Being in our new space is pretty lovely, so much room to move around, and lots of light. We don’t have the sprung floor that we used to be spoiled by in our old room, and as a result you can actually see that the work has changed. This may be an issue in the future, however for now, movement that used to be automatically floor-based seems to have moved to something more mobile, so we’ll see.
We’re starting with a warm up game of Cars today, an old Boal game. Then we do our conditioning, five plank positions which the actors know well, although how much they enjoy them I cant say.
Today, we have asked to have just three of our actors, the others have had one to ones with our director Kara before this session. The three girls stretch after their conditioning in a deliberate silence, one rolls her neck, another is bent over from waist height hanging her arms and head, one is sat with her feet apart, holding her knees with her hands to stretch her legs and breathing deeply. This is how we like to start, time to get focused, to get your head into the game.
Lucy, our composer and vocal coach, is working with us today.
Kara instructs them to refresh themselves on their positions from last week. In the meantime she sits talking to Lucy about the timings of the piece. One of our inspirations for this particular piece is ‘phase shifting,’ music that cleverly goes into and out of time. The work we’re doing isn’t actually phase shifting, rather our music mimics this feeling and sound. The physical work and music in typical Ante fashion, are being created alongside each other so that they are interwoven. It is typical of us to get excited by doing something ambitious, and since it is unusual to work with such ideas they can quickly get confusing and frustrating when we start them. Having seen this process before none of us who are sat down are worrying about this, we’ve seen what happens when we come out the other side of our problems. We come up with things that we find to be interesting, clever, unusual and often quite fun! In a way, the trickiness gives us a new opportunity for an interesting approach.
Lucy has her magic wand handily stored somewhere private (as she informed me) and she’s helping us to untangle the work. Instead of the tempo increasing, instead we will work with the beats ‘halving’. It needs to start slower. In the end we do the movements getting faster and faster until it is as fast as they can possibly do it. Then we work incredibly slowly. Watching them reminds me of my old drum teacher, who used to say control first, speed second. We also have an anomaly, where a movement working one way is quicker to get into than it is another way. Creating theatre can get rather technical! As I said, Lucy has her magic wand with her so, no worries there.
Whilst they’re talking, the sound of a ticking clock can be heard. We’re using a youtube video of one for the sound of 60bpm. It’s adding to the tension of the conversation which I’m really enjoying.
Eventually, I’ve watched the whole of the first movement piece and now I’m watching the second one in progress and almost done. The work we do is never truly finished of course, which reminds me of a quote, that art is never finished but that we instead chose a place to stop. It’s a great feeling to see it come through the other side, but it has taken two hours of complete focus and continual restarts on the half of our actors, Lucy, and our director Kara. Then there’s the weeks and weeks that came before it. The process can be hard. But then so is everything worth doing. Sometimes it helps to look at literally anything Pina Bausch did ever to remind ourselves of just how much work must be involved in achieving that level of beauty. Gives us all something to aim for!
This week has been full of wonderful moments, of breakthroughs and laughter amongst the brainache. We’re at this odd mid-point, the work is taking shape but we’re still developing. We’ll stay like this until Christmas, which is fast approaching, and then, the real work begins!