Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Thanks to those of you who have returned their questionnaires. I notice that only one of you so far has bothered add the extra questions to the back of the questionnaire. Please could the rest of you be sure to do so.

Dan Rebellato

Monday, December 13, 2004

We Done It!

Hey guys! Just wanted to say YES!!!! WE DID IT!!! and that I am real proud of us. We pulled it together, and (as Alice said) even the little things that went wrong ended up adding something nice to it , so...

Love to you all

Dana Karic

Student Feedback Questionnaire

Congratulations on a terrific performance. I was very proud of you all.

I handed out the course questionnaires. It is essential that you fill them in and return them to me so I can pass them on to college. The department will get into terrible trouble if you don't. The forms are anonymous so you can be as honest as you like.

We would like you to add (and answer) the following questions on the back of the questionnaire:
  1. How many classes did you attend for this course?
  2. What do you feel is the most important thing you have learnt from this course?
  3. Have you come across any materials not assigned or referenced that you think should be recommended to subsequent students?
  4. Did you have the time/space in the seminars and workshop sessions to make the contributions you wanted to?
  5. Please comment on the range and number of assessment points within the course.

Forms should be returned to my pigeonhole (outside the departmental office).

If you have any questions about the course, or about the essay questions, please email me.

Have a lovely break and a great Christmas (if that's what you do)

Dan Rebellato

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Final Lighting Plot!

I managed to meet with Chris and rearrange the lightning. It is still very simple however the new changes should fit the final draft.
  • During the migration dance the illumination is going to be dimmed so the faces of the actors would be hardly visible. This is to give priority to the media effects.
  • While you gather in the middle of the stage the spot light will brighten for 10 seconds, then the other lights will come on over 10 seconds.
  • For the whole performance the illumination will remain bright.
  • At the very end the brightness will slowly come back to the dimmed state (over 10 seconds) and after that when you are spread all over the stage it will gradually fade to the complete blackout.

Hope everything goes well! Keeping my fingers crossed. See you tomorrow!

Ania Nieczuja Ostrowska

Good Luck!!

Hey everyone, now I'm sure you're all thinking what are we all going to do tomorrow without Nia the star of our show!! Well, don't you all worry you will be just fine I promise you! ....hehe

Seriously now, I know how much work you guys have put into this piece and how bloomin' fabtastic you all are at the roles you have taken on and I just wanted to say a massive GOOD LUCK!!!! You will all be great, don't be nervous, dont worry about it, just do it and enjoy it!! I'll be thinking of you.

All my love,

x Nia x

Thursday, December 09, 2004

150th Post to this Blog!

I may have a chance to come and see you working in the mirror room tomorrow afternoon but, if not, it sounds to me like you're doing good work. I'm looking forward to first night!

Monday: everyone must be at the Studio Theatre at 9.00 am. Don't be late (Dana, Elina, this means you!). I know it's early but we're going to have to start then to make sure we get through everyone's showing before 1.00 when the space is needed for another class. The running order may change, but my understanding is that Suspect Culture are on 5th. You are expected to watch all of the other performances, except the one directly before yours when you are allowed to be getting ready for your own performance.

Happy rehearsing

Dan Rebellato

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Here's the feedback I didn't get a chance to mention:

  • Phil your tone and speed of delivery is perfect, you bring a lot to the piece, but you need to be louder. There will probably be a lot of laughs from the audience in your scenes, so be prepared to leave pauses while they laugh before your next line (Kim should be aware of this as well). When you say 'Lucky heather?' to Kim, try holding out both hands as though you actually have the heather in them, at the moment it just doesn't look convincing. Really liked the bit where you took out your mobile when saying "Yeah, we gypsies are crazy about being mobile" and how you played about with it during the rest of your conversation - keep it up! Finally, in the migration dances be conscious of your walk, as you put your hands out slightly and sway too much. Keep it very neutral.
  • Julia I really liked the way you did the travelling gesture after Kim did it in the gypsy scene, it looked fantastic. During the Barriers scene, I think it's you that has the phone converstaion in Italian? But seriously, I can't hear you! Come to the front of the stage if you must, but really raise your volume.
  • Kelly you're doing some lovely work in terms of gesture imitation within your scenes, keep it up.
  • Annie perfect. Pace, tone, speed, pauses, placement, gesture work. You = fab. Another thing that I nearly applauded was the way you raised your voice when you delivered lines away from the audience. Everyone should do this.
  • Rachael Loving the emotion that is coming through in your lines, but you need to be louder.
  • Claire I want to thank you for the brilliant work you've done with music. It's perfect. I do, however, have reservations about having music when Phil says her jigsaw speech in the toilet scene. I don't know what Lauren thinks, but I found it was too much. Also, I think the musical interludes should last a good 7-10 seconds to give everyone a chance to move about the space and do their gesture sequences.
  • Everyone In the last migration dance, don't wait for Annie to start, all start at the same time.

Ok, enough from me for now! Well done again, both Lauren and I we're really impressed and thankful for all the effort you guys have put in.

See you tomorrow!

Alice Hansen

Wednesday's Rehearsal

Hi everyone, I'd like to start by thanking all those who made tonight's rehearsal, I thought it went really well, the piece is coming together very nicely. For those who couldn't make it, here is a round up of the main decisions and of what you need to think about/get/do before our next rehearsal.
  • We did an exercise which helped us generate personal gesture sequences. In this way, each performer should have 5 gestures that they relate to homesickness, etc. For Dana, Elina and Rachael, this is what we would like you to do: Standing with your eyes closed, begin by doing the gesture for homesickness that we have been using throughout the piece. Then try to think of a gesture that to you epitomises being safe and secure at home. Then think of a gesture for travelling (not necessarily the back-pack one), trying to get home/reaching for home/feeling stretched and for your personal physical responses when you feel homesick; e.g. tummy ache, head ache, etc. Learn these and play around with the order in which you do them, making sure each gesture follows fluidly and smoothly into the next. They need to be very clear and pronounced gestures that look very slick when put together. These sequences are going to be used at the very start of the piece before the migration dance and during musical interludes throughout the piece, which have now been incorporated (we'll explain where and when in tomorrow's rehearsal).
  • The last Costa coffee scene has been cut.
  • We've decided to ditch the slinkies. Although they do connect to themes within the script, they just don't work. We want to keep the train station setting really clear throughout the 12 minute section, and the slinkies are too distracting.
  • Costume-wise, everyone is in their own clothes, but ones you would wear if you were about to go on a long plane journey; eg baggy trousers, jeans, t-shirts, etc. Phil will be wearing a jacket.
  • The only props that will be used are mobile phones, which all performers should bring with them to rehearsals from now on.
  • Things you can do when not performing your scenes: Your migration dance, train station improvisations like watch-checking, talking on mobile, sitting down, etc., Sunday movements, echo gestures of people acting in scenes (a la the 'ripples of gesture' idea).

Alice Hansen

Some Admin

Hi guys, just a few things to report. Our rehearsal on Monday became more of a technical sort-out, and I want to reinforce that if Claire/Ania/Sam have anything else they need to discuss, they should just send me and Lauren a text and we'll sort things out.

Because not a lot of people could make the Monday rehearsal, that means that Wednesday's is more important, and that everyone should really try to be there. I'm hoping we can do some run-throughs without scripts. Could those who have slinkies bring them along as well.

Thanks for now!

Alice Hansen

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Hey guys, sorry I didn't make it to today's lesson, thanks to Waterloo being closed due to "engineering works" and thanks to missing my train I couldn't make it here in time for the lesson but….don't worry! Everything is under control, The only filming I need to do is with a few people and just of them staring blankly into the camera for a minute each or so, I'm going to ask people who I haven't got in the projection yet so you get your chance too!

Namely: Elina, Rachael, Dana and Kim.

When in the week would be best for people, Wednesday?

Sam Wood

No PJs

Having watched more of the SC videos myself and Lauren were discussing my use of PJ's and we decided that SC didn't really use costume as symbolism. And so don't rush out and get some new pyjama's we've decided that just wearing our own clothes would better parallel Suspect Culture's ideas. So not all in black, just whatever you want to wear!

Annie Rook

Monday, December 06, 2004

Class Links

For reference, here are hyperlinks to all the posts outlining each week's class:

Dan Rebellato

Class: Week Ten

Today's run was very encouraging. There's some lovely work going on. I've given a few notes to Alice but on the whole I was pleased and impressed by what I saw.

I saw good work from everyone, but I want to mention a few particular achievements (not being on this list does not imply criticism or dissatisfaction with your work):
  • In the opening migration dance, Kelly is doing exactly the right facial expression. Neutral, serious.
  • Philippa: you are hilarious throughout.
  • Julia: I noticed that you picked up volume and clarity in the second run without destroying the gentle emotionality of your vocal tone. This was a good note for all I thought.
  • Annie: you are claiming the audience's attention for the phone calls very well.
  • Elina: I liked the simplicity that you brought to the line "I just felt really lonely". It's because its unfussy and plain that it becomes rather moving.
  • Dana: you bring a nice emotional quality to the 'what for should you cry?' line. It's not melodramatic, just very heartfelt.

It works best when it's very slick, very controlled, rather minimal - think of Mainstream for performance style. The gestural stuff is very good - I particularly liked what Alice says below about 'ripple gestures' and I'd urge you to work further on these. I would ask you to check your lines - when you approximate or half-remember them, you tend to 'normalise' them. It's better if you retain the oddness of them.

