Thursday, 1 October 2009

Breaking in

I moved to Manchester about 4 weeks ago, and I was just thinking about how when you move somewhere new, that isn't for uni, its quite a strange and exciting thing. I am starting from scratch, apart from my house mates, who consist of my partner, and two good friends I knew from a work based community, back where I went to uni.

I found myself getting 'tasters' of different communities since I have been here, dipping in and out of small social circles through one of my house mates. I took part in a meeting tonight which was about organising a big arts festival, and offered my experience towards it, now does that mean, since I am offering to contribute, that I have become part of that community. I worked for a temp agency last night, and worked with people I had never met before, who, by the end of the shift, became friends.

I don't feel that I am part of any social group as it were, but maybe all I need to do is to keep dipping in and out of different groups, and see where I fit in the best.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

I need a blooming job I tell you!

I found my dream job the other day, it's for a 'Creative Learning Practitioner' in a theatre in Lancaster, now unfortunatley thats too far from where I will be living, but it sounds awesome! You get to create and run workshops, do things within the community, and direct shows for the youth theatre! How good does that sound?! Unfortunatley they want someone with 'experience', but I don't have that much, but how are you meant to gain experience, when every single job you want, wants you to be experienced! arrrggg! It's a vicious circle. Also, there are millions of voluntary jobs available, but I need to be paid for it! Volunteering, unfortunatley, isn't really an option any more. So, if anyone hears of anything, like the job I described above, let me know!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

oh no, what will our local councils do next!

Rosie told me something rather disturbing earlyer. Sutton Council, yes Sutton Council are pouring an un-affordable £4million into a youth centre that....wait for it. That will have a virtual street, with virtual drug dealers and peodofiles in order to teach primary school children, yes, primary school children about street crime and violence. What? Why? All a child needs to do is, watch the news! Or go out! or talk to people! We say that children spend to much time inside being unsociable playing on there computers and then some mad person decides, lets make a virtual reality, to teach them about reality! What? If you want a child to gain life experience, send them outside to play, they will see, and hear things, but no, lets coop them up in cyber space and teach them about reality in hyperreality! ahhhhh!

This makes us worried to, I want to go in to community theatre, I want to be able to teach people things, through community theatre, how am i, and a bunch of other just about to graduate theatre fanatics, going to do this when virtual reality is taking over the world? How I ask you?


Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Pub communities

I work in a pub called the Cabbage Patch, in Twickenham. Its a big put right next to the train station and is very successful and nice place to go for the family, for friends. Its a good place to meet, eat, socialise, party, get smashed, make a mess of the toilets, start a fight with your best friend...

I like pubs, I like drinking, but when the time comes when you've had a enough to drink, you can't stop? Personally, I have some self control, other people don't. I was in the pub one time when two best friends started a fight with one another, the stronger one of the two grabbed hold of a pool que and smashed it over his best friends head. Why? Because he was angry and pissed. Not a good combination. The influence of alchol on our bodies and minds also holds a certain degree of influence over the decisions we make when it comes to the people around us. I could be drunk, someone might innocently bump in to me and I might hit the roof and swear at that person, not because I'm a nasty person, but because I'm drunk.

I love the sort of drunk you might get when your feeling over confident, you talk to people you might never talk to, tell someone you like there outfit, and ask them where they got it from when your in the loos. When your dancing (of a sort) you might grab the nearest person next to you and dance with them, just because you like the song and want someone to share a moment with you. I find it strange how little social groups might form or fall apart, just from the influence of alcohol. The enjoyment of a football match might unite one side of the pub, and not the other, or vise versa. There's the people in the resaurant and people by the bar, people outside smoking, all these small social groups that form, shift change and dispearse, everyday. Interesting is it not?

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The end of the first week

Myself and Rosie have just completed the first weeks worth of rehearsals, it was hard work but I think we got somewhere, especially on friday where we created to new scenes and even tried running through everything we had so far. Mark asso came a long and helped us make the scenes a bit jucier. He said that it needed to be a bit ruder so we tried this, I think we might have been letting the barrier of 'there just children be present to much and I think we underestimate at times what the children will like. Therefore we worked on making the performance style a bit more 'older' but still tried to keep the blocking simple as to keep a clear focus.

We have founf problems this week with regards to blocking as we cannot start rehearsing in Chiswick part yet, therefore we have to try and think about the park's lay out as well as the blocking of the scenes. We decided not to worry to much, as long as the actors know the scenes well enough, re-blocking shouldn't be to hard.

Monday, 20 April 2009

The first rehearsal!

We had the first rehearsal for 'The Shrinking Land of Kalku'. I think personally that it went very well, we have pretty much made the first scene, just needs to be rehearsed and scripted more but otherwise a very good start to the rest of the rehearsal process. We will be rehearsing with the different character groups on a seperate basis but then having full cast rehearsals on the friday so we can begin tying scenes together.

