Sunday, 21 December 2008

Please Mrs Butler by Allan Ahlberg

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps copying my work, Miss.
What shall I do?

Go and sit in the hall, dear.
Go and sit in the sink.
Take your books on the roof, my lamb.
Do whatever you think.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps taking my rubber, Miss.
What shall I do?

Keep it in your hand, dear.
Hide it up your vest.
Swallow it if you like, love.
Do what you think best.

Please Mrs Butler
This boy Derek Drew
Keeps calling me rude names, Miss.
What shall I do?

I remember seeing this poem performed at the Polka Theatre and loving it.

Lock yourself in the cupboard, dear.
Run away to sea.
Do whatever you can, my flower.
But don't ask me!

Friday, 19 December 2008

The BIG project

The first meeting we had yesterday for the big community project has made me very very excited!  Like Emma C. I am excited about being on the creative team, I am going to try and read lots of children's stories over the Christmas break.  

I created the DIC 2009 Facebook group this morning and have uploaded a few photos from last years Helios.  They are photos of the costumes mainly and the puppets that Tina's niece taught the group how to make.  We now have a board for the group and will hopefully get an office soon.  I think an office is really important  so we have a space in which we can log on to the computer, and have a phone where we can be contacted by schools.  It also means we have one place where all paperwork is, so that no one has to take the work off campus and make it more easier to lose!  I think having an office will make us work in a more professional way because we will be on a corridor with other lecturers and we will be expected to behave accordingly.  

I like the idea of working with 'disabled' children and 'mainstream' children.  I think we could create some really fantastic work by doing this but I think it will be a massive challenge.  But I don't think that is a bad thing whatsoever!

As I live very near Wimbledon I am going to go to the Polka Theatre over the break and go and play in their back garden!  And see a show or 2.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Charlie and Lola

I first read the Charlie and Lola books a few years ago when I worked in small indpendent book shop on the lovely Wandsworth Common. The stories revolve around Charlie and his little sister Lola. The plot is always about everyday things that happen to small children, from their first day of school to not wanting to eat tomatoes. I think that the amazing thing about these stories, and the reason they have captured the hearts of children and parents everywhere is the fact that even thought the characters are illustrated they are very real. The stories do not patronise the children and often have subtle humour for the adults. I think all children should read the stories not just watch them on television!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Danielle has inspired me to write something about a book I read when I was travelling!

Its about a man who escapes from a prison in australia (he was a heroin addicted and armed robber). He travels to Inida where he meets a lot of people who he helps and who help him. But what I want to tell you about is a community who goes to live with in Bombay (you might know it as Mumbai where recently there has been terrorist attacks). He lives in a slum and he says it is the only place he can call home. The communtiy he describes is what I think a community should be like. There is a leader but he is a fair person, he rules by true democracy. All the people who live in the slum are in the same condition, they live in poverty and are at constant risk of their houses being burnt down or just falling down. But at the heart of this community is love. At one point a man who is very drunk is found to have beaten his wife nearly to death. The community rallied round and helped the woman but more amazing is how they dealt wit the man. He was punished severly as you would expect. The leader tells the man he will not drink ever again and will work very hard to earn lots of money. The wife will not see him for two months and after that time she will decide if she wants to go back to him. At this point the man will have to spend the money he was worked for on a holiday where they can reconcile their relationship. The whole community supports both the man and woman, even if they do not think it is right. There are many other examples in the story of how this great community works. I really recommend this book. It has many suprises and is a rollercoaster of emotion!

I could talk about this book for a very long time so I'm going to stop here...

Friday, 5 December 2008

That feeling you get......

when you know someone has read your blog and responded.  I think its such a great thing we are doing this year in Community.  At first I didn't know if I was blogging the right sort of stuff but now if I have felt something about something, I automatically think  'ooo I'll post a blog'!  

Thursday, 4 December 2008

A Utopian Drama Department

In class today we discussed our ideal 'drama department' adn were encouraged to write about it on our that is what I am going to do now!

Firstly, I would want more rehearsal spaces, because as you get nearer to performances it becomes harder to find a proper space to rehearse. I would also want them to be soundproofed. At Central School of Speech and Drama they have soundproofed rooms; so why not us?

I would want an actual theatre. We were meant to have a 'theatre' by Christmas last year but all we have is an unusuable foyeye. I think this is important because it means there is a space which cannot be used for lectures, which means that when you are performing it doesn't feel like your performing to your class.