Obviously the piece will be marked next week. What we will be looking for is how far you demonstrate a practical understanding of the Suspect Culture performance style and attitude. Do bear this in mind; it should give you confidence to go with the harsher, more abstract, cool performance style you were displaying at moments today. I think you have the makings of a serious, adult, artistically sophisticated show in Homesick and I'm impressed with the way it's going.

There were two minuscule thoughts I had about rewriting:

  • Annie: could you extend the line in your snail speech to "Just a shell on my back and a mucopolysaccharide slime trail". (Just because (a) the rhythm's better and (b) you're all excellent at saying unsayable lines.)
  • Elina: the scene may go but if it stays could you cut this line down to "Another Baileys, Auntie*?" [*or, if you have a preferable familiar word for some relative, even in Greek maybe, use that.]

Please continue to report back on rehearsals or offer ideas on the blog. I look forward to watching the show.

Dan Rebellato

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Helping Hand

Just a quick blog girls. I was browsing on the internet earlier today to try and find some more information on the wonderful Suspect Culture. There wasn't too much to find, but I did read some reviews and two interesting points came out, which could be of assistance to the actors... A review of 8000m said that SC are a company who fascinate audiences for they take risks, 'risks which have sometimes left me speechless with deserved amazement. (I'm not sure we'll be obtaining that, but it's worth a try!) The second was a review of Mainstream, which basically agreed with the play's issues, saying that we are all alternatives. We believe in the mainstream, for sure, but we harbour too many secrets, have too many quirks to count ourselves as part of it... If we start thinking about the characters in SC's plays we begin to notice a familiarity running right through them... They all have quirky, alternative characters.

Hope this is of a helping hand...

Julia Angeli


After watching Timeless we started to dispute on subject such as gesturers reflecting the homesickness.

We were searching for some appropriate gestures that would express /mirror one's feelings. So as our performance is structured in three parts: Migration dance, then a 12 minute piece and at the end once more a migration dance. In a bit where you act different situations - for example Annie is talking on a mobile phone with her mother - at the same time some other people are continuing their everyday routine (for example Elena) so what I thought when some people walk into each other they should interact in certain way…for example, those people could remain still for 3 seconds, look into their eyes (expressing their need - in search for something they are longing in somebody else what they used to be familiar with within their homeland routine). I think Alice you quite liked that idea and maybe we could try to rehearse it next Monday.

Anna Nieczuja-Ostrowska

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Bits and Bobs

Howdy! Ok, I've got lots of little bits of information to distribute...

Wednesday's Rehearsal
This went very well, we did a warm-up, watched people's scenes and worked on them. I think we generated a lot of good ideas and everyone was really focused.

One of the ideas I am excited about is the 'ripples of gesture' idea. We were talking about how to incorporate more gestures into the piece and came up with the idea that while other people/groups are doing their scenes, and a moment of homesickness is felt/spoken about, or one of the actors does the homesickness gesture, the rest of the perfomers can choose to do the gesture as well, so that it ripples about the space. This shouldn't be compulsory or synchronised, as some people will think certain moments epitomise homesickness, whereas others will not. Also, I keep thinking about gesture sequences - perhaps all the performers have 2 or 3 homesickness gestures that they can put together to form gesture sequences? A new gesture that we were using in connection to travelling which worked really well was 'the back-pack' (pretending you're hitching a back-pack up that's on your shoulder). We were also discussing the idea that Phillipa is the only performer who doesn't gesture becuase she is the liar. I'm not sure if this is too obvious a move for SC, but I think it would be interesting to play around with. Perhaps she has a gesture that demonstrates lying...

We gave individual feedback about the scenes on Wednesday, but one thing I will say is that in general everyone was too familiar and warm. The characters don't know each other, they're in a liminal space. While they're friendly and chatty, the reality is that there's this awkwardness, tension, uncertainty. The audience need to feel slightly on edge, so we need more awkward pauses, slower dialogue, nervous gestures. Also, I hope that some did their homework (!) and started a conversation with a stranger in a liminal space this weekend - useful AND amusing!

Rehearsal spaces and times for next week are:

Monday 6th, 5-7 Mirror Room.
Wednesday 8th, 5-7 Noh Theatre.
Thursday 9th, 3:30-5 Mirror Room.
Saturday 11th, 9-11 Studio Theatre. It is ESSENTIAL that EVERYONE attend this rehearsal. This is the only chance we will have to rehearse in the studio theatre and have a full tech run-through.

A final reminder that everyone should know their lines for Monday (for the individual scenes) and bring their slinkies if they have them.

Thanks guys!

Alice Hansen

Friday, December 03, 2004

Suspect Culture Questions....

Hello. Dan, I was wondering if you could answer some questions that I have after our rehearsal on wed and from doing some more research on Suspect Culture.... Certainly - my replies are in bold.
  1. How do Suspect Culture deal with lines once they have been given a script by David? are they set in stone or do they have the ability to sort of mush them around? I think it depends on the project. I know that Airport and Timeless changed a great deal after the first draft had appeared. I suspect - though I don't know - that Casanova and Mainstream changed much less. Some of the texts, like Mainstream, contain a great deal of space for making crucial decisions about casting and staging (as does Homesick, I guess). At the stage you are at - only a week or so away from performance - I guess they wouldn't be doing all that much 'mushing' about of the text, but if things ain't working, they gotta be fixed...
  2. Going along with that idea, how text-based are their shows? are there bits of script that just outline improvisation on stage? Do the actors depend on the script for guidance, or is it more like our script where so much of it comes from their workshops that it's almost like the script relies on the actors for guidance? Again, boringly, I suspect that it depends on the project. The scripts almost always emerge out of a process of devising, workshopping, improvisation, discussion, so by the time the text appears it has caught some of the devising work. The clearest example of this is the script for Lament which you found difficult to read, precisely because you had to have been through the devising process to understand some of the references.
  3. I assume that our workshop process follows along the same lines as their workshops, and I was wondering how much improvisation they do. It seems like we just sat and discussed more than we actually did 'improv games'. I guess our Sunday morning sequences and the migration dance were all improvisations, but they seem less physical and verbal than a lot of the more game like exercises that other groups use.... I am not sure. I think Suspect Culture are not a company that are afraid of sitting around talking about ideas. Some of the gestural work (which was key to the work from One Way Street to, I guess, Mainstream) would have emerged from physical improvisations, and they often do something very like the mapping exercise we began the course with.

Ok, don't know if any of those really made a whole lot of sense, or how much they will help us in the long run, but i was just curious and though there is an astonishing amount written about S.C. i thought Dan might be the best place to turn! no, not being sarcastic at all.

BTW - thought wed went really well. thanks guys! and if everyone who has one could bring in their slinky on Monday that would be fabulous!

Lauren Abend


I'm going to be in the Studio Theatre for the first hour of the class, overseeing the lighting plots for the seven Contemporary Theatremaking shows. Could Lauren and/or Alice come and find me at 9.30 (probably in the Studio) to get the Boilerhouse key?

Obviously, you can use class time as you wish. I'll join you at 11.15ish. But I would like to see a run towards the end of the class, but with time afterwards for discussion. So can we say that you'll be ready to put together a run (even if it's very ragged) of the whole thing at 12.15? It'll be useful to judge if the show's too long - which I suspect it is - and to decide what to cut. So, people, be prepared for scenes you're in going.

Did someone book rehearsal space for next week at the meeting yesterday?

Dan Rebellato

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Here's What I've Done So Far

Hi guys, sorry for the needy blog, thanks for the responses though. I thought I'd let you know what I've done. I'm mainly using a powerpoint presentation as it can do fade ins and outs of images at different parts of the screen. Here's my order:
  • Opening migration dance: first footage of Annie talking about her old home, then Kelly talking about how her friends and family make her think of home, then Julia saying things in Italian (hopefully not rude, as I can't tell, I'm sure it's not tho….), then Philippa's fake testimony of living on a cloud and being brought up on a pirate ship!!!
  • Home: as a lot is said about fires in this scene I have three beautiful images of a fire close up which fade in and out of each other to be screened throughout
  • Barriers: it starts with the close up of a foreign departures board, sorry guys couldn't find a picture of the board at waterloo, which you all look at for a moment or two, then it says "all trains cancelled, sorry for any inconvenience caused" which stays up throughout the scene
  • All the next scenes up until 'the perfect home' I have a light blue background with images of stations, signs, etc., fading in and out at different parts of the screen.
  • A perfect home: Philippa's highly unrealistic dream home! Which I think you make images of homes in front of.
  • The scene in the toilet will have what Annie suggested in the background, a ladies toilet close up with people going in and out throughout, maybe at speed
  • The gypsy speech will have two images of projected travelling homes to be ironic and keeping in with Philippa's Volvo Estate idea
  • Then back to the toilet, hopefully on a loop
  • Costa coffee: images of Starbucks and McDonalds
  • Huddling together: a recurring image of the same fire from the very beginning as a home image AND an image of warmth
  • Sorry Alice, the idea of images of people with a line between them is far too hard to create, I have tried and it looks rubbish! So throughout the ticket office queue I'll prob have footage of people but with no sound up until the end of the second Costa Coffee.
  • There will be nothing throughout the station concourse with people saying they can't go home any more to emphasise the scene.
  • End migration dance: footage of people simply staring at the camera saying nothing, then black.
  • END

Sam Wood

slinky central! well.. actually slinky workshop!

hi everyone

I really thought our rehearsal went rather well on Wednesday! I enjoyed it, anyway. But, I was thinking about the SLINKY WORKSHOP thing, and maybe, just an idea, while walking around (migrating) in between scenes (what we talked about yesterday) we could have slinkies holding us together, connecting us to one another so that when we returned to the scene, we would be pulled together by the slinkies?