This was my first experience in directing and I quite enjoyed it, I didn't really know exactly what I was doing but it worked and Rosie and I pulled it off and I feel we did a good job. I think once we get confident in our roles and comfortable with being directors and making bold decisions we will begin to flow well and get a lot done.

Friday, 10 April 2009

I got back from Manchester yesterday, and I believe its true what they say, people are a bit more friendly up north. I don't know why, and I'm sure (as I am a southener myself) that southern people are very nice people, but perhaps don't show that they are in front of strangers as much as the northern lot. It's just a thought, disagree or agree with me if you want.

It's strange that In London that when you walk around, whilst on a day out that you feel rushed, don't walk slow, they will trample you, or take you with them, regardless of whether you want to go that way or not. In Manchester I felt as ease, relaxed and calm and walked around at my own pace.

Is it the city that makes the people or the people that make the city? Why have londeners got this mentallity of go go go? Why do mancunian's seem to be more laid back? It's a mystry. Lets not even talk about Scotland!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Casting the show

The casting yesterday for me was very successful, myself and Rosie got to see everyone working together and on an individual basis. We went in already casted the show as we had an idea of who we wanted to play each character. However, after having watched them play out a scene and a monologue each we found we had very different ideas of who would be good at what. We played a character based game with them where they had to stand on chairs and play out all sorts of different characters in different situations. I found myself drawn to people who were the most playful and who started doing something the moment the stood on the chair. It showed us who would suit a playful role, who would suit a serious role and thus helped us see who could play each character.

The casting also suprised us and we ended up casting people in roles that we might not have expected to cast them in, which i think is a good thing as everyone exceeded expectations. Myself and Rosie are looking forward to directing the show as everyone in the community project is commited and excited about the final project therefore making the rehearsal process (hopefully) very enthusiastic and fun.

We will be rehearsing with the four main tribes people very closely while infusing that with working with the more cameo based roles such as Milky Magician. We will then have a full company rehearsal every friday so we can start running things and working together as a full company.

Rosie and I have also decided to meet together with Skye in order to prepare for the following weeks worth of rehearsals, by doing this we hope to be able to keep on top of everything and resolve any problems we might have faced in the previos week.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Giving the story away.

It felt strange last thursday telling the story because it felt like we were letting everyone else on a secret. There was a lot of hype about it and we felt that there was a lot of pressure on us to come up with something original. I also tried to keep an emotional distance from the story as I knew that it would have to be up to the design team to make it come to life, and as I director, I don't want to have too much ownership over the story as I know it will probably change and shift in direction when we start working on it. Therefore, looking at it from an objective angle from after easter is good because the story will start to create its own identity when myself and rosie start directing it.

I have never directed before so I am very keen to start and I think Rosie and I will be able to work together well. I want to, before anything else, do a lot of company ensemble work as I feel that being in four seperate teams for so long has hindered us ( in some respect) from working as one. Therefore I want everyone to get to know each other again and get used to acting in an ensemble.

The shrinking Land of Kalku

On our last meeting the creative team told the rest of the Golden Travellers the story for the play at Chiswick house.

The story is about the land of Kalku which starts to shrink after the oldest member of the land dies, the rest of the dwellers then lose their faith in life thus causing the magic tree (need to think of a name for it) that provides everything they need to survive to die which then causes the land to shrink, pushing the dwellers into the human world. Once out in the human world members of different tribes are forced to come together to try and save Kalku. They are given clues by the elders of the tribes and so go on a journey together. On their way they meet Milky Magician, Kenneth the sad Caterpillar, The queen of the Water Nymphs, The Sphinx and the tree tricksters who give them tasks to do in order to gain pieces of a puzzle that they need to solve. While all of this is happeing the tree tricksters pop up now and again reiking havok and playing pranks on the protagonists while they try and complete the tasks. They also capture Hapu (one of the main characters) when he decides that he doesn't want to work together with the rest of the tribes and leaves to try and save Kalku by himself.

The rest of the tribes people, when they get to the magic tree, discover that Hapu has been imprisoned and have to try and let him free. Hapu refuses to apologise so the tricksters go to roast him on a barbeque (maybe) when they are stopped by the rest of the tribes people when they say that they want to abolish the tribes and live togehher happily and peacefully and that they don't mind that people die, they accept that there is a circle of life. The tricksters are touched by this and let Hapu go. They then get to complete the puzzle causing the tree to regain life and the world returns to it's normal size. They then celebrate by having a party.

For me, the story is about forgetting differences and learning to work together. As the schools we have been working in are vastly multi-cultural, we saw fit to make this a theme in the story so that perhaps the children take away from it and begin intergrating more with their class mates and thus when growing up take a more intergrated approach to their lives. The story is also about belief and faith, where faith is lost but regained and shows that if you keep faith then good things might happen.

