Saturday, 28 March 2009

We have a story FINALLY

On Wedenesday the Creative team finally completed the story for the big show in May. We have been researching stories and structures for the last couple of months and this preperation helped us hugely when we had to write our own stories. We started by each picking a Greek/Egytian myth, I chose Perseus and Medusa, Maria chose an Egytian myth about a man whose death has already been prophesised although you never find out the ending. Emma, like me chose a Greek myth. As a group our favourite story was Maria's because of the ending as well as the srructure which had two places involved and some magic!

We used these stories as a springboard and sat down and discussed together what we thought our story should be. The story seemed to come a from a vortex of ideas although we kept everything we had learnt and researched in mind. After writing down a simple structure we began discussing the detail of the story and then wrote this down in a story format. However, myself and Emma began talking and we felt that the story did not have enough depth to it, it seemed very two dimensional. We discussed this with the rest of the team and they agreed so we added depth to it by introducing a sub-plot between Hapu and Ebonee. Once we start writing the script and start rehearsals I think we will begin to see different dynamics between the characters and I hope this will add some more meat to the story so that the actors and audience can really get their teeth into it.

A very emotional last workshop

On Friday we had our last workshop with th university group at AJS. We have worked with this class for 5 weeks now and it has been amazing. The workshops have been focused around creating a world and writing stories for this world which they then perform. The stories they have created have all been incredibly creative and I have learnt that you can imagine anything and it does not have to be censored. At the end of the workshop yesterday, we asked the students for thier feedback, all of their feedback was very positive with many commenting on the team building skills they had learnt. A lot of the children had loved the performance side of the workshops and had enjoyed being able to stand up and use the whole space. One boy said 'I'm speechless' and another boy explained that before these workshops he had 'not really been into drama, but now he loves it'. I think we could not have asked for better feedback, although negative feedback would have been good so we could see what went wrong. Sometimes I think it is difficult for children to give adults their honest feedback so we did explain to them that negative comments were just as good as positive comments. Clearly we were just brilliant and no negative feedback was necessary!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Robben Island Bible

Yesterday Matthew Hahn one of my drama lecturers gave the first public read through of his new play The Robben Island Bible at Richmond Theatre. All I can say is WOW it was fantastic particularly when you have such a humble and gracious man reading; Jon Kani. Kani is the man that brought us Sizwe Bansi is Dead with Arthol Furgard which I saw at the National a couple of years ago. His presence on stage is so empowering, you feel you can do anything. Speaking to Matt today he said he was nervous about doing the read through himself but was so glad he did it. The play is a verbatim play and takes the Shakespeare quotes which the Robben Island prisoners had highlighted and dated as well as one on one interviews which Matt had had. I really loved the relationship between Matt and John. John was the esteemed actor and had a natural presence and ease with the space. At one point in the read through he stood up and went and had a conversation with Matt. This was brilliant and one of those rare moments in theatre where you know what you are seeing is the total truth.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A bit of a crazy one...

Today I have nearly finished fillind out the London Education Partnership Award application which is seemingly difficult task. The questions they ask are particularly difficult to fully understand and as a result the whole procedure turns into a guessing game. Though once you start writing it does start to make more sense, even if what your writing is incorrect. I gave the award scheme a call and left a nice message but they haven't got back to me so I just carried on without their help.

This weeks meeting we finalised the scheldule for the show. I am happy to say that myself and Emma C. will be working together as the directors. I am aprahensive about this job but excited too! I am going to be working as assisstant director on The Visit which Kieren is directing with the first years acting. Hopefully this will give me more confidence and I will learn how to work with a large ensemble.

This week the creative team have really pegged it up a gear. We have set a deadline for when the story needs to be written and I think we can do it. What I find most difficult is where do you get a story from? I am not a particularly creative person but I really wanted to get my creative juices flowing this year and that is why I chose to be a part of this team. We have made a desicion to find a Greek or Egyptian myth to use as a springboard and have began t brainstorm what we want the structure to look like and what themes we want to incorporate. All we have to do now is create a story that will be loved by EVERYONE!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Once upon a time....

Stories have always been a really important part of my upbringing. Coming from an Irish family I think this was amplified for me. I remember vividly being read to when I was younger and whenever the family get together you always find a new story to listen to, or hear one you haven't heard for ages. I think that storytelling is such an important part of childhood and is definitely needed to bring parents and children closer together. I think this is partly why I wanted to be a part of the creative team.