I really have no idea if this would work but i think its a nice use of the slinky. Either way, I am all for the slinky workshop, cause you never know, we might find a fantabulous way of using them!

And linking it to SC, of course!

Dana Karic

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Sam you poor chicken

Here are a few ideas which I think I've mention to you before but I don't know if you've taken them in!
  1. Just filming the door of a girls' toilet, maybe in the union, one day or evening so that it can be played, maybe double speed, in the background just to suggest the setting. I don't know if you have to get consent though so maybe next lesson we can walk in and out of the toilets for a bit! It's kind of like in One Two where they film people.
  2. And for the station setting just film (or photograph) the board in Waterloo station, it would look awesome along the back wall. For when the trains are cancelled there's an old board with nothing on it which you could substitute, or just use paint to colour in all the screens black and paste in the word 'CANCELLED'.
  3. Maybe have some footage of Tommy's (or just a photo) to use in the bar scene, it could just be posted on the back wall again.
  4. Oh and for Costa Coffee a photo of Café Jules! Amazing!
  5. Ok so I can't think of any more sets! What have you got so far?

Annie Rook


Hi guys,

It would be nice to get some input from you regarding my media tasks, ideas, anything! I feel really isolated dudes!

Sam Wood

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Some Suggestions for Music

I was wondering about the soundtrack (musical background)... what we are looking for is probably "ambient"… and best of all: instrumental music instead of vocals. When choosing the suitable music we also need to think in terms of "minimalism" so to speak. I'm thinking about simple mono sounds accompanied by adequate rhythm to match each scene. I have some ideas regarding the music and I am going to give my suggestions to Claire. Classical music is also worth considering- I'd suggest Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin's Polonaise or (as he himself was longing for his homeland).

Anyway, we should decide between the two options. (Mixing both of them could also be interesting?) Although difficult and "risky" however… such presentation is also feasible. (What do you think?)

Ania Nieczuja-Ostrowska

Music for Stations

Just a quick music idea. Brian Eno did a series of ambient music records, including Music for Airports, The Plateaux of Mirror, On Land, Discreet Music.He's toying with muzak and 'background sound' but trying to capture volumes of space, I think. They might create an interesting absorptive atmosphere and provide a suitable background for what you're doing.

If you're on a computer with sound, you can hear short samples on Amazon. They're also on iTunes.

Dan Rebellato


Hi guys! Everything seems to be going well! I just wanted to note a few things that we talked about so that you guys can keep them in mind when you are rehearsing. Remember that we are trying to keep the acting as realistic as possible. Even though the movement may be stylized at times and even though people may be lying or acting on some crazy ideas (I think all I have
to say is snail...) remember that the acting should seem real. You do not think that your actions are strange and if you are lying, think about why you lie. In Airport the woman was a compulsive liar - Philippa maybe you could think of some reasons why you might be lying so that you can make sure it all stays that's just some stuff to remember with the
acting. I remember thinking that Nia did a good job making it seem perfectly
natural to be speaking to Dana even though she was being answered in another

As far as the idea that we do not have to be looking at each other in order to be talking to each other, it is a nice thing that we can work with, but I want to make sure that if/when we do this there are reasons for it. The characters in Timeless had reasons for not looking/sitting with each other - you can tell becuase they move around and there is clearly a purpose in that. If you guys notice times when it seems appropriate for that kind of blocking in your rehearsals please remember it and tell us Wed night. We will also look through the script and think about places that might work. I don't want us to use it as a crutch though if we find places that are just
difficult to block.

Let's see....I can't think of too much else right now. I think we all got a lot out of watching the video the other day. Good luck with rehearsals and if you have any questions or anything you can always call/text/email....oh the joys of modern communication! hehe.

Lauren Abend


Bonjour suspect culturettes,

Lots of very good ideas here and worth underlining.

Kelly's idea of having people dispersed across the stage but having a conversation as if they're next to each other is excellent. Just the sort of thing to pursue. Annie's suggestion is good too. You might find it hard to get hold of the tall table and chairs but there would be nothing wrong with using some chairs as long as the group could source them and don't call on the technical staff for assistance (it's a very busy point of term).

I like Ania's suggestion for fairly harsh white light on the character. It seems to suit the starkness of the scenes and the playing style you're developing. I think Nia's suggestions that you work more on gestures and also think about lip-synching to the video material is good. (Sam, I wondered if you thought there could be more 'interview' material, maybe even just silent, just shots of performers looking into the camera, in the final migration dance. Just a thought.)

The rucksack is a good idea, and visually very clear. I would gently suggest, though, that no one gets too hung up on character and through-line. Of the shows we've seen, Timeless is an exception in its focus on individual character. Most other shows break character up and that feels to me at least the spirit of the show you've been putting together. The emphasis should be less on internal character work and more on an externalising performance skill: claiming the audience's attention, creating a sense of situation, relationship, action, attitude in your tone of voice, stance. The 'scenes' are very very short so you have to do this quickly and economically. It's not about producing rich, nuanced character, but understanding your place within the rhythm of the whole show - which is where the complexity and nuance will be found.

Kim, Radiohead seems to me a good steer for the music. Particularly Kid A which is more 'experimental' and less obviously songlike. Things without audible/obvious lyrics are good, because then they don't interfere with the performers' words. Nick Powell's music for Suspect Culture is usually fairly 'ambient' in style, sometimes digitally broken down and treated, interspersed with found sound. I've suggested the Charlie Rich song for the final sequence partly because it worked so nicely in the random accident of trying it in the class, but also it recalls the effect in Lament of having all that dirtied-down very urban digital sound which is then replaced by the 'warmth' and 'humanity' of the solo piano playing. It's a kind of rediscovery of emotional and, well, soul for those final moments.

My last thought is that you should keep open to the thought that the lines could be switched around. There are possible other connections between the different situations that could be emphasised nicely through some smart casting decisions. Watching what I saw on Monday, I wondered about the logic of having someone speak in two different languages within a single 'scene'. It may be okay, but it's potentially puzzling.

I think a slinky workshop would be a valuable use of half an hour.

Dan Rebellato

I've Been Thinking...

...mainly about Blogging! And of course Suspect Culture!

As Kelly mention, in Timeless the characters are separated across the stage, and they sit at tables, showing a bar, just like our bar scenes... is anybody thinking what I'm thinking? We use a tall table and some chairs on the set? I don't know if that's possible but I thought it might make our set a little less sparse and would give us something to work with.

The other thing I've been thinking about is costume, being costume lady, and I love everyone's idea of having something everyday on top of our PJ's. My girl character seems to be an independent travelling type so I was thinking of wearing a small, but very full rucksack on my back (symbolising the whole home on your back, snail type thing!). So I've been looking through the script thinking of things that would suit other characters. Phil definitely needs something to present the idea of a liar, the fur (or expensive if no one has fur) coat is mentioned in the script but maybe big expensive jewellery as well. Did anyone have any ideas for their character(s)?

Plus Lauren wanted us to think of more homesick gestures and thinking back to the discussions we had about how it felt to feel homesick, maybe holding the stomach and bending over slightly, would show the sick feeling some people described. Or as Ian does in Timeless, using his rubbing the back of his neck gesture, showing discomfort (I just wrote uncomfortableness!). I think that means its time for me to stop talking!

Annie Rook

Monday, November 29, 2004


Just letting Kim know, we are meeting at 10 on Wednesday in the Founders meeting room, the same place we were today.

The main factor I noticed from Timeless was the way that all the actors were positioned on stage. They were all talking as if sitting on one small today but in fact they were spread out over two tables at either side of the stage, facing the audience. They were still talking to the space where the character would have been and this really worked well. I think we could incorporate this into our piece because were were having some trouble moving people around to be in the same section on stage. It showed how two or more people can have a obvious conversation even when sat at different ends of the stage. It also gives the audience a better perspective on things as they can see every expression clearly.

Kelly Barton


I have this idea of the lighting being reminiscent of a doctor's surgery room - with the stage being very metallic-white and sleek. That way the change between certain scenes would be distinguished by the projections on the back wall (video images).

On Wednesday Sam, Claire and I are meeting at Crosslands to merge our technical ideas. From speaking to Chris, I have got the idea that lighting has to be kept simple which actually fits/ reflects Suspect Culture's conventions. What I have been told is that we can have one spot light, some "general cover" that is some basic lighting all over stage.

There are two days before Wednesday and I am keen to hear any suggestions from you. If anybody has some really good ideas on lighting - just post it on a blog and I will consider your ideas and discuss it with Sam and Claire.

And I would like to thank Kim who agreed to swap the roles with me and gave me this possibility to be in charge of lighting.

Ania Nieczuja-Ostrowska

Nia's thought of the Day!

