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!!

Advertisements

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!

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…

Reflecting Reflections

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

The first thing I noticed when looking back on my reflections was how few reflections there actually were up until this month. If I had written more, I would probably be able to write a reflection on those reflections of decent length.

When looking back on April of this year (when I started Theatre) I only had two entries and they were very factual with literally no emotion and although I have been recently writing these reflections in a state of sheer exhaustion, I feel sure they have MUCH more emotion. More importantly, I think I now understand what I was talking about given that, during various rehearsals, performances or workshops, I have implemented the ideas.

Progressing into May, my blog entries show me to be more interesting yet I don’t think anymore insightful; I had not begun to make connections, really think about what I was doing or reflect insightful. I was simply storytelling but without any literary elements. That is to say, that whilst I was saying what happened it lacked any substance or meaning. At the time of our performance, however, it gained more substance and I think this is when I started to make connections though they were definitely not even partially formed. I was actually able to answer why to some things: why was I happy about this? Why was this performance better than the last? etc. Although, I still had a long way to go to become really insightful.

And on to June… I’m shocked at how bad my blog is at this stage. My first entry for the month Theatre in France – the 1600s was factual and useful but brief. I think my bibliography for this post is longer than the actual post.When looking at Finding Madame Pernelle it is clear that I did not ‘(find)’ my character as well as I could have. My analysis of her character is very on the surface and lacks depth as well as detail.

I think my “study” in July of two men and a woman sitting in a cafe was a turning point for me. I started to look at specifics and realising that that is necessary for a successful performance. Seemingly, I have nothing else until August. We looked at Kabuki in August and I can say that I did not find it the most enjoyable topic to study but I know I’m not a particular fan of the style. Still, looking into costumes this time seemed to give me some incentive/interest in doing it again as that is my production role for our Butoh showcase. Another topic we started in August was lighting. I don’t think this month was a shining one for me in that I think I was not very interested in the topics but didn’t try to push past that. Finally though we came to something I’m good at and enjoy: Shakespeare. I think my analysis was quite insightful yet I know I could have gone further and I would have liked more experimentation. By doing this monologue I learnt so much about lighting. I think the difference from studying lighting by itself and lighting as a part of my performance is substantial because when I was designing the lighting for my own performance, I really cared about it adding to it so I strived for something great. In the process I learnt lots and lots! By learning so much I was able to look at everyone elses performances subjectively and see why they had made what choices and how effective they were for whatever reasons.

Then comes the Zen Zen Zo workshop, another real turning point and I feel closer to understanding performance (whilst I have a VERY STRONG grasp I don’t know nearly as much as I want to) and finding connections.

 

Puppetry – Workshopping!

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on October 21, 2010

Today we began by talking about music for the Butoh showcase. There were a huge array of instruments on the tables that had been pushed back in room 88 (we’d been kicked out of Room 46 because of the art exhibition). These included some instruments that I had brought, such as a cow bell and maracas, as well as some that Mel had borrowed from the music hall. Ms Flood also said that she had a toy piano to bring in. What I absolutely know about the music is that we are using tinkling sounds from the toy piano or xylophones for the playground/sandpit to add to the mood and show the simplicity but often extremity of children’s emotions. I’m very excited about the drum; it looks and sounds amazing.

There were a couple of new ideas: one from Taleah which is sooo interesting! I don’t know how she comes up with this stuff. It’s focussing on becoming or progressing into an animal and taking on their characteristics. The music would be the drum (perhaps more than one – creating polyrhythms?) and something else which I can’t remember! Everyone could see the Guppi mask from our Butoh workshop being utilised. There was also the idea of Mel’s which was actually talked about very briefly last lesson. It would involve one person doing the mask, The Scream, and everyone reacting around them – it would be wild and crazy. I saw it in the center circle we plan to have, in the middle of the audience; it would seem so raw and much more personal.

