Monday, 27 April 2009

chinese symbols for ...





i have of late ...

by Lee Hall
Live Theatre, Newcastle
National Theatre: Cottesloe > Lyttelton

Photo: Keith Pattison
Design: Gary McCann
Lighting: Douglas Kuhrt / Sound: Martin Hodgson
Direction: Max Roberts

by Jan Fabre
Queen Elizabeth Hall

Photo: Frederik Heyman
Design: Jan Fabre / Costume: Andre Kränzlin
Lighting: Jan Dekeyser / Music: Dag Taeldeman
Direction: Jan Fabre

by Richard Bean
National Theatre: Olivie

Photo: Johan Persson
Design: Mark Thompson / Lighting: Neil Austin
Composition: Grant Olding / Sound: John Leonard
Animation: Pete Bishop / Choreography: Scarlett Mackmin
Direction: Nicholas Hytner

by J.M. Barrie / adapted by Douglas Irvine
Visible Fictions and The Children's Theatre Co., Minneapolis

Photo: Rob Levine
Design: Fabrizio Montecchi / Shadow Puppets: Federica Ferrari
Costume: Liz Boulton / Lighting: Graham Sutherland
Direction: Douglas Irvine

based on the book by Jenna Bailey
Foursight Theatre / Touring

Photo: Robert Day
Design: Naomi Dawson / Costume: Julie O'Neill
Lighting: Anna Watson
Composition: Mary Keith / Sound: Jules Bushell
Direction: Sarah Thom

by Richard Greenberg
Apollo Theatre

Photo: Tristram Kenton
Design: Soutra Gilmour / Lighting: Jon Clark
Composition: Ben & Max Ringham / Sound: Matt McKenzie
Direction: Jamie Lloyd

by Yukio Mishima / translated by Donald Keene
Donmar West End

Photo: Tristram Kenton
Design: Christopher Oram / Lighting: Neil Austin
Composition & Sound: Adam Cork / Video Art: Lorna Heavey
Direction: Michael Grandage

Over half a dozen performances in the last couple of weeks to celebrate birthdays, being in London, rewards for writing (one-day-on and one-day-off is a good writing strategy), and just because (!), have provided a wealth of experiences and references for current and future work.

From shadow puppetry to the supposéd experimental to ceremonial suicide writers this has been a whirlwind...

Blue Danube dancing-shopping-trolleys and choreographic energy at the climax of the Fabre like I have never seen before; ingenious touring techniques of staging in Neverland; honest and beautiful performances from James McAvoy, Nigel Harman and Lyndsey Marshall (bringing back memories of queueing at the old-wooden-shack-of-a-half-price-ticket-booth in Leicester Square in '82); Sophie Stanton's 'f-a-r-k-i-n-g ...' performance in ENGLAND (she was superb); being reminded to 'rehearse' that which is 'made' [and only 'that' which you want 'to rehearse' which is made...] by the lovely Frances Land of Foursight (I do wish to work for that company sometime soon); and this from Lee Hall:

Well - if you were nationalised there'd be investment in proper machinery. Do you think yer Soviet miners are crawling round all day on their bellies with picks in their hand? They've got the latest machinery. And the yeilds is better.

What do you know about it? You're a bloody dentist.

I'm a socialist - and as far as I'm concerned this is a glorification of the exploitation of the common man. You want to be drawing something critical. Something that exposes the underlying inequities of the capitalist system.

Monday, 20 April 2009

title: outside / inside

the wax children
Photo: Bruce Liron

Having had a preliminary round-robin discussion about the work on outside / inside (see images below), in preparation for the full debrief on 22 April, there was debate about the title of the piece and possible developments.

outside / inside somehow defines and encapsulates the initial inspiration and starting point - and the actual process of making it - but the question, now, is: how does an audience experience it? [How is it, now, best titled?]

Possibilities include:
  • the edge of -
  • the hollow tree
  • the poetics of space
  • here & there
  • here / there
  • i have of late
  • the poker game
  • i had a dream
  • an exhibition
  • exhibition
  • the mountain

There will be many more ideas / thoughts / connections on this as the piece develops and it is exciting to know that this dialectic is happening within / without the company.

We would welcome all ideas on this matter from those who may have seen it...

