Friday, 1 October 2010

Rehearsal Blog 7: What We Think About The World

Here's Lauren's report from the first half of last week - which was Week 4 of the devising/rehearsal process.

Rehearsal Blog 7: What We Think About the World?
The first task of the week was to do further work on the opening of the show, as it felt important to use the introduction as an implicit statement of intent, and to have it decided in the performers’ heads. This didn’t quite go to plan however, as discussion drifted back to the intentions of the show as a whole.

The material at times feels like the results of a fact finding mission (this perhaps reflects the methodology of getting the stories in the first place), and it was thought that maybe this should be embraced; the show is a snapshot of the world, the performers have heard about it and are ‘reporting back’ to the audience. This allows for the idea that the world the performers describe can only be their interpretation of it, as well as using Portuguese and native tongues when naming countries.

Alex’s ideas about the show changed a lot over the weekend, and some of them were discussed and tried out. He suggested there should be 24 stories, one for each time zone (though this isn’t mentioned to the audience), and that they should be placed on a map but not a literal one, perhaps one made from spotlights. The stories should be character focused, although not necessarily the central character(s). There was debate about whether having a map on stage all the way through would create the same problems that using lots of flat daddies would. Perhaps markings on the floor could suggest a map?

Sifting through the material already generated, and choosing other stories to make a total of 24, quickly made it obvious that this was too many. There were also big geographical gaps in story locations; it wasn’t decided definitively if this was important or not. It was agreed that the rest of the week should be spent developing each of the stories not yet touched on, with the aim of putting it all together on Friday for a run-through. For the time being connecting the stories was not important.

On Tuesday, the Brand Awareness, Radio Silence and Emergency Exit stories were looked at in more detail, which bought up thoughts about the physical aspect of the show. What should performers not actively involved in a story do; should they be on or off stage, should they be setting something else up for a future story, should they just disappear for a bit? Minimising the number of props used, and using them several times was thought to be a cleverer way of dealing with telling some stories. For example a radio is being used during Radio Silence, but could also be used for Massacre, Night Flight and Sin Line. This way all the props could be on the stage all the time, in line with the store room aesthetic the group have been discussing.

The development of Radio Silence induced an interesting debate, as it tells a story where sympathy for an Israeli family could be inferred as taking sides in a particular, complex conflict. Should the way the stories are presented be influenced by the performers’ opinions; does this make it not What I Heard About the World, but What We Think About the World? Some discussion about whether the show was obligated to mention Palestine in the interests of balance, or whether this was too much comment, and the show should just to present the world as they have found it. The performance is a version of the world, and the audience should be allowed to take from it and create their own, new world. 

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