Saturday, 3 December 2011

What he said.

Reading a recent Third Angel post in which Alex talks about the Inspiration Exchange a few sentences struck a cord;

"Performance in as much as we know whats going to happen and they dont; or, at least, we know more about whats going to happen than they do. We dont know what theyre going to do or say. We hope that they will do or say more than they would have expected, had we told them in advance, what was going to happen.

Their interaction is what makes the work. It cannot even be properly rehearsed without an audience member sitting opposite. Making the performance involves making the space in which the audience member is allowed - encouraged - to be active, be open, be creative. A space in which they feel comfortable enough to think about things, talk about things that at, say, 10 o’clock that morning, they hadnt thought about for days, weeks, even years."

What struck me is that this is exactly how I feel about The Reservation. Ellie and I were recently asked to discuss our process and the intentions behind the piece for a zine I Stood Up And I Said Yeah and I wish I had been as eloquent as Alex. 

You can read the whole post on the Third Angel blog.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Christmas is a difficult enough time...

... for people who have lost someone. Holidays remind us of those we love and their absence, of happy times shared, and the adverts of all the happy families and adoring couples don't help much (they're not great for single people either but that is an entirely different issue).

I have to admit that the memory of James going into surgery to have a tumor "the size of an orange" removed on Christmas Day the year before he died aside, for me, Christmas is no more painful than any other time of year. At least it wasn't until X-Factor released a version of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah, in a bid for the infamous Christmas number one, couple of years ago.

Because this is the song that played as his coffin rolled into the flames.

And I can't listen to it without tearing up. It's not a conscious thing, if I hear more than a couple of lines it just kind of happens so I have to leave the room or turn the volume off (may never be able to watch Shrek EVER again).

So, this is where my problems start because now this bloody song is a Christmas single which means it gets played EVERY BLOODY YEAR!!! Along with Mad World by Gary Jules which was played as the coffin was carried IN to the funeral... (don't get me started on how much I hate him for ruining two perfectly good songs forever). It is no longer just playing on a loop in every sodding shop but the buskers are at it too. I nearly deafened myself turning my headphones up to full volume while attempting to run past the busker outside Next today, looking like some kind of nutter.

So what is my point? Maybe that we should think about what song we might like played at our funerals and not pick classic tunes that we might forever ruin for those we leave behind...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

This one is for you

I found out about 90 minutes ago that my best friend's father has died. I knew it was coming and yet I am shaken. She's miles away and I cannot be there for her. Rationally I know there is nothing I could do even if I were. Her life has changed forever.

And the beautiful sychronicity of life is that today is my father's birthday. And I am shaken.

Today Jimmy Saville, who lived in Leeds and had a house in Scarborough where she and I met, had his coffin on display today ahead of his funeral in Scarborough tomorrow. And I am shaken.

Next Friday I will be performing in The Queen's Hotel in Leeds where Jimmy Saville's coffin was on display today. And I am shaken.

The show I made and will be performing in is about grieving. And I am shaken.

Death is everywhere. It touches every life. It is the only certainty we will ever face. And I am shaken.

This post is long overdue...

I must have started this some time in the week of the 22 August and it is now November. It is so long ago that I have no idea why I hesitated to post it at the time. Hmmm... Anyway. For all four of my followers - here it is!

Making The Reservation - we're in week two now so perhaps this post is long overdue. The deed is almost done. Tomorrow is the last day of rehearsals for now...

But it's been good, really good. Not easy but good. The piece has changed dramaticially since we scratched it at ARC and at Sunday Lunch Club in July. Many of the themes remain and the heart of the piece while having shifted is still an investigation in to grief, the sufferers of and the suffering from grief.

Will I still be dressed as an Elephant? Maybe, maybe not. Will I spend hours crying in a bathroom... No. Thankfully. I'm really not sure my throat could withstand it. Then again, I may not be 'in' it at all.

It will be a repectful and tender performance for one person at a time which I hope people will love. I am immensly proud to have been a part of it.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Flying solo...

It's not a new concept. In many ways I have been going solo for a long time. I'm just usually doing it with other people.

I know I'm not making much sense. What else in new?

It's just that I'm trying to get away from the day job, the daily grind. Especially now that my daily grind has nothing to do with what I know best. Theatre. So, how do I change that? I have already begun a little light freelancing for Theatre in the Mill and every week this is like a breath of fresh air. They are such passionate, creative and, dare I say, eccentric people. Just the kind of people I want to be working with. I'm also making The Reservation with Ellie in my 'spare' time.

These are the things that make me feel alive and so I'd like to do more. Of both if I can. More freelance work for theatres and theatre makers, more performance work with gorgeous, wildly creative people like Ellie and Pete.

The CV's (all three of them!) are up to date, the portfolio is being updated... And so begins the long and, I imagine, painful road of applying and applying for jobs, meeting people, networking and looking very hard to find that work which I so badly want.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Feeling scent-imental

I am endlessly fascinated by the link between the senses and memory. No doubt someone cleverer than I has written much on the subject.

I started to think about the links between music and memory last year with a performance action called Memory Jukebox where I put my music library on shuffle and as pertinent songs came up I tried to draw or scribe the related memory and send it to the person included in it - the action of their reading it becoming a kind of remote performance. It is something I have considered revisiting but I think the idea needs work. The driving force behind it remains with me however as I am rarely without my iPod and the soundtrack to my life. It is the specifity that always surprises me. The detail of the memories invoked and the emotional impact of almost reliving the moment.

Scent is much the same, and brings me back to the inspiration for this post. I am on a train to Bridlington to see family. At Selby station I was hit by the strong smell of turps and was immediately reminded of the boy I had my first 'proper' kiss with. Adrian Deveril was two years older than me and I was 13, hopelessly innocent and a little scared by his attention. The day in question his friends announced he intended to ask me out and were to take me to him. So of course I ran away and hid. In the art room where I got black paint on my brand new ski-jacket. I was gripped with a brand new fear now. My Mum was going to KILL me! So some bright spark suggested we wash it with turps. Which is exactly what we were doing when the boys found me.

The paint never came off and the smell of turps lingered for much of our 2 month relationship. Therefore turps equals Adrian.
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Saturday, 26 March 2011

A virtual protest

I am not much of a drawer but this is my pitiful attempt at a #virtualprotest banner.

Uploaded to in a show of solidarity for those who went to London today in an attempt to have their voices heard regarding the frightening cuts this government are imposing, across the board, that will have a detrimental effect on the future of our country and hit the poorest the hardest.

These are the things I fear the most for but I appreciate that the emergency services, local goverment and the NHS have also been hit hard and we must not give up fighting for any of them.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Hunting the elephant

Three days spent 'hunting the elephant' in the gorgeous (but freezing cold) shop units in the Corn Exchange with Ellie, a costume designer, a scenographer and another performer/video artist. The joining of four spaces allowed us to play with proximity and distance. Framing and reflections of self. Hidden and revealed. Public and private grief.

How do we share what we feel? And what is appropriate?

We are getting closer to discovering the frame for our investigation and a way of bringing the elephant out in to the open.

Next step - trying a different kind of space and see what that reveals.

I can't wait to see what we find.