Savannah's Theatre Blog

First classes of Year 12!

Posted in IPP by Savannah on February 6, 2011

We had to miss out on our first double period (Monday morning) to get our books, etc. and it was like, who really cares? I thought theatre class was much more important…

When we did get our first class, we got all of our due dates which I’ll put up here in case I lose the sheet.

IP – Friday 1st April

IPP – Friday 13th May

RI – Friday 10th June

PPP – Friday 2nd September

TPPP – Friday 23rd September

I’m really happy with the order everything happens in. Whilst a couple of people have said that they would have liked the IP to occur later in the year, I’m really glad we’re doing it first. We all have so many ideas and I think we would be distracted through the other assignments thinking about the IP, if the others had occurred before it. Because we had so many ideas, we were able to jump straight into it after we had discussed dates and who was doing what.

Over the holidays, Taleah and I had been talking and thinking a lot about the IP and our projects/ideas so we had roles, both backstage and on stage, organised. For the most part, we were doing the backstage roles ourselves because there wasn’t much to each role. Although, I asked Taleah to do my lighting because I’m not particularly good at/interesting in lighting and she really wants to do it! Unfortunetely, Daniel decided not to do his idea for a performance which meant he either needed to do something in my piece or Taleah’s. Ms Flood also suggested that he could do the school production (Alice in Wonderland!) as his IP. He’s now doing lighting for Taleah so hopefully that all works out.

My performance is based on drug addiction and I’m classifying it as contemporary physical theatre. It took me quite a while to figure out some form of classification because I was under the impression that physical theatre was not a theatre style. After a bit of research and finding information about a piece of physical theatre that I saw a couple of years ago – Bodyline – and having Julia Cotton (director/choreographer  of Bodyline, Head of Movement Studies at NIDA) class the piece as physical theatre made me sure that I could call my piece physical theatre.

I chose to do physical theatre because it makes the most sense to me as a form of communication. Choosing the issue of drug abuse/addiction made it more important to me to be able to strongly communicate something, as it is an issue that has affected so many people, including my family. The main message I want to communicate is that as one person – a friend or family member – you can try and help the addicted or struggling but you cannot overrule them and take a higher position in their recovery until they allow you to. It’s an icredibly important message for me to portray, and something I have been trying to come to terms with.

I asked Cathy and Geoffrey to be in my piece/help me with it because I know they are the people most comfortable with physical work in the class. Being able to move well is obviously something that is incredibly important in my piece so that the three of us involved are dancers is, I have to admit, no coincidence. Saying that, I know we all work extremely well together from our work on Child’s Play. This has really proved to be true as in our first discussion on Wednesday, we all contributed and really liked each others ideas.

Before I go into the ideas for scenes, I should probably describe the characters involved.

The most obvious role is the addicted. I’m having her as a teenager and playing her myself. She experimented with drugs because her life was falling apart. Drugs became her escape or “shelter”. This is my character.

The drug: Rather than having the drug as an  unseen force, I wanted to personify it highlighting the way in which the abuser starts using, why she continues and what happens when she eventually tries to stop. I thought it would be more effective in delivering a message because it will be quite confrontational to the audience and will hopefully have them listening to what I’m trying to say.

The friend/family member (Cat). This role is someone who has been in her life since she was very young. She wants to help her friend but is scared of who she has become and is equally fearful of being drawn in to that world.

The analyst: This is a role like a chorus in Shakespearean plays. Also played by Cathy, her main role is in the puppetry/mirroring scene (“Shelter”) in which she pauses the action and analyses or explains particularly significant features. Whilst I don’t want the audience completely isolated, as I personally don’t like it as a method of eduction given that I care less about something if I am not emotionally involved, I want a certain level of alienation combined with emotional engagement so that they think, but truly care about what they are thinking of. This is the purpose of the analyst.

Here are the ideas so far:

The High

Music: Rolling in the Deep by Adele

Involves friend/family member (Cat), the addicted (me) and the drug (Geoff). It’s really the only ‘light’ scene in the piece and it reverts to childhood where everything was simple and we were, for the most part, oblivious to the real problems of the world (in many cases). To really highlight this theme, there will be a building of a cardboard box fort and dress ups (in a simple version – using hats, scarves, etc.). Combined with this will be random, fun and hopefully organic dancing; clapping and general fun.

