Monthly Archives: March 2012

Day 9 on the New Writing Course

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What? We’re finished? Where did these two weeks go?

Today we realised what was cooking. All this time we’ve been picking and playing with the raw ingredients Phillip, Sudha and the other speakers been giving us, making up our own little dishes, garnishing them with love and care – today we stepped back and saw that we had a whole buffet. Continue reading


Day 8 on the New Writing Course

Tightrope

The tightrope between commercial success and artistic integrity is something most artists struggle with. During the course so far, we’ve concentrated on process, character development, finding our ‘truths’ and excavating from our portfolio of personal treasures. Commercial success and the business aspect of writing has been bubbling in the background. Every now and then, each of us has got our feet wet; debating and mulling the complexities of how to keep true and make a living from our art. Continue reading


Day 8 on the Design Direct Course

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Yesterday we kicked off with erecting our designs and working with the actors in the space. As per usual it was an exposing, but incredibly fruitful experience for the directors. My anxiety in having to perform these exercises over the years has lessened dramatically and has been fundamental to my learning. It is really difficult to allow your instincts and natural creativity to flow through when your congested with so much fear. So to those next taking the course, work on loosing that first before you apply! It was a real eye opener however, and probably why so many directors (myself guilty of) cannot be entirely honest in the space and prefer to skirt over certain issues in the rehearsal room rather than address it. It’s actually been liberating to be able to say to myself, this part is a bit tricky, I don’t have the answer yet! Having had the chance to observe the process three times also has proved very useful in terms of filtering out the vast amount of information over the last few days. Sound’s weird, but I never knew you could be so honest in a rehearsal room, and more importantly how imperative it was. The last few days have dawned on me hugely, and I realized that regardless of how much admiration I had for the artists that came in to speak with us, including Kristine, it was up to me to find my own voice within it all, and that if I started from this place I can achieve what I think is great work. Continue reading


Day 7 on the New Writing Course

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As someone from a completely different trade, and with no experience of working in the theatre, I have been continually amazed by the self-effacing, inspirational and warm people that I have met over the past 7 days on this course. Simon Stephens who came to “Q and A” us today, was no exception. Although he shared a number of practical writing exercises with us, I actually found myself not wanting to take notes. There was something about the way that he spoke about his work, and the way that he saw the world, that was so different and so fresh-that I just wanted to listen. His use of language, to describe things that I did not think I would be interested in, like viaducts or milestones or 1980s TV, held my attention.  Continue reading


Day 6 on the New Writing Course

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Benazir Bhutto, her personal shopper, beautician, the cook’s mother and many other dodgy characters including a closet anorexic filled Graeae’s sun-filled studio today at Tamasha on day six.

After brief discussion about plays that subvert the three-act play structure we got into reading our new scenes and monologues and I felt well rested enough and confident that I could face the rest of the day without sustaining too much brain frazzling. I should know better but never seem to learn not to pre-empt anything because after the hour-long lunch break I spent soaking up vitamin D in the museum grounds and worming my way into the brains of an anorexic we all returned and Philip exposed his onion.  Don’t even! Continue reading


Day 5 on the Design Direct Course

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Friday 23rd March. The day that I found both space and light.

The last few days have been an intensive experience and my mind has felt overcrowded since day one, incorporating a mass of new information, developing an idea of the text and trying to explore the Venn diagram intersection necessary for a successful collaboration with someone I have only just met. Although Renu and I quite quickly established a shared view of the world of the play, feeling the salon as a fragile, protected space set against a circling, exterior threat, and had agreed on the use of rangoli pattern as an expression of this and the basis of our set, each day bought new considerations to be incorporated into the design. As a result, I could not hold it as a distinct structure in my imagination. The rangoli was encircling me and I could not lift my mind from an endless preoccupation with the ground. Continue reading


Day 4 on the Design Direct Course

I keep finding myself all day writing, in my notebook, notes like:

THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY
There is no one answer!
“there are NO RULES”

Whilst at the same time madly looking for the right way to approach this design, the one answer, the internal rules to govern this production.

At the end of yesterday’s session, I felt like we’d solved it; I’d had some great poetic conversations with Anna [the director I’m working with], and we’d made a fascinating breakdown of the layers of the world of the play. I’d sketched and imagined how all these ingredients would be set neatly against each other, and in my mind I was ready to build the set. But after our tutorial this morning, everything dissolved again. I love that moment, when I’ve built a whole world in sketches and notes, almost solidified it, when an alternative approach is suggested which releases everything I thought I’d fixed from their positions, and everything goes fluid. Continue reading


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