What a productive day we had today folks! It finally felt like all the random ideas and quirky little things we had come up with had finally come together in the form of Dan's super script! I think now our main challange is to really make this performance what we like to call Suspectcultureish! The video watching sesh today really helped and I think that we really took a lot away from it with plenty of ideas that need incorporating in our piece...I think Lauren was going to post most of this and I don't want to steal her thunder! (Plus I'm sure she will make a lot more sense than my babble!) but I think basically we need to work on gestures - big time! We already have the touching our throat gesture which I feel could be used a lot more in the piece... without overdoing it though!... maybe at the end of the migration dance when we all arrive at university? as this is where I think all of us have felt homesick. I think that we also need to start working with the sound and media asap (Claire power!! Sam power!!) and Suspect Culture appear to integrate this totally into their work, like doing their gestures in time to the music and lip-synching alongside the projections... what else... ooo yes... stage space... are we using props at all? maybe a few stools or something? might jazz things up a bit! the stage sometimes to me looks a bit cluttered... Some things I like with a lot of people, like the migration dance, but others I feel need maybe not less people but maybe less people doing things all at once!... does that make sense?!... anyway I've rambled on for way too long now and I'm sure you're all bored of reading this! keep up the good work guys!

Nia Johnston

Radiohead and Questions

Just a quick response to today's rehearsal and suspect culture viewing session. I have just been listening to Kid A again (I know, could be verging on obsessive now!) but was just thinking how brilliantly 'Everything in its right place' fits with the migration dance. The lyrics really seem to make sense and the freaky electronic sound sort of fits with the crazy suspect culture kids! Also, Claire…check out 'the national anthem' as it has no lyrics yet the music is incredible and possibly could be used elsewhere. Oh and 'how to disappear completely' very chilling and moving, especially the lyrics 'I'm not here, is this really happening?' could be linked with homesickness?! Happy listening! I really loved the idea of overshadowing the dialogue in points with music, just like Suspect Culture do in Timeless.

Also just a quick note to make sure that I have my personal rehearsal times in my little head all sorted…Phils - are we meeting tomorrow after Practical Skills still? And the 5 of us (Kelly, Phil, me, Rachel, Julia) are we meeting 10am on Wednesday to rehearse? Didn’t quite catch where we are meeting so if you could send me a text then that would be fab!

Anyway that's it from me but see you all Wednesday if not before!

Kim Varvell

Class: Week Nine

You received the first draft of the script and worked on some preliminary distribution of the lines. I came in at the end and was pleased by what I saw. I look forward to further responses on the blog.

Quick note: there's a missing word in the weird 'mathematics' speech that Philippa was doing. The sentence in the middle should read:
"A jigsaw might weigh about 50 grams. So it would probably contain about 3 x
1025 molecules"
(Not that this will make the speech any easier to understand, learn or say. Tee hee.)

It looks like it's running a little long, so be prepared for the thought that things might have to go or change.

Dan Rebellato

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Company Policy

After reading Lauren's blog, I went and checked out their main site and a few reviews. The main thing that I picked out was their company policy.
"The company develops highly original performance projects from concepts through workshop to presentation on stage. It aims to produce innovative theatre that is both accessible and develops the form".
I think that it pretty much sums up what our group has been doing too. Through workshops in class we are molding together an innovative performance that is "accessible" to almost everyone. There is no doubt in my mind that at one point in every body's life, they have felt a tinge of nostalgia for home....Therefore, everyone can relate to it in some way. It also develops "the form" in the sense that you can take away so much from the concepts in this play...

Congratulations peeps!!

Julia Angeli

Saturday, November 27, 2004

the bilingual enthusiast ... and other things

  • I went to the theatre to see Romeo and Juliet, done by a group from Iceland, and it was excellent! Hhe, very funny and extremely sad! They made fun of the English, kissed the audience, really involved them, etc.(I know I'm completely off the point but...ok!)
  • Anyway, they spoke in English throughout (mostly) but then when it came to the real tragedy (the killings etc., dyings) they spoke in Icelandic (is that the language!!!?? hehe) and it was sooo powerful. It was so personal, honest, I felt like I was intruding because Juliet was really grieving, not acting, but really the Icelandic Juliet and I felt for her, guys, I really did.
  • What I'm saying is that I think speaking in other languages when saying something really honest can be extremely powerful. I know someone said that we should use foreign languages but not for the 'important' bits (I wanna say it was Alice who blogged it??? but I dont remember... sorry!!) but, as you can see, I think that it could have a really powerful effect.
  • I bought a mini slinky, by the way, so we are one slinky richer!
  • I still think the cloth instead of salt would be really nice, and equally meaningful, by the way.
  • I think it's cool to use music but wouldn't it be great if at one moment someone was listening to music, thinking about how happy it made them, reminiscing, and all that... then suddenly, silence, they are alone, sad, homesick.
  • I think that silence can really really be effective and it would make the audiecne feel as though they are intruding...(which I remember Claire, I think, was talking about the whole .... alienating thing... right?)
  • One more thing, I saw this Chinese company dance thing a couple of weeks ago and it just reminded me of it.. ok. the beginning, when we do the migration dance thing.. it could be done in complete silence. everyone going at their own pace, we could create some kind of rhythm. you know.. some kind of rhythmic migration, so we need no music, just ourselves, I dont know why, but I really like the silence, intimate, honest thing. Music sometimes seems to hide the truth, you know?
All from me, for now. Have a nice weekend,

Dana Karic

Friday, November 26, 2004

Suspect Culture's Home(page)

Hello everyone. So we have some kinda crappy rehearsal times, but I know we can all deal with that. Thank you to Alice for going and sorting that out... On another note, I went to Suspect Culture's website the other day and started looking at how they view themselves. If you have not visited the site yet, please please please do! There are reviews of past shows, explanations of what's coming up, and past shows, a description of the company.... they have even posted emails and notes from workshops that follow a play through the process - remind you of something fellow bloggers??? I read some of the entries for Lament and I am going to go look at some others.

Some quotes from the website that might spark some instances of genius: they have a "unique style of high quality original work that is accessible to the widest possible audience" We have been talking about how much we want to alienate the audience because we have often felt alienated when reading the scripts or watching the videos. How can we create this sense of alienation and also appeal to everyone in the audience? I am thinking that we may be reading into this alienation a bit too much and perhaps a lot of it is due to the fact that we have never seen a live performance. I don't know if Dan has any thoughts on this....

"A sense of internationalism is fundamental to the company's identity" we have definitely talked about this. I think that while there may be some lines that we want to be understood by the audience, I did like Dan's comment about keeping some of the good lines to ourselves. Do we find the line about forgetting where you are born important because it will get the audience to think or because we spent a lot of time talking ourselves about where we were born, etc. Maybe it is more important for us to know the line is there than for the audience?

Some of their upcoming shows deal with "attitudes towards love in a world of internet chat rooms, life coaches, and matching agencies" - to be honest I don't think I am even going to go into this one now because this blog would last forever, but clearly this quote deals so much with all that we have been discussing. Just substitute "home" for "love"....I'm sure you can see the connection.

Anyway, if you do get a chance to go onto their site and have a look around it would be very helpful. I think they also have some stuff on their use of media and it is talked about a lot along with music in the email/minutes entries. Have fun exploring! see you all on Monday.

Lauren Abend

Location and Noise

One other thing. I think the train station is probably the best way to go. Clair, maybe you could think of sounds that would go along with that. I'm thinking some kind of repetition of train announcements or something? Depends on how much that might seem to copy the flight announcements in Airport...

Lauren Abend

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Rehearsal Times

Hi guys! Ok, went to the reheasal booking and we got spaces but, basically, they're poo.
  • Wednesday 1st, 8pm-10pm, Rehearsal Room B
  • Friday 3rd, 7pm-10pm, Mirror Room

I know, I know, but it was that or nothing! I think what Lauren and I were saying still stands: not all of you will be needed, or can come for some of the time. Keep in mind this means more small group rehearsals outside these times. However, there should be one meeting where we all come together and show the whole group what we've got. This can be at these times or at other times in commonrooms, etc.

Alice Hansen

Scene Response

I liked all the scenes especially the personal identifications we can all make with them. I think that scene 3 should definitely be performed in a completely separate style to other scenes. It seems to contrast greatly with them and is all about the future and machinery, so perhaps we could perform it in a slightly mechanic way using loads of repeated gestures or something.

I also think that the scenes with more people in and shorter lines should be spoken with different languages. Maybe even if some people can't speak a different language they could try a contrasting accent or really exaggerate their own, so no two people on that stage sound the same. I found the scene about Bristol really funny because instead of saying the tiny village of Tytherington, where I'm from, I always end up just saying Bristol.

I've been working on scene one with Annie and we came to the conclusion that the setting should be perhaps at a bar or something where the conversation is really awkward and polite, with loads of awkward silences.

Kelly Barton

Replying to Dan

With the repetition, I meant throughout every script, to have a VERY obvious repeated line to end, or hidden somewhere, just like we repeat the 'I can't go home any more' in our group scene. I was imagining something similar to Timeless repeating their evening by the lake phrase, it was just an idea that we could add which I thought would make the scenes link.

And with the narrative/linear idea, I think I meant we need to set the scripts somewhere, like someone's idea of the toilets; Like the Airport in Airport, the pub in Timeless and the hotel room in Mainstream.

I used the words linear and narrative in the wrong sense. The overall way that I view Suspect Culture's productions is to see a definite setting for them, so that in my own imagination I build up their productions and I can see them in my mind's eye, but in ours we haven't decided on a place. Although I guess this does present Suspect Culture's more disjointed and abstract use of scenes.

