Savannah's Theatre Blog

BUTOH SHOWCASE: THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on November 24, 2010

Monday night was so amazing. I had the best time and our glitches/muck ups just so didn’t matter because we all worked so well.

Just trying to be modest here…

One thing I will say that I want to try to improve on is my ability to stop thinking. I’ve talked a bit about this in previous posts and at times during the performance I achieved it. I think I need to learn to trust myself more and my ability to be a great performer. That way, I am more likely to achieve the best results and have the best time even if the result turns out to be bad.

I was very happy with the make up and costumes. There were only a couple of glitches/places for improvement.

I would say that the actual sizing of the pants for the guys would be the way to improve for costumes given that I heard a few people say that they saw a lot of underwear. Thank fully, our performance was so intense that it didn’t matter.

I was really happy with the tops I bought for the girls. When I bought them I was a bit worried that they:

a) Would be too “dress-like”: they were very long

b) Wouldn’t fit (the shop assistant said to go down a size and there were no larger sizes anyway)

However, they worked perfectly! Although we had to wear singlets underneath.

The one bit of feedback regarding make up was that whilst they were great designs, it would have been more effective if they were bigger and bolder to make the contrast between the white and black more obvious and to emphasise each character.

Hmm.. that’s all for now! I’m sure I’ll add some more soon when I get a bit more time!!

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1 Day To Go!

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on November 24, 2010

Aghh only 1 day to go! Well, technically I am writing this now (Monday morning) but about yesterday… our full rehearsal! SO EXCITING!

It was a stressful day, we had so so much to do. The tech run was the most difficult because:

a) We hadn’t been in R46 for a while so doing many tech runs/experimentation, etc. before was impossible

b) Tech stuff often confuses me. I just struggle to get my head around it all.

c) We were all stressed out of our heads.

We did the tech run once and then later ran through, quickly, the lighting cues. I, naturally, had forgotten what I turned off during the run and there were then a couple of holes but it all worked out.

Going through doing dress rehearsals was fun.. It was amazing to see everything coming together.

We were a bit rushed doing the first run through and forgot a few things, especially during the start with the masks. Everyone followed me for cues at the start so I just needed to slow it all down and breathe. The second time we went through it worked much better and we just need to make sure we are relaxed and focussed tonight and it won’t look rushed and out of time.

Nose Focus:

  1. I felt like I had to rush off at the end. I’m the last to go off stage so when everyone started to come back on I felt I had to rush off.
  2. Taleah commented that I didn’t need to rush off and to take my time because they could all wait for me. So I didn’t rush and it was so much more comfortable and, I think, effective.

Energy Twitch:

  1. We all stoped when the music slowed which was not what we had originally rehearsed. Ms Flood made comment of this and I confirmed that it was not what we had originally rehearsed. I was to break away from my level 7 energy, take up a level 4/7 energy and go around taking energy away from people.
  2. So much better and so much more energy. There was a slight problem with this in that Daniel didn’t see me because he didn’t have his glasses on. This means that I have to go really close to him and then he can see me so problem solved!

I was mostly happy with how today (yesterday) went.

It was good (or helpful rather) to see how long the make up actually took (a very long time). We didn’t get to fully do the make up today due to time constraints which was a shame because I would have loved to see it fully done. However, everyone had white make up on and eye make up roughly done. There was a slight problem with the white make up given that the lights appeared to melt it and us being all sweaty and gross didn’t help. The solution to this was just to dab the places where the make up had become uneven with a sponge (I liked to use the triangular sponges) which effectively took away moisture and smoothed rough patches. The problem with this was that most people seemed to forget or not bother… for the night of, I will put sponges on the sides of the stage so people can dab what they know to be there problem areas.

ARGHH SO EXCITED! But the bell just rang and I have to go and finish fixing the wings for tonight!

ARGHH! ONE WEEK TO GO!

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on November 15, 2010

IT’S ONLY ONE WEEK TO GO AND I’M SO EXCITED BUT SCARED. We still have stacks to do yet we did a run through today and it’s really coming together and is just fantastic.

