Monday 28 January 2013

'Run Forest run'

The weight of my body falling to the ground with each stride, and the sound of air being pushed out of my lungs and sucked back in again. I am not going anywhere, not running towards or away from anything. And I am alone, just a heartbeat in a body, until one day it will stop, and I will leave the well trodden ground behind.

                                Photo of Ben Duke by Zoe Manders

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Some photos by the lovely Zoe Manders

Zoe Manders is my 'Administrator' where I am an Associate Artist at South East Dance. She is so much more than an Administrator, and extremely bright, gorgeous and talented too... 
Here are some photos she took of me and Ben in rehearsal @ The Point creation space.



All photos by Zoe Manders

Thursday 17 January 2013

What someone saw...

Response from Jenny Hammond (audience member at the sharing):

'What struck me most and stayed with me after the sharing was the essence of time passing and how we are affected by it. As children we are free from restraints, and our inhibitions don’t affect our behaviour. We move freely, and are curious about things and people. We are not afraid about what we say to people or how we act around them. As we get older we lose this nature, we become more guarded and we think about what we say or do before we say or do it and how/what affect it will have on others. Our movement and our behaviour becomes more measured, more controlled, less free and I guess in a way is not what we truly feel. The different stages of life that the movement/text excerpts explored, reflected this for me and was what stood out the most.'

Week 5, the sharing week

@ The point, Eastleigh, Creation Space

Me/Antonia Grove        Performer
Jo McInnes              Director
Charlie Morrissey       Movement Director
Brad Birch              Writer
Lee Ross                Songwriter
Ben Duke                Performer

What we needed to do?...

We needed to see if the ‘treatments’ and process we were already testing out for making this piece of dance theatre could cope with a more extensive and committed piece of writing/dialogue; the beginning of a script with a narrative context, history, progression through time and emotional gravity. 

So we asked Brad to write a script which we could use to test this out, rip it apart, scrutinise it and probe it with questions.
                                                                    Brad birch
                            Lee Ross                                                                                          

We also needed to test out the introduction of live music in a room, get a feel for its possibilities, the different tones and the reason  its function interests us.

We wanted to ensure that each medium (dance, text, song/music) maintained its own strong identity and voice, and didn’t soften or mould itself towards a common harmony or become diluted just because we would sometimes require the mediums to work together in combination.

It was the conflict, clashing, rubbing together of the artforms that interested us, and highlighted the complexity within a story. The elements could also work together in harmony, and we did'nt want to be afraid of that, but both harmony and discord seemed to rely on all artforms communicating in a strong and confident language.

What we actually did...

Brad came back after Xmas with 20 pages of a script- a dialogue between two people with a long history.

This immediately presented us with a whole new challenge, very different from the individual sketches we’d been working on till now.

We began the process of dissecting it scene by scene from the beginning, however we didn’t really get past the second page! The weight of backstory, and the emotional intensity of the opening scene made it immediately apparent that it required a much longer and more in-depth process of working into it. We were presented with a whole new treatment process to investigate, and lots to consider about the nature and form of what was needed and desired in terms of the writing. 

We all wanted to push the depth of narrative and commitment to a ‘story’, whilst wanting to recognise where dance and song and the intention/placement/context/direction of which can take a lot of the weight off the text. 

I learnt some of Lee’s songs, some new ones he’d written for Running on Empty, and some existing tunes.

I had an immediate affinity with a little country number called ‘I’m doing fine’. We were all attracted to the song because of its commitment to a particular style, and the way it tells a sad story through a pretty tune.

We took our dance improvisations ‘through the ages’, working a relationship from young kids through to old age. Jo would direct us from one moment in time to the next, our aim being to keep the dance human whilst avoiding mime or literal representation.

We returned to our ‘Jumper text’ from week 2, which we have renamed ‘the emollient nuns of Avignon’ (because we like it!). We used it in this improvisation through the ages, inserting it repeatedly on Jo’s direction, testing it against different states and times. The repetition of it in new contexts was very satisfying, and had something of the cyclic, ‘

running on empty’ quality we started this process with.

At the open sharing on Friday, we presented this longer improvisation, directed live by jo and Charlie, and accompanied by Lee on various string instruments.

We also revisited the ‘hoodies’ duet, working from behind our hoods through an improvisation of curiosity, intimacy, tension and aggression, leading in to scene 1 from Brad’s new script.

It’s always very exposing to share such a delicate, intimate and complex working process, however the work needs to expose something delicate, allow people in to a place of intimacy and communicate complexity to its audience with bravery and courage, so in fact it felt a necessary thing to do at such a early stage. Our audience was wonderfully open and generous, and I felt extremely proud to invite people in to witness such brilliant collaborators at work. Thanks everyone!

All photos by Matthew Andrews



Wednesday 16 January 2013

The missing week 4

I didn’t write about week 4 @ Farnham Maltings because we were doing a lot of pre-Christmas batting around of ideas, a lot of dancing (me, Charlie and Ben) and trying it alongside different texts, and then discussing things whilst standing in the middle of the studio like some kind of new wave corporate ideology group!
It was the first week Jo and Charlie had been working together as director and movement director, and possibly the first time the piece felt tangible and realistically possible to go ahead and create together... So we relaxed in the knowledge it was possible and happening already, but that we had a lot of work to do in a process like this, it was gonna be hard so we might as well enjoy a nice Xmas and face the music in the new year!
Thanks to Gavin, fiona and all @ Farnham Maltings for looking after us. The woodland lodge was quite surreal and very 'woody', and the country pub perfectly cosy and christmassy!