Annie Rook

Musical Inspiration

Hey all, (well sort of to Claire really…)

Just a quickie regarding a little hint of musical inspiration which suddenly hit me whilst I was listening to the oh-so-divine Radiohead OK Computer album. (if you don’t have it, get it…it is a must!). Anyway I have only just realised that one of the tracks could be useful for our production, track 3 is named subterranean homesick alien, and is really moving I feel. The lyrics also seem quite apt to our play (even if they are a little random!). I just thought it could work really well with any of the migration dances or even just in the background. It is a song about homesickness yet the lyrics avoid all of the conventional clichés which we were talking about trying to avoid. Just a quick thought…

See you all Monday!

Kim Varvell

Wising Up

Hey there guys! After reading the scenes (which I thoroughly enjoyed because you could see exactly where Dan had picked up on our classwork, personal touch) I just had a thought (if we wanted to incorporate our ideas of bilinguilism) from developing on our ideas when we had conversations in two languages, what the scenes would be like if we translated one half into another language? Or perhaps repeated the scens in two different languages? Just an idea, I'm off to the drama department in a jiffy to learn some sound stuff so hopefully come to Monday's lesson a much wiser person. Well sound wise...

Claire Stainer

"because the whole point of perfection is that it's unattainable"

Yo, went to london today and brought a top quality slinky for the performance. Also I'm just going to blog what I said in the meeting on Monday night which was that I felt that the performance needed a profound statement, maybe about perfection. I like the script so far, as I think it fits well with with what we are trying to achieve. For me however, most effective line of all the Suspect Culture scripts we have read, was that bit from Timeless, "bla bla bla bla bla bla". It was one of those lines which stays with you and you can't help thinking it in everyday life. I was thinking maybe we could have one about our perfect homes. Sort of "because the whole point of perfection, is that it's unattainable."

I feel that this represents what we all put in our ideas of our home in 50 years. Most people decribed this gorgeous hubby who was rich and amazing, whereas in actual fact, being with such a person would, in reality, make us feel inferior or unworthy.

Philippa Thomas

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Replying to Annie

You're right that it would be silly to stage a 'jumble of scenes'. You don't want to confuse the audience for the sake of it.

But please bear in mind that it's a 20-minute performance (maximum) and any audience - particularly a group of highly intelligent drama students - can concentrate even on quite abstract material for that length of time. A plot might, in fact, seem fussy; remember that the Suspect Culture shows you have read may have narratives (though Lament and Airport certainly don't have single overarching narratives), but they aren't nearly as linear as you describe. Timeless isn't 'linear', nor is Mainstream. Some of the other shows are more so (8000m, for example), others less so (One Two, for example). I'm unsure whether you are really talking about Suspect Culture's work or your own preferences for a theatre of character and story. Suspect Culture's shows are more fragmented and conceptual; you need to take that on board.

The scenes I'm passing to you are deliberately open so that you can decide on character and situation. You shouldn't assume that they are meant to be characterless or placeless. You can create continuities by being careful about deciding which performers play which parts. I'm hoping you may find continuities between them. The things you suggest (repeated lines, etc.) are actually already there.

But as to your first point - that you should have input into them - (a) you already have had enormous input into them, and (b) I've asked you to comment on this blog, so thanks Annie and Sam for doing so. I await comments and ideas from the rest of you.

Dan Rebellato

Linking Our Scenes

Much as Dan's scenes are a super base for us I really think that we as a cast need to be putting some input into them.

I also think that we desperately need something to link the scenes in the 12 minute piece. Each of the Suspect Culture pieces we've seen have in some way had a fairly linear and narrative link and yes, we mention the puzzle, and yes they are all derived from our ideas about homesickness, but I don't feel a real story line which I think is hindering us somewhat in trying to use SC's techniques.

It also means that we are unable to work on actual characters very well.

Maybe if we repeated a line in each piece (using repetition like SC) maybe a line about a utopian home (as SC use ideals a lot) and made the characters the same few people (like in Mainstream) using costume (eg a hat or scarf over the pj's). These are two simple ideas that would make our lives a whole lot easier, and the audiences as they would then have a plot to follow instead of a jumble of scenes as it is at the moment!

Think about it, it makes sense!!

Annie Rook


The notional structure we agreed in the class in week seven was as follows:


Opening: Migration Dance
Individual migrations, building up and layering, with video 'interviews'. Build?
3 minutes

Home sequence
The value of home; images of ideal homes; sheet and stick material.
2 minutes

Barriers to Home
Fragmentation, barriers, problems; things that get in the way of home; forced migration; wanderlust; globalization; work; etc.
12 minutes

Homesick sequence
The physical experience of homesickness; build the metaphorical, haunting associations of it. Poetic?
2 minutes

Ending: Migration Dance
All together, now migration continues beyond nineteen; endless, infinite, shuttling to and fro, never stopping. 'Feel Like Going Home' Charlie Rich. Lights slowly out on the movement.

Dan Rebellato


I really like them everyone. I think the one that describes the home of the future is really interesting and should maybe be played at first like each character is a shopping channel salesman, you know really cheesy, tacky but eventually I think each of the characters should fall apart getting more and more emotional. I like that a lot of it has been taken from things we have said in lessons. I also think the last scene, which seems to be the most emotive, should definitely be played last before the final migration dance so the last lines can be said dramatically, with all turned to the audience with a HUGE pause. How dramatic!

Sam Wood

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I just wanted to quickly state what some of us were talking about at the meeting yesterday. We were discussing the profoundness of some of the lines and "I cant go home because I've forgotten where I was born" was a really impacting one and we found it was slightly lost by being spoken in a foreign language. The idea of using different languages to slightly alienate the audience is great, I just think that this line and perhaps any other really important ones should be said in English. We could even emphasise their importance by all freezing and cutting off any music used, when they are said.

Kelly Barton

Liminal Space: Toilet

I have an idea of a “TOILET” serving as a set. I thought we might create a set of four toilets, each one with a kind of a removable matching door. When the actor enters the toilet and closes the door, then a moving board might be pulled up so that the audience would be able to watch individual inside as if spying on his/her privacy... In my opinion "the toilet" is a great idea for a set as it certainly is an example of liminal space: a sphere of everybody's intimacy which separates us from hectic daily routine - the door itself being the borderline and the entry to the "real" world, where we are ourselves, nude and stripped of the 'masks' worn in everyday reality. There in the toilet we just stop pretending and no longer play a part of, say, a beautiful loving wife or a tough businessman. I hope you know what I mean?

I also thought that we should add some extracts to our script. In the part where we talk about the reasons for which we can not come back home... We could give some real-life examples of: a prostitute, a prisoner, a gay person, an alcoholic sleeping under a bridge, a battered wife, or a rebellious teenager on the run?...I really think that the above examples explain why some people cannot or are not willing to come home. What I would also like to add is what I already mentioned in the class - I mean that in the background there could be an "inner voice" (recorded in various languages) repeating a word "HOME" - might create an effective echo effect.

Bye for now. See you all on Wednesday

Ania Nieczuja-Ostrowska

Rehearsal Times, etc.

Hi everyone! Just want to start by thanking everyone for coming to last night's meeting, wasn't too painful, was it?! Ok, so here are a couple of rehearsals/gatherings that we decided on:

- This Wednesday at 2pm, meet in Crosslands.
- Monday 29th at 4pm in Founder's (east) commonroom to watch another SC video.
- Thursday 9th, 3:30-4:30pm. This will be a group discussion and evaluation hour, where we can all voice any concerns or issues about the piece, hopefully wrinkling them all out over the weekend before the performance.

We agreed that everyone will make a commitment to check the blog as often as possible, as this is the easiest way for Lauren and I to set rehearsals and for the tech team to update the whole group on what they're doing. Please keep blogging your own feedback and ideas, but remember that we're going to have to focus on certain areas now, and obviously we can't use every idea. If you can't make a rehearsal then text Lauren or I asap. Also remember to check your e-mails regularly.

On another note, Lauren and I would like you to blog as many of Suspect Culture's main techniques and characteristics as you can think of. Also try to back them up with some evidence from a couple of sources; eg videos, scripts, Dan's essay, etc. We need these to give us a firm grounding so that we can always have SC's core principles at hand. Also, it will give you a head start with your essays!

Finally, a small note to Dan: We discussed last night how we would like there to be a strong, perhaps moral message running throughout this piece, such as in Mainstream where we realise that the more mainstream we are all becoming, the more different we realise we are. We felt this would give our piece focus, and that this was in line with SC's theatrical practices.

Thanks gang, see you on Wednesday!

Alice Hansen

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Thin (silk) White Line(s)

Teeny tiny blog...

After reading all recent blogs one major thought hit me! Maybe instead of salt we could use silk or any other soft material, ribbon, etc,) as the lines between homes... the white soft material would be beautiful, homely, and easy to clean up. plus we could use it in later sequences as one of out 'sticks' or something.. could use it as an actual physical thing... you know.

Just been thinking about little things that might help :)

Dana Karic

Media Biz

Hey everyone. I thought I'd let you know what I'm gonna be editing this week so if you have any ideas please either contact me or - easier! - blog your idea and hopefully I can use it. The first sequence, the migration dance, will consist of five people's testimonies being projected and being played around with on different parts of the screen etc. For example, one of the people who did theirs in a foreign language will be included and four others that best project our themes. Also this week I'll be editing Philippa's monologue about her ideal home that you'll be showing onstage. Does everyone think it matters too much if what Philippa says is not in time with what's being created with the sheet? It's just that to include all the ideas you've had in the small amount of time she had to talk quite fast! I think it'll be okay. I'll be calling on a few people soon to do some more camera-ing, this may be in or not in lesson time.