We started right from the beginning and did absolutely everything! With the back dance, it was great except afterwards it’s kind of like ‘wow’ and I really needed to just shake myself back to reality. I was, at the beginning of this project/collaboration for the showcase, a little bit nervous about the nose to pencil thing. I honestly thought that the audience would be bored out of their brains but I realise now that what we started with was just something we needed as a process – I’m allowed to have some silly moments, okay? I’ve actually grown to really like the pencil to nose piece because it’s simple and straightforward and I think it leads really well into the next piece

I’ve got to say, I’m really happy with the ‘energy twitch’ and it was my idea which makes me so so happy! I really love all the energy rushing through and I think we’ve got such focus. I love coming on in the curious state, it’s my favourite! And I am seriously impressed with Taleah! Not that I didn’t think she was talented or anything but keeping that level of emotion up for that long is absolutely exhausting and she does it so well! She’s doing it a lot better than I can so I’m really going to have to throw myself in more! I think my favourite part about the whole piece is when I get to go straight from level 7 energy to a cross between 4 and 7 (4 with lots and lots of focus!). It’s the coolest feeling to transform so suddenly although I need to be more precise and determined with my actions – it will make it more effective.

Needless to say, when the fan dance come I got rather confused – so embarrassing, I screwed if up like a thousand times! To be fair though, it doesn’t have music or counts or anything, so…  Well, no actually, it was rather simple and I just should have gotten it. I will definitely practice!

On a brighter note we are using my idea about pulling the mask off the face for the opening! I’m not sure if I’ve put a picture up of where the idea came from, so it’s here:

Exciting, right!? Except ours mask will be pure white and not an off-white colour. I’m so happy about this ! I love it when my ideas are accepted (I have been known to have utterly absurdly creative ideas such as incorporating Pegasus into a poem about constellations).

Anyway! So problems:

  • Cathy’s leg: so we’re a bit worried about Cat’s leg b/c her physio told her not to be doing backbends, etc. for 6 weeks whilst it has healed but it may have healed by now and she is sure will be fine by Monday. We decided to make some possible arrangements that we might have to do such as with the puppets. Geoff and I have almost figured out a different routine that doesn’t involve Cathy if she can’t do it on Monday. Taleah doesn’t want to do it without Cathy/with someone who isn’t Cat, mainly because there isn’t really anyone else able to do it due to height or back moving ability. I’m a bit nervous about this and I so don’t want to do it without Cat or Taleah but it’s more important that Cathy doesn’t hurt herself again!
  • Costumes – wings: I need to fit Mel’s wings tomorrow and Bob’s apparently can no longer stay on? I’m thinking arm holders from elastic would be the best idea but I’ll figure all that out tomorrow! Also, I’m adding wire to mine to get them to sit up.
  • Costumes – love hearts/pants: there are love hearts on the pants which I really don’t want to be there so! I had the idea of putting a balloon over the heart and I was thinking of some sort of white fabric (I found it in my mum’s fabric draw) and then hemming it and then sewing it on. Cathy suggested using white felt which is much smarter. So I tried to track down some white felt today but the lady at the fabric shop said it wouldn’t get there until Friday (she had to order more in) so I went over to the $2 shop and there was none there but she suggested the arts shop and the other $2 shops – how many are there!?? (3 is the answer). So my plan is to go hunting for white felt tomorrow after school… hopefully I find some otherwise I’m left until Saturday night to do it all! (I’m going shopping for T-shirts on Saturday, which brings me to…)
  • Costumes – T-shirts: So I seriously spaced out in getting the shirts (for us girls) last Saturday by just screwing up what my dance times were and not getting enough time to go shopping! After the run through today we realised how disgusting and sweaty (I know, gross.) we were going to be by the end of it. So I was thinking singlets but there were a couple of problems with that which I won’t discuss here. So then! LOOSE T-SHIRTS! Genius idea, right? But then I had the dumb idea of putting elastic in the waist so they wouldn’t fall over our heads doing cartwheels or what not…. So Cathy said to just tuck them in. Which was way smarter – way to go Cathy…

Hmm.. That’s all for now!