From there on we (Taleah, Geoff, Cathy and I) workshopped our puppet ‘episode’ whilst Bob and Daniel workshopped there mysterious (yet to be seen by the rest of us) cubby episode, although they are apparently having trouble with the cubby being usable. I think we had some real revelations with our puppetry. We were having difficulties with focussing first period especially with all the xylophone bashing, so at the start of the second period we went outside and, in pairs, did the mirror exercise. We needed to make it slightly harder though, so pair A would do the exercise whilst pair B would attempt to distract them in any way they could. I think Geoff and I were particularly good at distracting Cathy and Taleah with drumming and somersaults. This distraction was actually where we came up with the idea to include a somersault in our puppet dance although, needless to say, it took quite a lot of experimenting. We figured it out though and I plan to video it next week to see how it looks. Cathy also had the idea of backbends and each pair workshopped a way to do it in their own style. Cathy/Taleah’s style is smooth, slow, gentle and kind whilst mine/Geoffrey’s is rougher and definitely not kind. I think both ways are really effective especially because we decided to utilise each one in different parts of the dance. We decided ( and Cathy suggested) that she should do her backbend whilst I am doing my somersault: I think this will be very effective because it shows that we are both working at opposite directions yet together at the same time. We had slightly more difficulty utilising my back bend timing-wise yet with much experimentation we got there! It is a very jagged backbend, if you can have such a thing; Geoff “pulls” me down should by shoulder. We then do this chest pulse sort of thing which we all saw a version of in Step Up 2 and found to be amazingly affecting. They were on the ground however and I’m in a backbend doing it.

I think that I can safely say that our timing and focus is increasing hugely as well as our group awareness because of this performance piece. I think we are also learning to collaborate and communicate effectively.

Ms Flood and Mel came outside to see our puppetry and I think they were really happy with what we’d done! I know it still needs a lot of work but we are definitely on our way!

Child’s Play and Puppets (Experimentation + Production Meeting)

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on October 19, 2010

Monday:

Today we started the lesson by looking at our RI topics. After much confusion I finally have my topic:

What is the ‘alienation effect’ and in what ways could it be utilised in an Epic Theatre production of The Good Woman of Setzuan?

I’m really excited to get started on this. I have a general idea of what it is about from doing Tartuffe earlier this year, yet I don’t feel I know all the details about it that I want to. Furthermore, I know there are a million resources for this. I’m hoping to get down to the State Library to perhaps look at old articles, essays or reviews regarding my question. I’m very happy with this question because it is simple and straightforward; you don’t have to search through the words to find out what it’s really about.

We had a discussion of our upcoming Butoh performance and were discussing any new ideas as well as music for the puppetry. The lack of ideas frustrates me a little bit and I hope I’m justified in saying this; I feel I have put in an average amount. I think there are a couple of people who aren’t really grasping that this is a performance that we are creating and that they shouldn’t rely on others to come up with the ideas. However, there are some people who are obviously putting in a lot of work and are dedicated to this performance which makes me happy again! 🙂 We (well, Taleah) has been struggling to get the lyrics taken out of the song that we all love for the puppetry sequence – I so hope that she can manage it! She is an expert on these things and surely will…. Although we have another plan for it, which is also great, which involves Mel (most likely) playing the really strong beats in the music and humming the melody + a triangle + a glockenspiel.

We showed Ms Flood our puppet sequence later in the lesson. I did feel slightly blocked; not by her or anyone else but by my own focus. We’ve generally been okay without doing the focus exercise at the start of a lesson but I felt this time, I needed it. I think if I’m in the same state next lesson I’ll ask if we can do it. Saying this, I do think that Ms Flood was happy with the idea. We just need to fine tune the choreography and figure out how to link it in as well as how to get to the floor without injuring ourselves.

I think that the showcase is going fairly well, although we definitely need to go back to the beginning and see how it is all linking.

Tuesday:

We had our production meeting today focussing on publicity and music. We are putting an “ad” in the school newsletter to make sure that people know about the showcase. When discussing this we came up with a name, or rather, I suggested a name and everyone just agreed (we don’t have much time left until the ad needs to be submitted to Mr Weber) – Butoh Showcase: Child’s Play. I like it because it’s simple and it’s what we focussing on is obvious, what we actually do is not. Cathy’s going to send the ad to Mr Weber and come up with some poster designs for next week. There was more discussion about the music for the puppet section: Taleah is going to keep trying to figuring out a way to remove the lyrics from the song we love and Mel (she’ll organise) and I (I’ll help carry it back) instruments to bring to Thursday’s class so we can workshop with live music. Also, Mel is going to get music from Ms Flood and I think I’ll talk to her about getting that on a USB or CD. A lot of what we do is loosely structured so I think it’s going to be vital to know the music backwards.

On the props side (Daniel’s area) we officially have bubbles! Although they are sadly not edible or in cool shapes. Still, bubbles are bubbles and it’s going to be so much fun to play with them! We are also getting a props box for Thursday because as we continue to collaborate, more props will be added.

