Saturday, 21 November 2009

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

sitting on the floor

am sat in the haversham room
on the floor
at gone eleven in the evening
and this is my view

a superb day
developing crouching tiger hidden dragon
fight direction

being witness to some of the most
exquisite performances
by lost boy and pirate 'acorns'

the three teams this year are:
the thimbles
the shadows
the acorns

and tonight we split into separate groups

and since rehearsals finished at seven
i have been
playing with costumes
building wendy houses
(see above)
and planning technicals
and dresses

day 13 in neverland was a wonder

we are now off to 24 hour asda
for more pieces of the jigsaw

everyone is beautifully exhausted
and gone home to sleep

but we now have a second wind:


I'll teach you how to fly on the wind's back
and then away we go...

Monday, 16 November 2009

week 3

over the past four months
our set for peter pan
has been designed

and all the elements constructed
and stored in the dock at south hill park


all those jigsaw pieces
started to be assembled

with a crew of ten working
from nine in the morning
till beyond nine at night

to construct neverland

at ten this morning
the wilde stage looked like this:

by ten this evening
this had happened:

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Friday, 13 November 2009

Thursday, 12 November 2009


the battle sequence between pirates and indians in act the fourth took a serious amount of dedicated time to fathom these past two days but the end result is swashbuckling, clear, dynamic, engaging

barrie's imaginatively unique cinematic directions are fantastically impossible: magic realism

though a friend has just pointed out this concept had not been invented yet...

more thresholds and pairings, opposites and contrasts:

make-believe / true
night-time / daytime
dreaming / awake
subconscious / conscious
water / land
forgetting / remembering
boy / man
girl / woman
beginning / end
believing / not believing
good form / bad form
love / hate
heartless / heartbroken
lost / returned
gay (ecstatic or joyous) / tragic
small / big
actors / spectators

T O M O R R O W   W E   F L Y

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

truth and belief

outdoors / indoors

I have been sent a list of more peter pan pairings and contrasts in connection with Sunday's posting (thank you):
  • immortal / mortal
  • non-human / human
  • non-aging / aging
  • eternal / temporal
  • flying / earthbound
  • neverland / this world
  • freedom / containment
  • indoors / outdoors
  • safety of home / being locked out
  • growing up / staying youthful
  • lost boys / normal boys
  • orphans / families
  • fathers / mothers
  • animals / humans

the day was spent in act the fourth and
integrating michaels, nanas and lizas into act the first

children do not need directing:
they have an immense capacity to just be

we all sat in awe this evening
watching unparralleled truthfulness

once again: the day offered up tremendous discoveries

Monday, 9 November 2009

fog ahoy

having been locked out of south hill park for an hour this morning
(i arrived far too early)
i went on a photographic expedition across the grounds
to discover some of the the alfresco locations
of our community production of peter pan
from twelve years ago

these images are a view across the italian garden
which doubled as our pirate ship
with the totem pole sculpture
the indian camp
in the background

what could have been a freezing start to the day
became something
quite memorable
and beautiful
and enchanting

the sixth day spent in neverland
meant that we were able to explore
acts the first, second and third
all over again
making new discoveries

a relaxed
exploratory day
with perhaps one of the most memorable
innovative sessions
ever in a rehearsal room

our actor playing tinker bell
offered up a language for her fairy
that was at once
innovative and original
compelling and witty

we laughed hysterically today
and our pirates and indians
tiger lilys and nanas
thought tink
a wonder and v. funny

peter: thank you tink!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

elusive | intriguing | fantastical

Peter Pan plays with thresholds and opposites of:
  • aloneness / socialisation
  • youth / adulthood
  • children / parents
  • innocence / experience
  • naïveté / maturity
  • not knowing / knowing 
  • wildness / civilisation
  • rebelling / conforming
  • fantasy / reality
  • boys' adventure stories / girls' domestic games & fairy stories
  • boy / girl
  • sun / moon
  • native / foreign
  • able / disabled
  • land / sea / sky
  • time: past / present / future
  • life / death
  • memory
which makes meaning elusive, intriguing, fantastical...

Saturday, 7 November 2009

today for you: tomorrow for me

Michael dressed as Peter Pan wrestling with J M Barrie
as Hook in August 1906 | © GOSH

today was spent hunting and gathering: for costumes
discovering pirate, john and some lost boy attire
together with crucial conversation about performance:
dressing-up, meaning, contract and company

tomorrow will be spent planning: with script
creating more ideas from text for physical action
journeying, questing, discovering neverland
taking another look at barrie's 1911 peter and wendy