I have participated in quite a few workshops now and it has become really clear that the children have got amazing imaginations. I truly believe we have the ability to create ANYTHING. The children have given us so many ideas that now we have to sit down and work out what ideas will work for us and them.
The creative team had a meeting on Thursday and we are taking the weekend to find stories from Greek and Egyptian mythology. Then we are going to come together on Monday and look at the main structures and the themes which run through the stories. Then we will pick our favourite and use this as a springboard for our story.

When I was thinking about the stories I liked from a child the first that came to my head was The Lion and the Mouse which is one of Aesop's fables. I think all of Aesop's fables are brilliant and I always loved reading them when I was younger. I like the fact that they are all very simple and have a clear beginning, middle and end and since they are fables all make a very clear point. Other stories I loved when I was a child were the Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh stories. I don’t think anyone can deny that A.A Milne was a brilliant writer.
When researching Greek myths I remembered read the story of Perseus and Medusa when I was at school. I enjoyed reading the story again and it allows your imagination to run wild. I can see in my minds eye the three Fates and creating the costume for Medusa. The story is this;
Perseus and Medusa

Once there was a good king, but he died. His bad brother killed him so that he could be king. The bad brother needed to get rid of the good king's wife (Danae) and baby (Perseus), but he was afraid to kill them too. So he put them in a wooden chest and he dropped the wooden chest in the ocean. After a long time they drifted ashore in a new kingdom. Perseus and his mother Danae stayed there while Perseus grew up. But after a while the king of the new place wanted to marry Danae, but she didn't want to marry him. This king wanted to get rid of Perseus for awhile so he could make Danae marry him. So the king sent Perseus on a quest, to kill the monster Medusa and bring back her head.

At first Perseus didn't know where to find Medusa, so he went and asked the three Fates. The Fates were very old and they only had one eye and one tooth between them and they took turns every day, passing the eye and the tooth between them. When Perseus came to them, at first they didn't want to tell him where Medusa was. But Perseus waited until they were passing the eye from one to another, and so none of them could see. Then he quick grabbed the eye! The Fates had to tell Perseus where Medusa was in order to get their eye back.
Then Perseus met the god Hermes, who gave him winged sandals to wear so he could fly to where Medusa was, and fight from the air. And he met the goddess Athena, who gave him a sword and a shield. Athena told Perseus not to look at Medusa or her ugliness would turn him to stone. Instead he should use the shield as a mirror and look in that to cut off Medusa's head.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

The key to my heart <3

Yesterday myself and Mark went to see Stovepipe at West 12 shopping centre opposite Westfields. Lately I have gone off theatre a bit. I have not seen anything which has really grabbed me in the first few minutes so I've been wrongly or rightly getting a bit bored. But yesterday I was put back on track. Promenade theatre is the key to my heart I think. This show created by National Theatre, Bush Theatre and Hightide had everything a good play needed; good writing; good acting and good direction. I was completly engaged the whole time and really felt apart of the story. Sometimes I find it hard to relate to actors when they are on a typical stage but this was not the case yesterday. The whole cast were engaging and I was really able to connect with the story through them.

The show wasn't too in your face either. Although it is a play about Iraq and the impact war has on soldiers I didn't feel like I was being bombarded with a one-sided argument. I felt that I was being given the opportunity to make up my own mind.

From Year 3 to Year 7 in a day!

This week was the beginning of our schools workshops. We are aiming for at least 30 and we have already done 4 so we are doing well. I have participated in 3 so far , 2 at Crane Park Primary and 1 at The Green School. Before we went into Crane Park I was really nervous as I had never done any drama workshops with primary school children before. However once we got started it was brilliant! The children really responded to our interpretation of Egypt and helped us a lot by using their imagination. We have lots of good material from them like a tree of sweets, a princess who is very friendly but is quite lonely because she isn’t like a normal girl. Going into the school proved to us that we can actually do anything in our show and as long as we believe in it the children will believe in it to.

The Year 7’s we worked with were very lively. They are a drama club and so are very enthusiastic about the whole project. I think they are very excited about the fact that will be helping us design the project. We started the workshop with a name game; Prisoner and Guard and then played Bang Splat which the children already knew how to play. Then we played Yes Lets which really got them riled up. After this I had to tell them a story but because they had so much energy I had to find a way to calm them down so I asked them to lie on the floor and take deep breaths in and out. This really helped and they listened to the story without any fidgeting or talking. We then put them into four different groups and they created an improvisation to finish off the story. The work they came up with was all really nice, though slightly 2-D but I think once we start working with them more they will create more meaty performances.