Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Chapter 7


There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. 'Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; 'only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.

Image: Kenneth Krougeau

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it, 'No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. 'There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

Lewis Carroll: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

Saturday, 21 February 2009

the room

There is a metronome in...

the room

Most rooms are square.
It is practical to build square rooms.
Bricks are generally rectangular.
Rectilinear is easier than curves.
We want perfect.
But the problem with square rooms is corners.
Things can lurk in corners.
Most of us don't live in the corners.
We put furniture in corners.
We put desks and bookcases and chests of drawers in corners.
We put TV stands in corners.
We live in the middle of rooms.
We walk from the doors to the windows.
We look out of windows.
We sit in the middle of rooms.
We ignore corners.
Things lurk in corners -
smoke from secretly smoked cigars
stale breath
bad news
things lurk in corners
we ignore corners so it's no surprise
they develop their own atmospheres
their little sulks, their own rules
ever so slightly now
lurking there…


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The Poker Game

Two full days in the rehearsal room playing games (during half term):

a 90-minute improvisation (which felt like 10 minutes!)
enough chalk, tissue, paper - mess - to fill a quarry
100+ objects
a multutude of books
other research materials
a poker session
chocolate flakes
language games
flip charts
Mother Earth stories
Ludwig Wittgenstein
concentric circles
ancient burial grounds

The outside / inside project has taken great leaps this week and there is still a full day of discovery tomorrow...

In short, we have 20 scoops / 'cards' we are now exploring / developing / playing:

1. the game
2. the playground
3. walk / don't walk
4. the library
5. smoking
6. the wax children
7. the edge of-
8. the poetics of space
9. the photograph
10. the chicken and egg
11. i had a dream...
12. the tissue mountain
13. confession
14. the room
15. the body system
16. water
17. the outsider
18. prison
19. Hamlet
20. measuring

We spent yesterday crystalising 3 things:

researching / generating / layering

This morning we communicated research materials/ideas and, in the afernoon, layered the work generated so far by focusing on:

the visual / the aural / the textual

Friday, 13 February 2009

outside / inside : a dream

I had a dream…

I had a dream… there was…

…a forest
…a stranger
…a bright yellow washing machine

In my dream I was suddenly conscious that…

…I was nailed to a table
…I had treacle all over my body
…my head was stuck at a strange angle

and then…

…and then suddenly the trees around me began to burst into towering flames
…and then a cloud of bees were dancing in the air in formation like the Red Arrows
…and then my arms and legs started to seize up like there was ice or rust in my joints

I started to feel uneasy…

…I was screaming for help!
…I was running around terrified that the bees would see me and smell the treacle…
…I knew that I was being controlled by an outsider, like I was a robot, so I tried to get into
the washing machine…

and then I woke up…

…I woke up…
…I woke up…
…and so I woke up…


Tuesday, 10 February 2009

A Native American Proverb

those who have one foot in the canoe
and one foot in the boat
are going to fall into the river


we must develop some humour in outside / inside
inside outside / inside
outside outside / inside

outside / inside : the mountain

Where I come from, the mountains, there was a story we used to tell each other. Nobody knew how true the story actually was, but it had become as much a part of us as the mountain was. The story was about a man. A man who had lived on the mountain thousands of years ago. It was about this man who had wanted to escape from weather. The man had noticed that outside, on the mountain, the weather was always changing. There it changes so fast, before the rain has time to hit the ground. One evening, on the mountain, when the man was busy sharpening his tools, he cut himself on the flint. Never having seen it before, the man touched his blood. He felt it was warm. Even though he himself felt cold, he felt his blood was warm.

This led the man to dedicate himself to escaping from the weather. He dedicated himself to finding a warmth, blood-like, which never went cold. The man eventually decided to dig, down, deep, into the mountain. For twenty years he tunnelled, with stone tools, and, after they became blunted and worn, with his fingers, bleeding from the rock. Deep into the heart of the mountain he dug with bleeding fingers. At long last, he found himself at the core, at the very centre, of the mountain. Expecting to feel blood all around him, enveloping him, he was surprised. At the heart of the mountain there was nothing but one rain cloud, hovering in front of him. The man stood, staring at it, for what felt like hours. After a while, the man decided to step into the rain cloud. The man huddled up there, around his warm blood, and slept. The man slept there, and never emerged.


Sunday, 8 February 2009

Menagerie Manor

Having locked myself away for the weekend - which is going to have to be a necessity for a number of weekends to come - I have now completed the first draft of one of our six adaptations for My Family and Other Stories.

Taken from Gerald Durrell's Menagerie Manor (1967) it is a fifteen/twenty minute vignette, as they will all be, which will be performed: alfresco / open-air - possibly promenade - up at the Durrell site to assist in animating their 50th. anniversary celebrations at Trinity.

It is astounding that Gerry articulated the following over 40 years ago - it comes in the final chapter, in the FINAL DEMAND:

"A world without birds, without forests, without animals of every shape and size, would be one that I, personally, would not care to live in and which, indeed, it would not be possible for man to live. The rate of man's progress and, in consequence, his rape of an incredibly beautiful planet accelerates month by month, and year by year. It is up to everyone to try to prevent the awful desecration of the world we live in, which is now taking place, and everybody can help in this in however a humble capacity. I am doing what I can in the only way that I know, and I would like your support.

In the meantime, while there are still animals and green places left in the world, I shall do my best to visit them and write about them."

The adaptation / writing process has been a little easier, this time around (compared with our adaptation of My Family and Other Animals in 2006/7 - the very first stage adaptation), due to a greater awareness of the Durrell mission, Gerry's literature, and that we have, more-or-less, confirmed the cast. Writing for particular actors in mind allows for greater clarity. As does having a greater sense of Gerry's voice.

In Dr. Lee Durrell's foreword to the book (May 2007) she writes:

"Poetic and graceful, amusingly sardonic on occasion, but always affectionate, Menagerie Manor is an effortless read."

Chekhov: 'The Cherry Orchard'

"In firmly describing his plays, above all The Cherry Orchard, as comedies, Chekhov was perhaps confusing matters by dragging in a traditional theatrical term inapplicable to his new form of drama."

"What he was really appealing for was a lightness of touch, a throwaway casual style, an abandonment of the traditional over-theatricality of the Russian (and not only the Russian) theatre."

Anton Chekhov: Five Plays | Translated by Ronald Hingley
Oxford University Press, 1998 | page xxi of the introduction...