Thursday, 3 February 2011

Day four at Bradford Theatre in the Mill

I seem to be missing a film of a really good impromptu ‘speech’ from Arnold recorded on day one on my camera with list of rules – in the future I’d like to get much more of a handle on how everything is recorded and where everything is stored. I am frustrated by this. More and more Arnold is separated off from Frank and Jean and operates alone. Hence the speeches/monologues/solo action. It seems that we’ll have to settle on the one solo for now (shake and vac solo).

 I find text to use for the two remaining scenes that we’re planning to build (birthday gifts scene and distractions scene).

As I talk the text through the performers a structure/order organically emerges (Thanks Dean who had the vision on how this would work best of all).

As we’re waiting for various sound editing to take place we discuss a few things...
Jonnie working on the sound
How do we handle the absence of Frank Jnr? This week we haven’t given it much thought. He’s almost begun to disappear, become forgotten/irrelevant?

Realise it’s very painful territory. The family want to remember a past, to hark back to happier times, but their memories, even the happy ones, remind them of what they’ve lost...are they therefore tragic?

We have frequently spoken about bringing the family photographs into the work. We ask how we can we work 2d images into the piece?  We agree that we need to establish what purpose the still images serve (either performed on stage or projected) to the work – what is the device for? Where do they fit? How can we use them? Something to work with in the future as we won’t be able to make any more new material at BTiM this week.

The day is very sound orientated and has a low energy/steady feel to it. This feels ‘right’ as we’re a day in advance of performance so need to conserve energy for that and yesterday was an exciting peak from which we are recovering. We record the remaining necessary scenes and prepare to show them in rough shape to Ivan and Hannah who are coming at 4pm.

We block through entrances and exits and movements across the space, the intentions behind the action and decide when we’re juxtaposing the text and when we’re more harmonious with it.

When we show the rough shape it becomes apparent where the tightening up is required, and the further layer of detail that needs to be worked in. Towards the end of the presentation I find that I am calling out directions to the performers.

Ivan’s enthusiastic response is a boost and he has lots of lighting ideas including lighting the picture of Frank Jnr throughout (a solution to our problem of him having faded out of our thinking). Hannah likes the explosive ending.
Frank Jnr in lighting
We’re through to the end of the day now and planning on continuing into the evening to work in more detail and start to think about performance.  We’re tired and losing our concentration so I’m slightly concerned that doing detailed work at this stage might be counter productive but we try it out and find a second wind for a few more hours which is enough to transform three of the four new scenes.

I am very satisfied how the performance space/set has opened up. Dean has frequently commented on the restrictiveness of the table and chairs around which the family spend so much of their time and for a while this did seem like a problem. The new scenes see the table and chairs used in a new way and alow the performers to interact with them differently.

I am very clear in my direction of how the performers move around the space. They moved so little before that it wasn’t an issue but now it’s really important that they move through the space in the right way as there’s quite a lot of coming and going. The movement gives a sense of  the rooms they occupy. I’ve often been told that diagonals work well in the theatre but we are using a lot of right angles.

Working on the movement like this create a really wide variety of stage ‘pictures’, a contrast to the very static master scene (ie the original 10 minutes).

We stop working before we’ve reached the end. There’s one last large scene to work on and I know that it will take less time for us to fix this if we come to it fresh in the morning.

P.S. Hyperventilating = manic

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