2 Weeks To Go!

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on November 14, 2010

Today was our production meeting with only two weeks to go until our showcase! SO EXCITING! On the downside, it meant a few people were getting a bit worried yet also determined to get everything done! We talked quite a bit about my area, costumes and makeup. To be perfectly honest I was rather annoyed at the beginning of the meeting (OMG DON’T GET UPSET AT ME MS FLOOD JUST KEEP READING) because I was under the impression that Ms Flood was going to have ordered the pants a week or so ago, which I spent quite a long time finding, yet she hadn’t done that due to complications with PayPal, etc. and had bought other pants. I do realise now that it was just miscommunication because she had thought she was waiting for sizes and I had thought she had enough info, etc. (SO I’M VERY SORRY MS FLOOD IF I WAS SEEMING RUDE – I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT KEEPING MY EMOTIONS FROM THE SURFACE). Anyway I was actually happily suprised with the pants!  They seem really suitable asides from a heart where the pocket is. Ms Flood suggested using fabric paint but I’m not sure whether it would conceal the heart entirely. I think I will experiment a bit tonight with white patches of fabric to go over the heart. I actually think this could be effective given our “alternate” themes.

Mel talked about music for a bit regarding the animal piece and found a great piece on one of the CDs I’d leant her. Which was kind of weird and peaceful yet at the same time, had lots of energy. I could really see us being all our animals when listening to it !

Cathy showed us the poster for Child’s Play and it looked so good! She had a few queries regarding where to put the name of the piece and we all decided on the sky. It’s going to be the front of our program as well!

One more thing I want to experiment is, is some form of a red, blood like substance. I was inspired by this picture:

It just seems such a fascinating image! I think an option for it would be for Mel in The Screaming scene although I’d also like her to have whitened hands for an extra contrast but I’d have to see if she would have time to get it off again.

With my make up designs (eye make up specifically) I was very inspired by this image:

I now have rough sketches of the makeup designs for everyone and as soon as they are absolutely finalised (I’m going to experiment everything on Mel!) I will post and send of pictures/designs to everyone and on this blog!

OK! Have now done all the experiments on Mel – SO EXCITING! I’ve got little packs for everyone tomorrow so hopefully everyone is happy with them. I will post them up here when they’ve been cleared! (hopefully!)

A Week of Hectic Flying

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on November 8, 2010

We are needing to put in more and more work as our Butoh showcase comes closer and closer. The puppet scene is one we are needing dedicate a lot of class time and lunch time to. We had the choreography set at the start of the week and it just needed to be polished so it could be precise and therefore effective. However, a somersault is part of our piece and I thought it would be fine to do on the stage (we hadn’t been able to get it on the stage at this point due to various interruptions) because I know the technique. However, when I got up on the stage on Monday, I realised that whilst I would be able to do it, it would be incredibly uncomfortable. However, I really liked the movement  because it seemed to give the right feeling – that Geoff as a puppeteer is more outgoing and adventurous. Realising that the somersault wouldn’t be the best idea though, we had to figure out something else. I thought of swapping it for a cart-wheel or round-off, although I wasn’t that keen about either of these because I’m not as confident with my technique for those. Hopefully though, my poor (ish) technique will not be too noticeable because it was what we’ve decided to do. We had a problem with this though in that it looked like I was doing it by myself which obviously wouldn’t work because I am supposed to be a puppet. In the end, Geoff/Ms Flood came up with Geoff having entire control over my body from above, as in he has every string clasped in his hand and my whole body moves when his hand does. The problem I have with this section is the control it takes to get it precise and show no preparation. I wasn’t so worried about this when we were roughly rehearsing, simply because it would be exhausting to put in that amount of effort like 50 times! It’s something I need to work on over the next week though.

Another more important problem we had with the puppets, and other parts really,  was that Cathy hurt her leg and could not really move – hopefully she gets better!