Take care everyone, keep the ideas rolling in!

Sam Wood

Class: Week Eight

Today was a very practical class, also the point where control of the project handed over from me to you.

You began by going over some of the stick/sheet images and briefly discussing Mainstream. You seem to have clarified how you would like the whole project to go and had some good ideas for combining gestural and verbal language. Those of you with technical responsibilities had mostly given thought to how your responsibility might be carried out.

Rachael volunteered to act as Stage Manager. Kim and Anna swapped jobs (see amended Cast and Crew list).

I brought in some sample texts, mainly to try out different kinds of speech, dialogue, voices, and juxtapositions. My feelings were that:
  • The group is able to carry off a wide range of performance texts.
  • Monologue work can create a serious dip in energy.
  • The fragmented style works very well but it would be good to create more concrete, grounded situations to allow the audience 'in' a little more
  • The fragmented style requires the performers to demand the attention of the audience more swiftly and determinedly; you have to claim the audience's attention and switch them to focus on what you were doing, or else you'll be halfway through your sequence and their attention and the theatrical atmosphere will still be hanging over from the previous section.
  • The 'I can't go home any more' sequence worked very nicely. I think with Suspect Culture that minimalism is a good standing principle; don't clutter sequences, choose one or two small movements.

I shall present some bits of script by Wednesday and a full first draft on Monday. You're meeting today at 5.00 in Crosslands to plan rehearsals, technical deadlines and other meetings.

Dan Rebellato

A Few Scattered Ideas

There have been a few ideas floating around my head since last week's lesson which I thought I'd post. Firstly, I'm really interested in the physical symptoms of homesickness and travelling. And it struck me how unhealthy it is to go on the underground, as the fumes from the tunnels can (apparently) give you cancer. Then I started thinking about other methods of travel like driving, and how this is polluting our atmosphere and planet. And then it hit me! Travel is killing our planet! Our Land! OUR HOMES! Can we somehow explore this and see whether we can work it into the sickness section of our piece?

Secondly, got some belated feedback to give the group on the mobile phone exercises we did 2 weeks ago. I thought these exercises worked very well, and what was really interesting was that there were particular reccurent gestures/vocal characteristics that were being demonstrated during certain deviations of the exericise. For example, during the third exercise when you were explaining that you couldn't come home ever again:
  • Lots of sitting down and closed body postures (hugging bodies)
  • Starting slowly, upbeat introductions, lots of nervous laughter
  • Touching of the chest (this particular gesture was used a lot, could it be that we have found the gesture for homesickness???), neck and throat
  • Scratching head, rubbing eyes, touching head.

Also, while I'm really keen about the salt patterns I'm wondering how we could practically achieve this. Even in rehearsals that means having a lot of salt and needing to clean it up everytime...Is there no other, easier way of marking our tracks? But I don't want to sound like I don't love this idea because I really do!

Alice Hansen

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Perfect Image of Home

It might be a bit late (and I'm not really that sure on what has been determined so far) but just been thinking about some more ideas for our project. I was thinking about how in Airport (at least I think it's Airport!?) the characters repeat throughout their perfect image of travel, something involving a cold blue lake...really should have checked this in the play before posting this blog.....oh well! anyway to the point!!...I thought that maybe we could incorporate into our piece our perfect image of home. I think we spoke about this briefly in class and I remember some ideas were a warm log fire and the smell of bread being baked! Maybe if we discussed this a bit more we could come up with an sort of universal 'perfect' image of home and repeat it throughout the piece maybe in different languages or even sung?!? just an idea....

Nia Johnston

PS. Hotseating sounds great count me in!! :)

Slinky Queen

Hi there, just a quick blogg today.....I have a slinky!!! Yes I do indeed and it is marvellous! I bought it from the gadget shop in the week, not only is it the most beautiful slinky in the world it was also half price (student budget and all that jazz)! God bless the Gadget Shop. Amen.

I was just thinking about some sound ideas. I don't whather this would work, but I was just wondering if anyone had any sounds which reminded them of home? This is probably a bit difficult, but it could be anything like the sound of children laughing etc. I just thought that would be quite nice to have some sort of sound collage over the part with our immigration dance? I really think that part needed some sort of sound to accompany it and it worked really nicely with the music, so perhaps as a group we should narrow down some music which we feel is related to "homesickness" or most reminds us of home.

Thats all for now folks!! Bloggarama!

Claire Stainer


I've just finished reading Mainstream and once again I've thoroughly enjoyed one of Suspect Culture's plays! My interpretation of it, (which could be completely wrong) is that the base and the structure of the play is given right at the beginning. As the play goes on it's given flesh and substance. The conversations between A&R and Personnel are elaborated, the settings are made more clear and the feelings and emotions become more profound as you continue reading.

One thing that stands out though is the repetition used throughout. Certain things are repeated to give more connotation to it and other parts are repeated in different circumstances, so that you can make your own valid link to the situation.

This particular style runs throughout all of Suspect Culture's plays and maybe we could incorporate it into ours.

Maybe this is too late to do in the script, but the possibilities are now endless seeing that we have our lovely lighting, media and costume designers...

Julia Angeli

Friday, November 19, 2004

Ideas for Media

Ladies, ladies, ladies……(and Dan)!

I've had some fantastic ideas, as you would expect (!), for projection we can incorporate. To let you all know so you're clear, you will move around the space, hopefully, while a projection of you is projected with sound, of one of the interviews edited down to at the most a minute/minute and a half or so. It is possible to have as many people's interviews projected at the same time, perhaps they could build up and fill the screen when everyone has met in the middle of the room (rhul) during the migration dance?

Also whichever liminal space we choose, I will hopefully find symbols and pictures common to the setting, such as no smoking signs, gentlemen's toilets etc. These will be hopefully faded in and out as the scene progresses maybe? Nothing too brutal, subliminal images to create a setting.

Really enjoying this challenge guys!

Sam Wood

Thursday, November 18, 2004


For my role as lighting designer, this week I set about researching what we are exactly allowed to do with regards to the lighting of the show. Because quite a few of the other groups are using the same spaces we need to discuss and compromise as soon as possible really. At the moment it looks like each show will be allowed a few 'special' lights or techniques, unique to our show, and the rest of the lighting will just provide full cover.

So all of this endless ramble is just to raise the question…what sort of special effects do we want to create? My initial responses were: exciting and vibrant colours and possibly one or two spotlights. If we do decide to show homely situations and also liminal spaces then I think it would be a good idea to reflect this in the lighting, to have a flood of yellows and reds for a homely scene and turn the lighting much more cold and stark with whites and blues.

Also I thought it would be good to introduce spotlights possibly at the beginning and the end of play during the migration dance. I love the moment when we all arrived together at Royal Holloway and we are all focussed in a small clump where our new found 'homes' are. If we lit the scene with a blurred spotlight then it could create the effect of moving away from home, yet always being drawn back to the light as it were. Anyway just some ideas to ponder on…

See you all Monday!

Kim Varvell

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


My new role as costume lady, has led me to thinking what on earth are we going to do for costume. I think we need to have something that links us all together within our costume, particularly if we decide to play only one character between us. I think the old, 'lets all dress in black' idea would be a little boring and wouldn't leave us much scope for our piece.

Are there different clothes that we particularly link with home? I remember talking to Claire (again) and her home-home is only a few miles away from me so we shop for clothes in the same shopping centre and when we realised this it made us smile. Maybe there are clothes that have been made for you by someone special for example my friend's ma made her a Poncho, and I brought in my shammy coat as my homely object.

I even though maybe all wearing PJ's or dressing gowns would represent that we always have home in our thoughts. And a definition of home sickness is 'a pre-occupation with home-focused thoughts.' which this would show brilliantly!

I wondered what clothing everyone else related with home?

Annie Rook

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Singing from the Same Song Book

I've been thinking about the performance and I also like the idea of people singing on stage. I think it would bring the experience onto a more personal level for the audience. Also here maybe we could incorporate songs sung in different languages, or even the same song in another language sang over each other to represent the fact that were all feeling the same but the sound is incoherent.

Philippa Thomas

Monday, November 15, 2004


The way the guy in One Two used just a pillow with him standing up to represent a bed was great and I think we could try and incorporate this into our piece. The Suspect Culture plays seem to use fairly minimalistic props, so just using a pillow might work for any scenes which we had to portray a bedroom or anything.

Also something said in class reminded me of a section in Airport, where they are all talking about what they have brought and in turn come to the front of the stage, speak their piece and finish with the same movement. I think if we could somehow bring this repeated movement and dialogue into our piece it could be effective, especially if spoken in different languages.

Kelly Barton

Homesick: Cast and Crew

Alice Hansen
Lauren Abend

Media and Sound
Sam Wood
Claire Stainer

Annie Rook

Stage Manager
Rachael Smith

Anna Nieczuja Ostrowska

Kim Varvell
Philippa Thomas
Annie Rook
Rachael Smith
Elina Pissioti
Dana Karic
Nia Johnston
Kelly Barton
Julia Angeli

Dan Rebellato

Class: Week Seven

A productive class, I thought, but one that will be fairly quick to summarise.

