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.
This is the weblog for a project at the Department of Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London, investigating the Scottish theatre company, Suspect Culture.
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.
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...
Congratulations on a terrific performance. I was very proud of you all.
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)
I managed to meet with Chris and rearrange the lightning. It is still very simple however the new changes should fit the final draft.
Hope everything goes well! Keeping my fingers crossed. See you tomorrow!
Ania Nieczuja Ostrowska
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
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!
Here's the feedback I didn't get a chance to mention:
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
Please continue to report back on rehearsals or offer ideas on the blog. I look forward to watching the show.
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.
After watching Timeless we started to dispute on subject such as gesturers reflecting the homesickness.
Howdy! Ok, I've got lots of little bits of information to distribute...
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.
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.
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!
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?
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:
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!
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).
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.
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
Bonjour suspect culturettes,
...mainly about Blogging! And of course Suspect Culture!
Just letting Kim know, we are meeting at 10 on Wednesday in the Founders meeting room, the same place we were today.
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).
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.
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.
"A jigsaw might weigh about 50 grams. So it would probably contain about 3 x(Not that this will make the speech any easier to understand, learn or say. Tee hee.)
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...
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.
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...
Hi guys! Ok, went to the reheasal booking and we got spaces but, basically, they're poo.
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.
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.
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.
Hey all, (well sort of to Claire really…)
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...
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."
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.
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.
The notional structure we agreed in the class in week seven was as follows:
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!
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.
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?
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:
Teeny tiny blog...
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.
Today was a very practical class, also the point where control of the project handed over from me to you.
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.
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?
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!
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....
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'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.
Ladies, ladies, ladies……(and Dan)!
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.
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.
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.
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.
A productive class, I thought, but one that will be fairly quick to summarise.
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!
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.
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!
Ok so as long as we are all sharing homesick experiences I may as well add another...
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 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?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!)