All of this is juxtaposed with the lyrics of the song:

Rolling in the Deep Lyrics – Adele

There’s a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out the dark,

Finally, I can see you crystal clear,
Go ahead and sell me out and I’ll lay your shit bare,
See how I’ll leave with every piece of you,
Don’t underestimate the things that I will do,

There’s a fire starting in my heart,
Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out the dark,

The scars of your love remind me of us,
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all,
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless,
I can’t help feeling,

We could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
Rolling in the deep,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
You had my heart inside of your hand,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
And you played it to the beat,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),

Baby, I have no story to be told,
But I’ve heard one on you and I’m gonna make your head burn,
Think of me in the depths of your despair,
Make a home down there as mine sure won’t be shared,

The scars of your love remind me of us,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
I can’t help feeling,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),

We could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
Rolling in the deep,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
You had my heart inside of your hand,

(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
And you played it to the beat,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),

Could have had it all,
Rolling in the deep,
You had my heart inside of your hand,
But you played it with a beating,

Throw your soul through every open door,
Count your blessings to find what you look for,
Turn my sorrow into treasured gold,
You pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow,

(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
We could have had it all,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
We could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
It all, it all, it all,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),

We could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
Rolling in the deep,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
You had my heart inside of your hand,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
And you played it to the beat,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),

Could have had it all,
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me),
Rolling in the deep,
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep),
You had my heart inside of your hand,

But you played it,
You played it,
You played it,
You played it to the beat.

I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics of this song but when I played it to Cat and Geoff, Cat commented that it was not at all happy. It turns out that the lyrics are actually perfect for this scene, especially the backing singing because the message is clear, – ‘you’re going to wish you never met me’ – it makes sense in that she is going to wish she never started using drugs given how ugly it gets and this line – which stood our most to me – is not the most obvious line; it shows deception, which the drug employs.

Puppetry/Mirroring: “Shelter”

Music: Shelter by The XX

For this scene I wanted to bring back the puppetry we did in Child’s Play and the mirroring exercise we did in the Butoh workshop but I want to extend it so we are challenged. This is a very important scene as she sees the ugly side of what she is doing/the drug but is totally compelled to continue; she is unable to escape. It’s very important for the audience to see the progression of the drug’s ugly side because they are able to sympathise with the user.

I like the contrast betweeen puppetry and mirroring because they are essentially opposites: mirroring showing co-operation – both the drug and the addicted are working together, contrasting hugely with puppetry in which the drug is in total control. However, I want the audeince to similtaneously be compelled to watch and to detatch themselves, as she would be feeling so I don’t want a clean cut line between doing mirroring and puppetry so I want to break it up with movement really depicting the savage side of the drug, which she is beginning to see. What we choreographed this week is the perfect example of what I’m trying to explain.

Geoff and I begin with mirroring but it is very exact and precise, showing the supposed harmony. It quickly changes when he first grabs me around my waist and I try to claw him off, he then grabs my arms, then my neck, etc. It’s showing the many ways in which he is able to control me or rather, that he is cunning in finding ways for me to continue using.
Note: when I say ‘me’, I do not actually mean me (obviously).

He changes his tactic after this and compells me again. From this point I want to progress into puppetry to have another sudden change, this time, however, it is one I am not particularly aware of given that I have just been compelled (or just taken another hit).

There are some other ideas that we came up with that don’t have a place in a scene yet.

– I react to noises/actions made by the drug that Cathy does not react to. Such as, the drug stomping on stage = I hit my hand/fist on the table. As no one else can see what the drug is doing or why I’m randomly hitting my fist on a table, I can’t take it and I end up screaming or something done in equal frustration. Cat can’t see the drug – it affects everyone differently.

– with the cardboard box fort creating in Rolling in the Deep, a box is taken away each black out to symbolise the deterioratin effect of the drug (the good side). They will be knocked down in the last scene to show total disruption of the illusion.

– In the last scene, we see the drug as only anger and ugly things. Geoff will portray this by doing the really scary things that guys often do when angry, i.e. hits wall, above addicted head. There will be no music for this as I think that will make it more effective and confronting.

I think it’s progressing really well and I can’t wait to continue !

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