We didn’t end up having a production meeting this week because of Cup day but we did get to do pretty much a full run through (and expansion) on Thursday.

It was great to see everything together right from the back dance – although we didn’t actually go through that – right to flying. Our problem at the beginning was thinking way too much! Thankfully, I think we are a lot better on that front but it is definitely something I am still doing and need to stop! My acro teacher is always talking about this little person in the back of my head who’s constantly like ‘No! You can’t do this and just trust your own body to do the trick!’ etc. He calls it ‘white noise’ – all the thinking – all the zillions of thoughts that should just butt out. A way I have found useful, just recently actually, in getting rid of that ‘white noise’ is to actually swear at myself inside my head which sounds really weird! But, I don’t really swear so doing that seems to kind of “shock” me and then I realise that I’m being an idiot and I just stop thinking so much. With this performance, the important thing I find is to trust my own instincts and improvisational skills. If I let myself go entirely and just trust then I know that I will get a much better end result. This is why I’ve been wanting to practice the puppet routine so much. If I get it into my muscle memory then I can just feel what I’m doing and really have fun with it.

On the animal front, we worked on Taleah’s animal idea. Not much but we just started experimenting with our animal (I am a giant bird) and there characteristics. We are to have a look at videos during the week. I’ve been looking on YouTube for some videos and some of it was really disturbing because there was a lot of cruelty there. For example, I decided to have a look at some ostriches and there were videos of humans riding them and actually racing them. I feel sure that that is not safe for the ostriches. As well as this, there were a lot of ostrich fights – it’s disgusting. Saying that, I just watched a very inspiring video with a black vulture and a very hilarious cockatoo. However, it was the movement of the vulture that got me inspired. It is quite like a few things that Mel and I (we are the same animal) experimented with during the past week. It leads with its head, forward and lowered. It jumps a lot and moves with a fast, smooth gait but picks up it’s feet very quickly. This is the link to the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuYPruD12gQ&NR=1

So thank you to VostroUser!

Another thing we experimented with this week was the finale; the flight scene. It was so much fun except I need to fix a few sets of wings. Daniel wearing those tiny pink wings is practically the funniest thing ever, second only to Bob and his cardboard. It was wonderful and free – although it’s definitely a good thing that we collapse at the end because it’s going to be exhausting! We finish it with us all sitting up and mischievously Shhh-ing the audience before collapsing down again. I should say that Bob’s collapsed position beats Daniel’s wings – bravo Jesse!

Sunshine and Pants

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on November 5, 2010

So we got to work in sunshine: it was awesome. On Monday, we worked on our puppet routine and had some major issues. I was most uncomfortable with my pants – somehow, being sports pants, they were not designed to move in. So after a quick trip to the magically confusing room of costumes to find more comfortable pants (which seemingly I couldn’t find) and a duck into 43 to get Ms Flood’s Diet Coke, we moved on.

We did actually strike a real problem with our piece given that we didn’t fit timing wise and the distinction between the two pairs wasn’t clear enough. So Geoffrey and I had to change ours. We came up with a second option and showed both to a group of students who were supposed to be in maths class. Most of them preferred the first because it was more polished. I, on the other hand, preferred the second and I’m pretty sure Geoff did too – or was at least fine with doing either – so I’m not really sure why we bothered to ask them; I at least was going to fight for the second one.

Dramatics aside, we got to see the cubby scene! It was so cute I could scarcely believe it. There were traditional cute and funny moments like the moving box – how can it possibly be getting closer? – yet there were Bob and Daniel’s own personalities/interpretations/ideas in there too like the mostly Balloon Boy mask. So sweet and funny, I think it will make a good balance in our showcase with all the weird creepy stuff.

This week we also started the fan dance, courtesy of Mel and Ms Flood. It isn’t really choreographed yet so it was a little hard to learn it. In and of itself, I think it’s nicely balanced between normal and creepy.

Doing lots of work on my RI this week, this blog has been relatively short – just wait for next weeks…