Proper technical things as well, like up to date lighting and sound boards and a props cupboard which has fully working and usable props.

I think the drama department spaces should feel like they belong to everyone, so then everyone will feel pride in them....I'm not sure how we go about this.

Although, the lecturers we have are great, I think there is a need for a few more, so that we can have the best from various strands of drama.

I think we should have more training from the first year. I know for me the first year was a bit of a farce. I didn't learn that much and I didn't care about it either. I was never challenged, so I never had to take risks. I think if your taught to really care about your work from the moment you start your degree, then your commitment level thorughout the three years is automatically upped.

There is also a need for links with the professional world, outside the lighting and costume modules. Maybe agencies should be asked to come and see work put on by students, this will mean the bar will be raised, and as I have already said, the commitment levels upped too.

I'm sure I will thing of some more things, but this is it for now.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Day out on the South Bank

A cold, windy day out on the South Bank with my best friend.  We were very cultural and went to the National Theatre to see 'The Half' exhibition.  We both really liked the photos, which were taken over the years in the half before a performance goes up.  There was a real nostalgia to the exhibition and the actors were incredibly well captured.  

Then it was off to the Tate Modern.  I must admit I am not the most knowledgeable person about art but I do appreciate it I think.  But some of the things in the Tate Modern I did not understand.  Not even when I read the bios.  I felt so ignorant wandering around without clue.  

All in all it was nice to have a wander down The Thames and take nice photos.  We found a great little place where you can get lunch and have coffee and take great pictures!

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Surreal Line

This is an exhibition on at The Oval House Theatre at the moment and it is brilliant!  Some of the images were funny, others disturbing and some I didn't understand at all.  If I could afford the £250 that some of these photos are selling for I would definitely buy one, but I am a poor, struggling student so I guess I will have to wait until I'm rich.  But it was given me a bit of inspiration to go on the London Underground with my own camera and see what I can capture!

The above photo 'Room for more?' was my favourite!

The Surreal Line


The Surreal Line is a series of images taken from an ongoing project, documenting moments of chance on the London Underground where static billboards and posters coalesce with the world around them. 

I'm interested in how these advertisements, specifically designed for delivering one message, can have that story completely hijacked - often by the mere framing of a window - creating an entirely new context. Commuters, who are somewhat static, withdrawn, and locked in their own private routines, are oblivious to these momentary collisions. I'm fascinated by these chance encounters, and needless to say I gave up reading on the tube after my first trip on the surreal line.

Yusuf Ozkizil

Yard Gal

I operated the lights for Yard Gal on Saturday.  I saw the play at St Mary's in February and am so happy its been taken to The Oval House Theatre.  If you didn't see it you missed out!  Stef O'Driscoll is a inspiration to all us undergraduates, as well as Monsey Whitney and Stefanie Di Rubbo.  Its so nice to see that St Mary's students are capable of such amazing theatre.  The play is a hard hitting story about two girls caught up in the life style of drugs, gangs and violence.  The beginning is funny and you aren't quite sure what you have got yourself into.  By the end you have laughed, cried and can really understand Boo and Marie's friendship.  Stef and Monsey really pull of the friendship needed on stage.  There is a real chemistry there and I think O'Driscoll made a really important decision when she focused on their friendship more than the violence.  Hopefully, the play will retuning to our theatres soon for some more great acting and directing!

Love's Labour's Lost

I was very excited about seeing this play.  Its directed by Peter Hall, who obviously has a good reputation for his Shakespeare.  I saw his Uncle Vanya last year at the same theatre; The Rose in Kinsgton and I loved it.  The set, costume, sound, lighting, acting was consistent with eachother and the play made sense to me.  I had never read it before and was expecting it to be a little boring but I was pleasently suprised.  However, when I went to see Hall's Shakespeare I was not very happy.  The acting was wonderful, the play was coming to the end of its run and so the actors were all comfortable with the text and eachother.  But the set, costume and lights were not great and not consistent with eachother.  The set had large iron gates in the centre which looked lovely but on either side of the stage there were two jacob ladders (thats what Al tells me they are called).  I think the jacob ladders are apart of the The 

Rose's stage but they are horrible to look at.  What really annoyed me was that the actors used the ladders which had clearly not been invented in the time the play was set.  The costumes were nice and seemed to add to the world of the play, but there was no set.  You had to rely on the actors completely to give you a picture of what was going on.  The lights did not help this.  There was a blur of red, browns and greens on the back wall which really did not make sense to me.  The first rule of lighting design is lights are for visibility.  These lights were definitely not for visibility and they did not add atmosphere so they were very unnecessary!  
Apart from the set, costume, lights I did think the actors did a marvelous job.  