I started by outlining a suggested structure for the show, which you discussed. There was some debate about whether the middle section needs to be given a single location or not. Various locations were proposed, including a public toilet and a railway station. There was concern that the show could seem to diffuse and abstract without being grounded in place. (We might also want to give a sense of place to underscore the 'home' theme.)

I liked the discussion of rooms containing memories of all those who made their home there. I suggested that an estate agent showing someone round an empty house could be an interesting sequence, because theatrically it allows us to imagine a set into an empty space.

There was a suggestion that we should follow a single character or a series of characters through different locations and experience, possibly alternative outcomes. This would link to themes in Mainstream, Timeless and Airport.

I agreed that we needed a sense of character, but I think this could simply mean that each situation is firmly realized rather than forcing us to adopt 'rounded' naturalistic characters.

I then asked you to suggest how you would complete a white jigsaw, and what childhood games you remembered. There was some lovely stuff here. And then we drifted into Barbie irrelevance. (And Irrelevant BarbieTM will be in the shops this Christmas.)

You split into two groups, one to record some more video of your home memories and ideas, the other to find more 'home' images with sheets and sticks. By the end of the class, everyone had been videoed. (Though I would also like us to 'hotseat' some fictional memories and video that too, in exactly the same way. Perhaps Nia?)

The sheet and sticks group did some good work. There were some nice images of ideal homes of the future, and some rather more effective, slightly more abstracted and minimal, images of non-homely homes: an illegal migrant's transient home in a container, a prison, a homeless person's doorway. There was also a more general and warm image of home, in a kind of slumber party.

We then looked at the beginning of One, Two, Suspect Culture's 2003 show, which uses music (and musicians) in a much more foregrounded way than usual - though note that a key moment in Lament is when Nick Powell appears on the stage to play keyboard live. You were very positive about this show and we noted that, even though it was very abstract and spatially not given an obvious sense of location, it worked well. We noticed that the experience of your head whirling because you can't sleep is a common one allowing immediate audience access to the experience. The experiential quality of the music - the volume, the lights, the presence of the musicians - was physically very exciting. The formality of the counting was intriguing and quasi-poetic. We also noted the visual juxtaposition of all that technology (it must be Suspect Culture's most high-tech show) and the pillow, which is something we might be able to draw on.

For next week:
  • Watch Mainstream. Rachael has the video and is arranging a viewing. Otherwise, I will leave a small number of copies in the office for you to borrow and read between you.
  • Write me a postcard and leave it in my pigeonhole.

Dan Rebellato

Sunday, November 14, 2004


In case there is a bit of confusion about the silences in Lament that are used to replace words I think Dan wrote in his essay that these are ideas and aspects of idyllic, unaffected rural-esque life that have been almost phased out by the modern world. Almost like Latin or something, things that we would not understand or would never have come across. I hope that makes sense!

Also, I thought of possibly another sheet idea, it might be a bit naff and we might reject it but what if we all stood in a line with the two people at the front ducking as they walk, with the sheet over all of us. Then if we moved around the space in a follow-the-leader fashion our shape and movements could suggest a caravan? moving home? catch my drift?!

And another thing (sorry) if i do get chosen to do media I was presuming that would be projection, and for those of you that saw Dan's play Here's What I did with My Body One Day I'd like to incorporate abstract images like the ones seen. Maybe hint at settings rather than present them realistically. I've never thought of experimenting with projection before but Dan's play was quite inspirational!

Sam Wood

Barbie and Home

The cleaning products that make me think of home would be Cif and Mr Muscle polish. My mum uses Cif for everything around the house and I use it to clean the piano's now neglected keys. Also an image from my childhood is my mum polishing the coffee table in the lounge, because I used to live off that table, eating off it, making it into a house for my Barbie (!) and its most treasured function was as my 'Art Table' so it was always covered in paint and glue (this was right up to my A-levels!!) and therefore needed to be cleaned often.

I don’t have a slinky.

The home I would like to live in when I’m 50 would be right in the centre of London (provided I either A: become a millionaire, or B: marry one). It would be a unique building, either really old like a renovated chapel or warehouse - lofty, spacious, at least 4 floors, huge arch windows and brickwork, or a really modern building designed for me by a famous architect, that looks more like a sculpture than a house. It will be really stylish but still homely; there will be elements of me and my family in the decor rather than it looking like it's fallen straight out of a design catalogue. It will have featured in a Sunday newspaper 'Homes' magazine. I will try my best not to clutter it with too much stuff but there will be elements of mine and my family’s life in every room ... statues and trinkets collected from global travels ... real works of art on the walls ... photos and postcards everywhere ... theatre programmes/posters ... (all very tasteful, of course!)

Lastly there has to be a studio in the house where I can escape to do my art (call it an extension on the coffee table) preferably in a loft with huge windows from where if you squint you can see the Thames. One thing that differs from everyone else’s idea of their future home is that when I picture it I don't really imagine my family to be there, I suppose I am presuming that by that age the last of the kids will be at uni or will have their own house. Just me and hubby number two growing old together. That’s not to say it wont always be full of people and family who are visiting or over for dinner (I like the idea of having a 'granny flat' so loads of people can stay!) Oh and I forgot to mention the baby grand. Very important.

Rachael Smith

Saturday, November 13, 2004

When I Am Old And Grey (Not That 50 Year Olds Are Old Or Gray!)

When I’m 50, in my ideal world I’ll be in a huge mansion on the outskirts of London, overlooking the countryside. In reality though I know I’d be much happier just in a small house, again in the countryside with old cottage style furnishings, and most definitely a log fire. I will also be using Lemon Jif (Cif) to clean my sinks!

Annie Rook

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hair and Home

Ok so as long as we are all sharing homesick experiences I may as well add another...

On Tuesday I took a break from all of the heavy studying that I had already begun at the start of reading week and went into London to get my hair cut. Now being the poor student that I found a brilliant way to get a great hair cut for really cheap: go to a training academy and have a student cut my hair! I booked my appointment at the vidal sassoon advanced academy, hey it sounds professional enough right? To be honest paying a 5er for a hair cut wasn't going to be bad no matter who was doing it. It was actually pretty cool and I would do it again I think, but you have to let them do pretty much whatever they want and I couldn't really tell whether I liked it or not. I have since then come to accept the cut and I do like it and I will probably go back at some point, but back to the homesick part....

See, when I got back to RHUL I still wasn't sure whether I liked it and I was getting a little negative about it. My friends of course told me they liked it, but I didn't believe them. Not one bit. All I wanted to do was walk into my house back in Carlisle and ask my mom, who would have told me right away whether it was horrible. I felt pretty homesick for a while because the picture I sent her from my phone didn't give her a good enough idea of what it looked like. I wasn't going to be able to get her opinion and that made me sad. I even wrote to her and told her that, yes, my crazy new hair had made me homesick.

Lauren Abend

I'm back!..

Hi everyone!! I just got back from Greece and may I say.. I feel really really homesick.. It helped seeing my family and friends again but now I feel that the distance between us is so big.. Anyway, I'm ok, no worries :)

I just wanted to respond to Dan's enquiries.

Generally on cleaning products I haven't got much to say as I never did a lot of cleaning when I was at home. There's just one thing.. the green liquid soap we used at home to wash the dishes. I just hated the way it smelt but I remember being young and squeezing the bottle to make hundreds of small bubbles. Now at uni when I do my dishes I use a different soap: it's yellow and smells like lemon but it's just not the same thing! Although I hated that soap and I thought it was bad for the hands as well, I was used to it and now In can't find it in England.

Now... a slinky?? I don't think I've ever seen one in my life.. So I'm pretty sure I don't have one. I'd really like to see one though because I thought Claire's idea was very interesting!

Also about my home when I'm fifty: I think of it as really modern and high-tech, having Big glass windows and letting a lot of sunlight in, it would have a really big bookcase with tons of old and new books. But it would also be very warm, cozy and homey, with a kitchen filled with baked food smells and not microwave cooked meals. I would also like to have a garden and cats and dogs running around, because I've always lived in an apartment and I never had that.

Lastly (phew!..) I sort of had this idea in my head for quite a while now but then I saw that Lauren thought the exact same thing so I agree with her. So, what if we all cuddled and twirled up inside the sheets? Doesn't that feel sort of like home? Or just al of us lying on the floor as we would in a giant bed, and the sheet would serve as a... sheet, to cover us. Pretty simple and obvious but still feels like home!

See you all soon!

Elina Pissiotti

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Input from Mars!! [sic]

I don't actually associate any smells of household cleaning products with home. I guess an obvious one would be the smell of fabric softener though, those guys sure know how to capture heaven in a woolly jumper! why does it feel so good to put a soft, fragrant, big jumper on when you're cold?

Another thing I'd like to mention is a bit of a wierd one. I finally realised I live away from home and am self-dependant when I replaced the toilet block in my cistern! I realised I've never done that before! How strange? And this one's not so much cleaning product related but cleaning related, when I bleach the floor in my en-suite I use a method of drying the floor that my dad taught me and which therefore makes me think of him. I put an old towel on the floor and shuffle around with it on my feet, drying the floor as I go! I'll give you a demonstration next lesson if you're at all unclear as to how this is carried out!

Maybe the reason I don't really associate cleaning products with home is the fact my dad is always changing the products he uses, he's a house-husband by the way, he always buys products that are on offer "two for the price of one" and all that jazz, so there isn't a product which he's stuck with really. My dad's brilliant!