Friday, 6 November 2009

week 1: day 5

the aim in week one
despite having a three week rehearsal period
was to explore acts the first, second and third: our first half

the schedule was thus the same as last year
because there will be flying and fighting in week three

we needed to cover some neverland ground
and so be as economic with our time

this was achieved with great creativity from one and all:
choreographically, on the stage management front
and with chaperones looking after 39 young performers

great beauty, delicacy and poignancy
has been achieved in act the first:

wendy is funny, refreshing and enchanted
peter is innocent, refreshing, incorrigible

mr darling is a 'tornado' (as barrie intended) and lovable
mrs darling has grace, beauty and protects

the pirates in act the second have an energy to die for
an awfully big adventure here

the lost boys possess a demeanor 
making their presence real, honest, truthful: natural

act the third is marooner's rock
and offers up aquatic, la-goon-like comedy

smee is a hoot in the dinghy-boat
hook is a fool

and peter and wendy maroon themselves with simplicity

a swashbuckling-quest of a first week

Thursday, 5 November 2009

do you believe in fairies

the sophistication of barrie's  peter pan is enviable:

lost innocence, abandonment, kidnapping
pirates, american indians, fairies
edwardian london, neverland
battles, flying, disablement
lagoons, dens, boudoirs, ships, nurseries
dogs, ostriches, crocodiles
envy, love and grief
swashbuckling adventure
playing and playgrounds
the imaginary
and telling stories

and this presents many challenges
for actor and producer and director and stage manager alike

and challenges that are so very achievable

if you believe in fairies

if you can 'believe-in-the-barn': in

middle earth

and this is where the real excitement lies:

the redskins were defeated?
wendy and the boys captured by the pirates!
i'll rescue her
i'll rescue her!

oh, that is just my medicine...

who could have poisoned it?

i promised wendy to take it
and i will as soon as i have sharpened my dagger

why, tink, you have drunk my medicine!

it was poisoned and you drank it to save my life

tink, dear tink: are you dying?

her light is growing faint
and if it goes out
that means she is dead

her voice is so low
i can scarcely tell what she is saying

she says
she says she thinks she could get well again
if children believed in fairies!

do you believe in fairies?
say quick that you believe!

if you believe: clap your hands!

oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!

and now to rescue wendy!

Act IV, Peter, Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie (1904)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

teeth & teddy bears

developed three new songs today:
fly with me
mr & mrs darling
the imaginary meal

launched into act the first proper
already a superb relationship developing between mr & mrs
the michaels are a dream
and peter and wendy dynamic, innocent, funny, honest


a lost boy's tooth fell out today
a milk tooth

and we hope to make it into a beautiful necklace for tinker bell

all are excited about this tribal aspect of the piece

there are no jewelry shops in neverland
and so tink has to be a little resourceful
in order to achieve a little glamour

have now been in-undated with milk tooth offerings!
a wonder!

and teddy bears are coming in thick and fast
for an aspect of the set at the indian camp...

Monday, 2 November 2009

day one

we don't really know how we 'got through' all that we did today

meeting the full performing company for the first time
and everyone being in the same room

and there are in excess of 50 people in that room

our adult actors had a little catchin' up to do today, as always
because the lost boys and pirates
had already rehearsed for five days

but after a rigorous and vigorous warm-up
with our incredible choreographer
whose energy and precision is exquisite

we settled down around the piano: a tinky-tonk upright
and learnt melodies and harmonies with an ease, great humour
and hysterics: the laughable ones

our adult actors know one another very well
and so were able to enjoy many harmonic accidents

tinker bell: so nervous singing in front of the 39
squeezed a michael hand so very tight in
the boy who never grew up
and sweated his hand

he was gracious - this was fun - and we laughed

adult actors were choreographed for the first time
with the kids already having learnt the dance
and this created a beautiful pressure

of concentration, energy and grace

we fully staged the prologue:
two is the beginning of the end and
the boy who never grew up

the lost boys, boys band song and
a pirate's life

a beautiful, enchanting and engaging day:
day one

Sunday, 1 November 2009

day zero

the day before we start full time in neverland:
day zero

we have had five sunday rehearsals with pirates, lost boys, michaels
and peter pan

five songs have been developed:

- the boy who never grew up
- lost boys
- yo ho ho
- the mermaids' song
- the battle

and three of these have been choreographed

there are 39 young people in the cast: ambitious
and six adult actors who are arriving in town this very minute...

it is now after 10 o'clock in the evening
and the day has been spent singing, dancing, creating and

discovering how the lost boys playing tootles
might also play nana

nana (a dog played by a boy)
says barrie, and so

'nanarish' - to quote a lost boy -  discussions were had:
manners of sitting, standing, walking, cleaning, serving et al

and for the first time in three years we are
marking out the gallery space

we have the full width and depth
of the wilde stage for our rehearsals

this will be a rare treat and will enable us all
to site story and action earlier

the proxemics will thus be clearer and this detail
will enhance our audience experience

a great place to work, create, make theatre, direct, perform:
south hill park

i started out here as an actor in the gingerbread man in '91
and it is a privilege to be here for a third year as a director in '09

to neverland