Taleah (as stage manager) is going to collaborate a running sheet with a list of entrances, exits, lighting, etc. Ms Flood said it should be so thorough that if she decided to do Child’s Play with a class in years to come, she should be able to replicate the technical side of it almost exactly. I think it will be really helpful and it will be great to see it all together. However, to do this running sheet, we are going to have to actually know the whole piece (everything we are doing) as well as lighting/media, etc. (Bob and Geoff are yet to start their experimentation).

Ms Flood also talked about wings  (!) on Monday and the curious energy level. Can’t wait until Thursday to experiment with that!!

18th, 19th, 22nd October: Butoh and other things…

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on October 17, 2010

Monday: Today we were mainly looking through past RIs. There was one that got a rally high mark, a really low mark and then one with a middle range mark. I found looking at the one with the middle range mark to be useless in that I was utterly confused. The question I thought was overly complex which contrasted hugely to the question with the high mark which was very straightforward and basic but still allowed for an extensive amount of research. Looking at the example with the high mark was very useful for the critique of sources and the sources used. They had used an extensive range of sources and their critique was well thought out and justified. The low mark was also useful for this in that I think they had 3 internet websites and no  other sources. I have a good knowledge now of what to do in the way of sources. I plan to read through the entire RI of the highest mark so I can get some ideas of how to organise and structure my own RI.

Geoffrey and I had been working on dance for the upcoming Butoh performance and we showed it to the class today. I was definitely slightly embarrassed because I stumbled… quite a few times but oh well! I know I just need to practice dancing with other people more and it will all work out! I think everyone was fairly happy with this (asides from the stumbling) and I think ‘The Gift’ mask and walk after this will be very effective.

Thursday: Today we were mainly workshopping our Butoh performance. At the start of the lesson however, we had a short talk about our RI questions. I hadn’t actually come up with an question yet (written down at least) and I felt quite bad for this. However, I had/have a style and play: Epic Theatre,  Parables for the Theatre by Brecht. I’ve been reading the play and I think it’s really interesting. It has religion at its core which is a change for me because I haven’t found this with a lot of plays that I’ve read or seen although I know it is there in many.

  • Throwing energy levels: We played around with this today except we started thinking too much which I know is one of my greatest flaws and I’m sure others struggle with it aswell. We thought we might include the twitching and then progress into energy levels. The problem with this was that we literally couldn’t get started. The progression from twitching to this didn’t work it just didn’t fit or feel right. What we then decided to do was start out with one person (me) and then just throw the energy around until everyone was affected by it or indeed, infected with it. I thought it would be more effective if I started on energy level 5 (curious) and easier aswell because it allowed that ‘insightful creator’ persona. Also, level 6 (huge, strong emotions – best and worst day of your life) would be better to progress as the energy did because it’s such a huge, obvious one. Aesthetically and logically it makes more sense for it to come later. There was still one thing that I found difficult with this, and I think everyone else did aswell, was knowing when the music was coming to an end because we had to be in rough positions by the end so we could start the dance with me, Geoff and Cat. I think when we listen to this more and perhaps get a copy of the music, this will be easier.
  • Child’s Play: We brought in some childhood toys to play around with. We had previously experimented with being children in a sand pit with 2 “normal” children and 1 brat and it was very effective. Today we included everyone but still had only 1 brat (Taleah). It was great fun although I know I can get the simplicity but extremity of the emotions to strike me more. I particularly enjoyed working with Jesse in this because he was very free in his choices and also very childlike. He had me feeling more in character although he did forget the importance of stagecraft a few times. I found it difficult to work with Daniel at this stage because he didn’t feel very aware in that it took him just those few seconds more to catch on to the fact that I was trying to communicate. Taleah wrecks all the joy we have, however, by taking all our toys away (which is of course necessary for the scene). I think one of our best moments is noticing Taleah and then helping each other out. We all knew she was there because of Ms Flood telling us but because of our group awareness we didn’t all look there straight away; it worked as a chain, a couple looking then the others “catching on”. When we noticed a child’s toy been taken away, at least 1 of us would go over there to cheer them up.
  • Puppets! This we didn’t do in class but a few of us workshopped it outside of class. It was my idea and it came from the mirroring we did at the Zen Zen Zo workshop: I found it really fantastic because of the incredible focus, the group and self-awareness it takes as well as the emphasis that can be placed on detail. I liked the idea of a puppeteer giving energy in a way to puppets. Geoff, Cathy, Taleah and I were work-shopping this idea at lunchtime and Taleah had the most  amazing music to go with it. The only problem with this is that it had lyrics and we would need to figure out how to take them off. fortunately, Aiden apparently knows how to do this so it’s now Mel’s task to find out more about that. An idea that Mel had if we can’t get the lyrics taken off is to potentially have Mel or someone playing the drum (there are very strong beats in the music which are needed for the puppeteer) and humming the melody. I think both could be effective. I was really happy with what we came up with although we realised that we needed to choreograph it because the puppet can’t see what the puppeteer is doing. However, there were a couple of problems we found with this:

             1) How long should it go on for? We were trying to be particular mindful of this because we didn’t want it to get to long and repetitive but at the same time we wanted to fit everything in.

             2) Including Jesse and Daniel. This also comes into the timing of it because we don’t want them to be absent whilst we’re doing the puppetry however to have anything else going on would take away from the effectiveness. So what should they be doing? We didn’t come up with an answer.

  • Finale: We also needed to start thinking of ideas for the finale: I thought that it might be an idea to have the puppets in the finale and then incorporating everything else we had done throughout the show case. To me it seemed that this would be chaotic yet perfectly structured; circus-like. It would include the puppets, pencil focus, back dance (but perhaps with more movement), the puppeteer (perhaps they could be controlling aspects of it?), the children and dynamics (not everyone would be moving or still at the same time). I think the finale needs to incorporate all the ideas that we have used so far because we have new and different stages of the performance and we don’t want the finale to seem like another new stage.

 

    

Thursday, 7th October: Butoh Performance, Class 2

Posted in All About Butoh by Savannah on October 7, 2010

So today we continued with working on our Butoh performance (which has a rough date set – November 1st!).

We started by working on the back dance that we had done during the workshop and had started doing last class but we were using music that Ms Flood found this time so it was more interesting. I was partnered with Geoffrey at the start wich was difficult in some ways. It should have been difficult given the height different (about a head) but I found that was actually okay. Our 2 workshop leaders hadn’t had a problem with that anyway. However, this time Geoff did crouch down a little bit so he was my height which would have been hard for him when the level (height) was lower. Ms Flood then put us into positions; a pyramid of sorts. I was placed standing whilst their were a few sitting to make it visually more interesting. We were then on opposite sides of the “stage” and had to make our way (slowly) to our positions. The first time I did this I didn’t really use my back much for the walking part, I don’t think I was as self-aware as I should have been. I changed this for the time after. Watching Daniel move to his position was interesting (not watching creepily though!) because he wasn’t grasping the concept of subtle and smooth movements. Ms Flood changed his position a while after as he was at the front and I did wonder whether it was because of this. I’m not sure if he got it a bit better as we went on as I was concentrating on my own movements but I felt that I sensed more awareness as weird as that seems. It was interesting to be put on a lower level and I found that I liked it more in that position because it gave me an option to be on a totally different level from walking without wrecking the balance we  had.

After the back dance we did the pencil/focus exercise. Gosh! It was so exhausting! When our partner went away and we still held that focus I found that going slightly cross-eyed and looking at a make-believe pencil was essential for that focus. At times however, there was no person on the other end holding the pencil and I was balancing it on the tip of my nose like a seal with a beach ball. We split up into two groups and crossed the room, weaving between the other group and then reconnecting with our group. I tried to keep as much focus as humanly possible and I think it payed off because Ms Flood asked me to cross the room by myself (exciting! I’m sure she wouldn’t have asked me to go across by myself if I was terrible or if she wasn’t affected by what I was doing). By the time I got to the other end, I was absolutely exhausted! I was happy though, that I’d been able to maintain that focus.

Our final idea that we work shopped was my idea I am happy to say! It came from the twitching idea (which I can’t take full credit for) as well as the throwing of energy and different people being on different energy levels. We had:

Taleah and I – energy level 6

Geoffrey and Jesse – energy level 7

Cathy and Daniel – energy level 5

Mel (who was absent) – energy level 2/3

I threw my energy to Geoff first and took on his energy level. Various “throwings” continued to happen through the piece of music that Ms Flood had found. It felt so energetic and amazing! I think everyone shared these feelings and I think it will be all the more effective when Mel’s back.