plath took her own life.  Which seemed significant when looking at potential narratives of stimulus.

I returned on Tuesday  full of excitement and told Ruth that she would flip her “ginger wig!”

we played on Tuesday with the guardian game, a falling exercise in groups one that we had explored in similar circumstances in the intro sessions. We looked at this again when trying to find some physicality for a starting point. It was a productive hour, the whole group able to collaborate but which resulted in using two people to support and carry and move on person as they resisted or fell into a space. The idea that we kept the feet on the floor. At one point we experimented with one of the groups having their person raised on a level. It created some lovely imagery. Kristen was being manipulated, caught moved and the ideas from it were the head heavy flower and connotations with that movement.

We have done much talking and discussion. Ideas around gifts and flowers. I worked at teasing out some of the responses that we got from Questionaires that Ruth worked on with us. I found some interesting ideas that I shared and how we could move forward with text.

We developed more concepts on slime and decay and the visuals.

we met with Tom Marshall our sound designer today so we can start looking at what to give him in terms of ideas .

This afternoon Scott, Jess and Simon looked at the giving of gifts. We had Charlotte moving me around the room. The idea of me accepting everything she does. Simon then started presenting me with objects.by the end of the exercise I was holding a water bottle, a bag, two plastic balls , a yoga mat under my arm, two folding chairs and a broom. Scott then asked me to talk to them about a gift I had received whilst holding all this junk. When we reflected on it there was the issue of the expectation of a gift what people do with it and what accepting everything had done to me. Distorting my shape. Could I replicate the distortion without the objects?

We discussed further ideas and we have had some useful directions. I am still keen to explore some writing now and my team are supportive of this pursuit for me. We know that we are not expecting to have a fully formed idea by the end of the week as this is just research and development but I think we should have honed some concrete events to start planning for in the rehearsal room. Next chapter….

The chapters….