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Saving Africa's Witch Children

Channel 4 Dispatches aired a programme today about the belief in Niger Delta which says that some children are witches.  Sudden deaths, poor harvests and other ailments are often blamed on small children, who are then abused, abandoned and even killed by their families and communities.  Once a child is stigmatised it is often very difficult for them to be accepted back into their communities.  The documentary is focused on the situation in Akwa Ibom where the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network has the only rescue centre for abandoned children in the area.  Gary Foxton is an englishman who with his charity Stepping Stones Nigeria helps to fund the rescue centre.  He is a regular visitor to the area even though it is very dangerous westerners to go to.  The programme comes to an end with Gary taking the children from the rescue centre to lobby government.  He wants Akwa Ibom to enforce a law which is enacted elsewhere in Nigeria which makes the abuse of children illegal.  

This documentary has really inspired me.  I hope that once I graduate and have made a bit of money I will be able to travel to Africa to work with charities that help disadvantaged communities like the 'witch children'.  I would love to be able to use drama in these situations to help children just have fun and be able to be educated so that they have a brighter future than previous generations!

If you have 4OD I definitely recommend watching the documentary if you haven't seen it already!

Same Same but Different

During the summer I went traveling through Thailand and Malaysia, I had a really wonderful time and met some amazing people  who I will hopefully keep in contact with.  During my time overseas I felt there was a huge backpacker community and wherever you were you always had the ability to meet people and become friends.  Even though the same questions get asked and usually have the same answers you know you can sit on the beach or in a cafe and meet someone who you have something in common with.  The long journeys on small mini buses with crazy drivers who seem to not have the ability to use a brake are scary but you always find people to share food, stories and games with.  

It is completely different in the Western world.  I traveled up to Newcastle a few weeks ago by coach.  On the whole journey I spoke to one person.  I found it so odd that there wasn't that sense of 'we are all in this together'  (it was a 7 hour coach trip).  

I think what I am saying is that I find it so strange that on the other side of the world you can make amazing short term and long life friends but in the UK you have to have school, work or other friends in common to become friends and gain a sense of community.  

Thursday, 9 October 2008

From lighting design to pyrotechnics

Last year I studied lighting design and stage management. This gave me many opportunities to work back stage on many of the performances on at uni. It also gave me the opportunity to work as a lighting designer for a play at the Battersea Arts Centre and I also worked as the pyrotechnician and as part of the production team for the community project last year. Helios a 3rd year drama in the community project gave me an incredible insight into the course. What was truly amazing about the project was how many people it encompassed and how much experience was gained by each member of the project. Although there were many people involved in the project and some might think this would cause arguments, the group came together as a real community and missed the project so much once it was finished.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Walworth Farce

A couple of weeks ago I went to the National Theatre to see Enda Walsh's new play The Walworth Farce'.

After leaving the glorious green pastures of Cork, a father and his two sons arrive in the grey paved roads of Elephant and Castle.  Where they spend many years in total solitude replaying the story of the moments before they left.  The play is shockingly similar to that of the Fritzl story from earlier in the year.  However, I felt pity for this man who made a massive mistake but is ultimately doing everything in his power to keep his family safe; whether  this is for the right reasons or not.  

By the end of the play, it was as if the audience had been hit by a truck.  I went from love to hate, from laugher to crying all in the space of two hours.  The play hit on themes of poverty in inner city London and the ignorance achieved when children are literally kept under lock and key.  Although, a huge mix of emotion; a ‘tour de force’ my Grandmother tells me, the actors achieved an engaged audience, who seemed to respond to Enda Walsh’s portrayal of a father’s warped way to keep his family safe.  

Drama in the Community 09

I am so excited about Drama in the Community! I would really love to work in a big group for the project. There are both pros and cons to working in a big group and I here are a few pros....

If someone doesn't turn up to a rehearsal or meeting then its not as big of a loss as working in a smaller group because there will always be people to pick up the slack,

you can bounce ideas off of people all the time

we will effectively be working as a 'professional' company so there will be more chances for sponsorship which means MONEY which means extra special things to do....for example pyrotechnics!

It also means we get to work on a much bigger scales so more people from the community can become involved.