Savannah's Theatre Blog

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:

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!


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