I've never owned a slinky I'm afraid but was always jealous of the kids that were given every toy that's ever been popular!

The home I'll live in when I'm fifty will be self-cleaning so i don't have to get up off my arse! No not really!.... I think I'll own so many cats so there will be cat hair everywhere and I'll complain about it all day but I'll never stop getting more and more cats. Maybe I'll have some puppies too.I'll have a massive sofa that you sink into when you sit on it. Also I'll have a massive television with a Bose (TM) sound system and a huge working fire. I'll have a four poster double bed and a huge bath that the water tank will have trouble filling up! I'll hopefully live in Wales in some remote area with my husband/wife and maybe we'll have some kids too.

As for the "home" images, I think a thought provoking image would be a load of our group huddled up with the sheet round them and only their eyes showing. This could represent your idea of immigrants' travelling places that become homes or just people struck with poverty. Mybe each of the people in the huddle should look around at the audience, looking into their eyes to provoke unsaid responses.

Sam Wood

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Hey guys, just finished watching the film of Lament that Rachael kindly organised for us and I just thought I'd jot down some quick points that I noted after watching a whole performance from the company.
  • Continuous theme of repeating a certain gesture. I know we discussed this when we watched parts of Timeless, but it's not until you watch a full feature that you realise the extent they go to in order to link all the fragmented scenes together.
  • The use of overlapping and smooth transactions between each scene in order to create a coherant piece of theatre.
  • When watching we noted a technique which none of us could understand where it involved long pauses randomly during the middle of certain extracts for no apparent reasons. It did kind of look as though they had forgotten their lines but I can't think of a real reason for doing this! Anyone have any ideas of can shed any light as to why they would do this?
  • The importance of multimedia as a backdrop. For example, in Lament there was the showing of the shopping channel and the news in the background which intertwined with the specific scene.
  • I think everyone will enjoy the play after watching it. I know that I did. For some reason it becomes much clearer on stage and I know that some people didn't enjoy the fragmented nature of the script. Although it is still very jumpy and often hard to stay focused on, it is helped by the fluidity between the scenes.
  • The ending for the show is very important. It seems very choreographed and often sums up the intentions of the show. Even though I wasn't really listening to the monologues, the combination of movement, music and sounds from the actors created a real emotional response for some reason.

Anyway, that was just some quick thoughts I had and I would really recommend watching this one especially as it was such a disappointing read (for me personally!)

Claire Stainer

My Mum, Sue

I've been reading other people's descriptions of their ideal homes and the main thing they have in common is that their homes are all full of people. This suggests that the essential ingredients for the home is that it is lived in. It's that feeling that the space is inhabited that makes that particular space homely. Remember when we were talking about show homes and how they are designed to be made to feel lived in but it is never quite achieved. Anyway, I guess my ideal home would be big, but cosy. Big kitchen and fireplaces, like Julia, are essential probably because my house now has a beautiful fireplace in every room. the idea of the kitchen being the central meeting place is nice. The garden would be big and natural looking, probably a bit wild with maybe a wood and stream at the end where my children could experience their first broken bones exploring. (Only joking.) I dont really like to think of where I'm going to be when in years to come so I don't know the location of this house.

As for the slinky, afraid I broke all 5 of mine which I have owned over the years but could put you in touch with my supplier.

The smells which remind me of home are Persil liquid capsules. My mother, Sue, supplied me with two boxes of them upon my arival in uni and I haven't needed to buy more yet but I can assure you that won't be changing. Often at home once Sue had taken the warm clothes out of the tumble dryer, I would spread them out over the bed and roll around in them because they smelled warm and clean. However my mother would then shout and tell me no one would ever marry me if they knew how messy I was.

Philippa Thomas

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

My Definition

Having read Claire's post I started thinking about when I've experienced homesickness and what it was about that time of being away from home that made me react in such a way. I also got to thinking about comfort zones. For anybody who doesnt know about comfort zones they refer to areas in which a person feels secure and happy. Everybody has different comfort zones and people's comfort zones can change depending on your experiences throughout your life; however, your emotional state of mind can also greatly affect your comfort zones. I first heard the term when I was in India in July with a organisation called World Challenge; we were trecking for 14 days through the Himalayas. A few of us were discussing, with the leader, a girl who was finding the experience particularly hard and he explained to us that some people had
small comfort zones and others have large. In going to India we were all expanding our comfort zones, but this girl was having trouble adapting to this new way of life and was therefore feeling homesick. This is therefore how I would define homesickness, an awareness of being away from what you consider to be comfortable. I say awareness because i think that this is a major factor of homesickness.

As a child I was moved around a lot between my mother's house and both my grandparents' houses, and the only time I ever felt homesick was if I was ever very ill. I feel that this was because at a young age the boundaries of my comfort zones were stretched, therefore I found it easy to feel comfortable in a number of surroundings and environments. However when I went to Spain last Easter I was going to escape a number of problems at home. As soon as I arrived I experienced homesickness in away that I had never done before. I rang home crying and felt a dread at the fact that I had no way of getting back. I also think that an aspect of homesickness is your ability to get home. Here I have my car; in reality I'm never more that a couple of hours' drive from Cardiff; however I think that if I was not able to get home, I would probably have experienced homesickness here. It's that feeling of isolation and inability two return which makes you want it so bad and I think makes home sickness. It's nice to have the option to go back even if you never end up using it.

Philippa Thomas

Smells and Perfumes

Me and Kim are on the same wave length when it comes to washing powders! Since I can remember my mum has always used Persil washing powder, and it's not so much the result of cleanliness but more the smell. I love it when the washing is put on the radiators to dry on a long winters evening, when it's just getting dark and the street lights are being switched on and you walk in to your house and you can smell a fresh, clean smell... It makes all the difference.

The perfect house for me in 31 years time, would have to be in Italy. It would be huge, because I intend on having a large family, (four children). It will have high ceilings and big rooms and a huge fireplace made out of mortar stones. We will continue lighting the fire until March, because I love the smell of woodsmoke mixed with cold Winter air. It will be full of memorabilia from far away places... Buddhist statues, African paintings, rugs from Mexico, carvings from India, to remind me of all the beautiful places we'd visited... I'd have wooden floors with sheepskin rugs everywhere to retain the warmth and beams running across the ceilings... I'd want the house to always be full of noise and chaos, with children and grandchildren coming to visit and friends and relatives coming to eat...

Ummmmm... Anyway, I really could go on for ever so I'll leave it here. Hope it's useful!

Julia Angeli

Home Info

Ok, I don't think any domestic products really remind me of home, perhaps the closest (and strangest) thing would be Dettol Anti-bacterial Surface Cleaner, just because it was my job to feed the animals and pack the dishwasher at night, and I used to clean the surfaces with Detol. Oh, and Cif (lemon) for the bathroom! Like Kim, had to take some of that with me to Uni, and no, I will not change to a cheaper brand.

Don't have a slinky, sorry.

House at 50 would be large, either in New York or just outside London. I want to be the 'big mama', you know, like Italian grannies who are the centre of the family? So I'd have a gorgeous, huge kitchen with paintings on the walls, that would be the centre of the house. There'd be quite a lot of people living there, I think. Probably my mum and sister as well as my husband and kids. I like the idea of the house having lots of life in it. So, a big kitchen/breakfast area, living room (decorated in deep reds and browns)and dinning room (very modern, large table, hanging lights) and several bedrooms (plus a spacious walk-in wardrobe pour moi!). I really like ivory and cream coloured walls, so most of the colour would come from the furniture (mostly wood, some glass). The house would have a traditional styling and always be clean. My basic need is to be close to a big city but away from the crowds/noise/ugly office blocks.

And a little idea for the sheet and stick homes, what about just one person sitting on the sheet (folded) to represent a tramp?

Alice Hansen

Monday, November 08, 2004

Converted Barns and Persil

When I'm 50 I would like to be living in a large detached country house (possibly a barn conversion) in the Cotswolds or anywhere in the country near Oxford. I've always pictured my house to have a huge kitchen, mainly because we've never had a very large kitchen and I've always wanted a huge Aga as a central piece. There's just something about Agas that I really love, the idea that they heat the whole house as well as cooking your dinner, and they just look so elegant, and really stand out as the central focus of the room. The whole house would have an old feel to it, exposed wooden beams and wooden flooring with gorgeous rugs decorating every floor, brought from far-off corners of the world. (Hubby and I would have spent the first few years of married bliss travelling the world!)

The living room would have an open log fire and the whole family would snuggle around it during the winter!

Ideally my house would have a really large garden so my and my gorgeous husband could take the dogs (two border collies!) for walks on a wintery Sunday morning together. Also in the summer it would be perfect for barbecues and entertaining!

As for cleaning products, I have always associated Tesco's non-bio washing tablets with home. Now I know this may sound slightly strange, but ever since I can remember, my mum has always used these to wash our clothes. The really weird thing is that when I came to University, the first washing powder I bought was this one, I remember I didn’t even look down the aisle in Tesco's to see if anything better was on offer. It was an instant and automatic decision in my mind that I must buy that exact brand. Even yesterday, when I attempted to buy a Persil washing powder (just to see if I could!) I found myself telling my mind that 'no, it's too expensive and probably wouldn’t work any better anyway'.

I wonder if I will ever be able to buy a different washing powder without having a guilty concience.

Kim Varvell