Savannah's Theatre Blog

Week 3!

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on February 21, 2011

Unfortunately I was really sick this week so we didn’t really get much done on our piece which is now named The Heroine which we all thought was a nice play on words!

So Monday (our double) I was away so Geoff and Cat were just trying out a few different things. It was a slightly problematic situation given that there are no scenes where they actually interact so they mainly worked on the second scene China White which is where the heroin is first injected/taken. They found a more subtle way of showing the taking of heroin in which she drags her right hand along her left arm but there is a table nearby (a small one) which is set up with four syringes, a little dish (like a Petri dish), a “sachet” of heroin (white powder wrapped up into a little square) and liquid of some form. As she is doing this, Geoff (the drug) is slowly walking up behind her; she can’t see him but the audience can. He doesn’t touch her or do anything like puppetry which happens later in the piece; this is a device used to make the audience aware that he is the personification of the drug. They were thinking potentially having Cathy do that as well but I want to make it clear that she is not taking the drug as well and I think it will be more effective and focussed this way.

Unfortunately, this means she does not have much of a part so I’ve been thinking of ways to give her a more significant part and effectively show some of the other symptoms of drug abuse. The thing is that I don’t want to just show that using drugs is bad; I want there to be a focus on the person who is trying to help as well. So it works well that Cathy needs a bigger role and it adds another layer to the piece.

On Wednesday we finished Turning Tables which made me incredibly happy. I’m really happy with the choreography and the way Geoff is working. Our only problems at this stage will fix themselves with rehearsals. The music is working a lot better than Shelter did so it’s great to now that we made the right decision there! I decided to shorten the music so that it could be intense, focussed and polished by the time we perform it !

– Sorry this is up late!

Week 2: IP

Posted in Uncategorized by Savannah on February 13, 2011

I felt a bit blocked this week and I found myself getting easily frustrated. I would get frustrated with myself and then take my frustration out on Geoffrey mainly, who would be understanding which would make me more frustrated – not very productive. And I feel bad for that and did at the time but it was like a horrible cycle.

Saying that, we did get somewhere with “Shelter”. I would do this chronologically but I do not remember the order in which everything happened so I’ll just go through what did happen in no particular order.

I was finding that our choreography was not fitting very well to the music (Shelter by The XX). I love the song and feel the lyrics are very suitable but I wasn’t feeling inspired by it and I felt that what I was choreographing did just not quite work. I was listening to Adele’s new album 21 when I heard the song Turning Tables and I could really feel it. I started by moving to that with no particular structure just doing what came naturally and transfering that choreography to Shelter which was working relatively well but then I just thought – why not use Turning Tables when I had a vision so clearly etched in me? I showed the piece and what I had choreographed to it to Cathy and Geoffrey. I was a bit nervous about their response because I obviously care a lot about what they think and it was a quite a different song and chore (I did incorporate moves/ideas from Shelter into TT). I think they liked it though, although I know they both really liked shelter so maybe we’ll be able to incorporate the song some how… They both agreed that the chore fitted more, so that’s good.

I’m really excited about this section because it shows two extravagantly different sides of the drug and therefore two different sides of the ‘protagonist’. There’s the pair (the drug and the addicted) that work equally, co-operatively and with harmony, presented through mirroring. This, we know, is actually not the case and it therefore exemplifies the manipulative side of the drug; showing the many different attractions that it has. Then there’s the drug that totally controlling and unforgiving, shown – quite obviously, I think – through puppetry. For the puppetry section I want well, me, to have doll like qualities in my movement to show how utterly controlled she is by the drug. Geoff will be entirely unforgiving and rid of all good emotions and feelings. He will be pleased with the power he has over her and intent on pushing her to her limits, and push past them quite easily.

Upon thinking further, I decided to include Cathy as the friend/family member rather than the psychologist/analyist because I was worried about getting the message across. I will be trying to drag her in, towards the drug, and she will be resisting; scared of being engulfed in that life. I think the message is slowly refining itself. I think it’s going towards: you’re allowed to keep yourself away – it’s okay to do that – if you’re scared of being dragged into a life of drugs, etc. Something like that anyway.

Due to my ridiculous cycle of frustration, we had to make a slight change to the schedule/plan of attack for this term. The new plan is to have the chore done for Shelter AKA Turning Tables and Rolling in the Deep done by the end of next week (week 3). I hope I can get my act together this week – I will though, I’m determined to. I hate letting others down so I need to redeem myself.

In other news:

–  I bought the calender for our theatre class to personalise but I forgot my USB with the pictures on it soo I’ll have to get that done early this coming week.

– We had auditions for Alice in Wonderland on Thursday. I went up for Alice and I think I did quite well. I was really happy with my singing audition because I’d been struggling to get my intentions across but seemingly I was able to in my audition because Ms Krilis was quite affected! I think the acting side of the audition was a lot better on my part, or just different maybe. I think this is because of a couple of things: 1. Alice’s character is really close to mine so it’s not exactly a stretch, 2. I was confident that  it was something I could really do well due to point 1. So they are sort of the same, but we find out tomorrow what parts we have and I so hope I get Alice!

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 !

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!!

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…

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.