Saturday, 18 April 2009


¡ an (almost) silent comedy !

having now seen / experienced / been totally absorbed in / with paperweight 3 times - first at the edinburgh festival fringe last year (assembly rooms) and now at the JAC - it occurs that its spirit / its being lies somewhere between beckett and monty python via ionesco (and back again!)

harold (tom frankland) and anthony (sébastien lawson) create, and inhabit, a world of surreal, intimate realism that forces us to question our own office worlds and practice

the relentlessness of: the silence (exquisite), despair (poignant), family trauma (familiar) and love (comedic) re-enforces the beauty of our lives: the sharing (kinder surprises), the music (the power of love), the giving (cacti) and the playing (red 'bat' phones!)

intimate, immediate, sensitive, funny, exaggerated and founded on acute observation - under the direction and co-devising skills of jamie wood - top of the world create visual poetry

[ it has been a superb experience seeing paperweight again having just made outside / inside as it will be a great point of reference at our debrief this wednesday ]

Thursday, 9 April 2009

outside / inside / gallery

the poker game


the outsider

feeling good

inside me

the library

the tea party

the wax children

Photos: Bruce Liron

Monday, 6 April 2009

the outsider

"It was soon after that that she wrote to me. And it was from that point on that things I've never liked talking about began. But after all, I musn't exaggerate and it was easier for me than for others. When I was first imprisoned, though, the worst thing was that I kept thinking like a free man. For instance, I'd suddenly want to be on a beach and to be able to walk down to the sea. When I imagined the sound of the first little waves under the soles of my feet, the feel of the water on my body and the freedom it would give me, I'd suddenly realize how closed in I was by my prison walls. But that only lasted a few months. After that, I thought like a prisoner. I'd look forward to my daily walk in the courtyard or to my lawyer's visits. And I managed quite well the rest of the time. I often thought in those days that even if I'd been made to live in a hollow tree trunk, with nothing to do but look up at the bit of sky overhead, I'd gradually have got used to it. I'd have looked forward to seeing the birds fly past or clouds run together just as here I looked forward to seeing my lawyer's curious ties and just as, in another world, I used to wait for Saturdays to embrace Marie's body. And come to think of it, I wasn't in a hollow tree. There were others unhappier than I was. Anyway it was an idea of mother's and she often used to repeat it, that you ended up getting used to everything."

The Outsider by Albert Camus (1942)
Translated by Joseph Laredo (1982)


Photo: Jane Heller

It is midnight!

The last time I had so much bloody creative fun during a technical day - and it has been an incredible 15 hours and I am not even tired - was in '99 with The Wizard of Oz at The Castle; with Arturo Ui in '03 and Gilgamesh and Secret Weapons in '05 in Jersey; with My Family and Other Animals in '07; and with apollo / dionysus (Edinburgh with thedead) and Beauty and the Beast (South Hill Park) last year; because, with 44 hours to go, the piece is just about somewhere: here / there, this side / beyond, nearing a / some completion, ready for an audience... But at a stage that will allow that completion to be extended, re-newed, made new each night.

The fluidity of outside / inside is remarkable because each of our 15 actors / performers / company members / people - not sure on the definition because none are adequate (not really) - has contributed something unique to this piece: whether words, music, an idea, a philosophy, a story, a perspective, a humour...

So stage one of this experience, this process, has resulted in 27 scoops / scenes / ideas / moments / realities... whatever...

Here's the final first draft list for this week:

1. hoovering
2. raining
3. the poker game
4. the street
5. the playground
6. walk / don't walk
7. the library
8. the smoke
9. the edge of -
10. the wax children
11. poetics of space
12. the photograph
13. i had a dream
14. feeling good
15. tissue mountain
16. confession
17. network
18. the room
19. the body system
20. eat me
21. water
22. the outsider
23. apocalypse
24. hamlet
25. standing
26. inside
27. outside

Tomorrow - today! - starts with a 9am call...

[Yet another person I have known has died and this has shaped the week...]

Friday, 3 April 2009

the kettle: tea party

the fridge: keep out

outside / inside: and i

...i have of late - but wherefore i know not - lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors. What piece of work is a man ! how noble in reason ! how infinite in faculty ! in form and moving how express and admirable ! in action how like an angel ! in apprehension how like a god ! the beauty of the world ! the paragon of animals ! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust ? man delights me not: no, nor woman neither...

Hamlet / William Shakespeare / Act II, scene ii