I think that the play will work well when all put together as the children will be taken on a journey with the characters and will also give them a chance (in the second show) to be with their parents on this journey and also perhaps make parents see that culture shouldn't be something that keeps us seperate but something that brings us togehter.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

In order to make more head way on getting started making this story myself and the rest of the creatve team decided that we needed to find a stimulus to begin with, we need something that we can develop and play with. I find that just throwing in ideas doesn't work as we begin to get bogged down on wanting to do too many things, and we begin to get ahead of ourselves. Therefore we are going to research Egyption and Greek myths to find a story we really like and want to explore.

Also in our meeting today we talked a bit about culture. In going into the schools in the last two weeks I have noticed how diverse they are in culture, many children have English as their second language, thus children are from different cultures and countries. I want to perhaps address this in our story, can we find a way of celebrating difference and perhaps bring different cultures together in order to make a wider and more diverse community? I want the story to perhaps detail a confrontation and resolution to perhaps take a children to a dark place in order to bring them out of it. Also the ideas that the children have in the workshops are very interesting and I am excited about pulling out maybe characters and situations that arise in the workshop environment.

Saturday, 28 February 2009

The Golden Travellers!

There has been some progress in the big community project and we are now beginning to run workshops in primary and secondary schools. Crane Park Community school wants it to be about Egyptions as they are learning about it in class so last week we took an Egyption Myth and ran a workshop about it. We were very well recieved by the school and the children responded to the workshop material very well. I played the Pharoh throughout the workshop and was constantly in role which kept the children engaged all the way through as they kept reacting to me when I walked over to each of the three groups. It was a good device to have as it brought the story to life and children really believed in what they were doing and it allowed their imagination to be further extended as they believed the tasks they were doing was for the benefit of the Pharaoh.

We are also doing a workshop at a primary school which is aiding their Book week which therefore will give myself, Rosie, Hardeep and Maria to chance to see what sort of stories the children like to tell or be told which will hopefully help us begin to devise a structure for the story of the final project. It's exciting because we are beginning to get an idea of what children like, what devices in stories children find effective and the sort of characters that they will respond well to.

The venue is also looking very promising as it has statues and temple like buildings which we could incorporate into the story. Perhaps the house could be a Kings Palace and the Bridge could become some sort of challenge to cross and the temple could be a magicians cave. It's a very inspiring place and definatley the sort of venue we could unleash all sorts of possibilities.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Story workshop

In the last community theatre meeting myself, Hardeep and Rosie led a workshop about story telling. We did sentence bu sentence storytelling around in a circle but this wasn't that successful as the story failed to make sense as everyone wanted to tell a story and not aid the creation in a collaborative sense. Therefore in the story that was created, nothing really happened that made a cohesive story. However in the last exercise we did creativity was much more interesting. We did helicopter story telling so everyone got to tell a story and got to act and chose their peers to be the other characters in the story. There were many stories that were very interesting and structurally very clear, therefore we could start looking at their stories and perhaps use them as a starting point for the final product. This activity would also be useful to take into a workshop setting in a school as we can begin to get a sense of the kinds of stories the children want to tell.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Keith Park

Last Friday I went to the globe to participate in a workshop with Keith Park and two schools from North London which had students that had complex disabilities.

The workshop was based on Shakespeares 'Romeo and Juliet' It was split into eigtht parts all said as call and response with a very definate rhythm through out. Everything was done in Makaton, and some words were said in Hebrew. Although Keith Park was involved in the workshop the person driving the workshop itself was an autistic teenager called PJ. It was very interesting how he remembered all the lines, made up jokes when we were playing a name game. It was successful because he had so much passion for what he was doing, in some sense it seemed that Drama had allowed him to become a confident individual and to be able to express himself in a way that best suited him. I also felt that having a child with high support needs in charge of a workshop helped the other children feel more enthusiastic about joining in the workshop, perhaps there was a stronger sense of identification?

Drama had helped him do things that are considered to be un-autistic, he made eye contact and was incredibly social. In my opinion Drama might have played a part in helping someone with a learning disability do things that would never have been expected of them.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

It's Starting!

Over the last couple of days myself, Rosie Maria and Hardeep have met up to begin thinking about the big project. We talked about possible research areas, types of stories and basically had a think about our role as the creative team, what we can do and what we can create. I see us working closely with the design team in creating initial ideas and I also feel that it would make it more collaborative. I feel that working with the school laison will be important as making and doing workshops about the story we might want to do will be important.

We also went and had a look around Chiswick house to get some inspiration and it is a very beautiful place which we could transform into something magical, I can see a lot of fairy lights! There is also an amphitheatre there which is a possible thing to think about within creating the performance.

If anyone has any ideas for stories or characters or themes or structures or anything please tell us!