Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Spring Projects

Our Spring Project performance dates are now only a week away, and I'm feeling excited, nervous, and daunted by the amount of work still to be done.

Circomedia have agreed to allow me to have a live musician/sound designer as part of my piece, namely my lovely partner Matt.  This was important to me as we want to collaborate together professionally in the future, and this seemed like a great opportunity to try out ideas.

Sound and music are integral to the piece that I've been developing, which tells the story of a woman so obsessed with newspapers that she lives vicariously through them, and struggles daily to leave the house.  There are no words in the piece, yet the soundscape that Matt and I have been designing lets the audience hear what the character hears - the whispers and babble of the newspapers talking to her.  The added layer of having this played live, along with visible newspaper scrunches into a microphone and accordion music, helps to add a layer of theatricality that lets the audience know that what is happening is only a perception of reality, not the reality itself.

Or at least, that's the idea.  Let's see what happens...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Time to Relax and Enjoy

So the most stressful week to date at Circomedia has finally been and gone.  Last Friday we presented our physical theatre and acro group pieces for this half term, and I am so glad that they're out of the way.  On February 8th we'll be presenting our Spring Projects, which is our first opportunity to make work which is entirely self-directed, and a chance to explore where we may want to go once we've left the course.  So trying to get together in groups for extra rehearsal when everyone is on different timetables has been fraught and tiring in equal measures.

In PT we've been working with Larval masks, which has been a new experience for me.  They're a funny mixture of having to use the body in very unnatural ways to produce a 'natural' looking result (obviously the masks don't move, so in order to emote, you have to show this through movements of the chest), and paring everything down to its component parts - in a mask every movement is more noticeable, so it's important to consider everything you do, right down to the flick of a finger, otherwise the mask appears to be 'talking' all the time.

Our brief for this presentation was to play an emotionally charged situation which didn't require words.  In case you can't tell, I'm the one who enters carrying the rose.


And in acro we've been working on tempo moves, which basically means throws and catches or anything with rhythm and movement involved.  I've also been taking part in an extra curriculur rope class on a Monday evening, which my arms aren't liking very much.  This just made last week ten times harder than it already was, hence the very large tubi-grip on my left arm.


So now it's time to breathe deeply, remember how much I love being here, and get stuck into my Spring Project.  I was so scared of trying to create something of my own before I arrived at Circomedia, because I felt that I didn't know how to begin, and now I just couldn't be more excited at the thought.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Feelings of Guilt

Before I came to Circomedia, I remember saying to my partner, "I'm really looking forward to training full time, because I'll come home at 6pm every night, and I won't have to beat myself up about whether I'm going to go to the gym or do a dance class.  I'll just be able to relax."  How wrong I was.  I feel guilty pretty much every moment I'm not at Circomedia.  Every evening when I leave (which is usually between 6.30-9pm), there are still students there training; every weekend is the same.  It's really hard to find the right balance, and it's difficult not to compare yourself to the other students, yet we're all so very different.

My greatest fear is that in the future I'll look back on this time and feel that I didn't make the most of this amazing opportunity.  But the reality is that there just aren't enough hours in the day to take part in the taught classes, write up notes on every session, be thoroughly prepared for each presentation and written assignment, eat well, sleep well, and do extra training in our 'free' time.  And so we all have to prioritise.

My priorities are to make the very most out of the amazing teaching that Circomedia offers, to take on feedback, to explore my own creativity, to learn how to use my body in new ways, and to keep a record of everything that happens during this time, so that I can apply all of these learnings for future practice.

I've been struggling to write this blog all weekend, because I can't seem to find the conclusion to it.  Normally when I reach the end of writing a blog, I've somehow managed to work through whatever issue it was that had been bothering me.  Not so this time.  There is no conclusion to be had.  This just isn't a nine to five kind of a job.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Okay, with the help of the wonderful Wayne at Circomedia, I think I may have finally cracked uploading videos to this blog.  You'll have to watch them on YouTube, but essentially it's the same as the ones that have gone before (i.e. click and watch.  Easy, eh?)

The first is our presentation for the Lecoq based movement technique that we studied in the first 8 weeks of last term.  Lecoq would have called each of these movement and mime phrases 'etudes', and they're great for increasing physical precision and articulation.  The presentation called for us to choreograph all of the movements in a sequence, with as much of an eye for spacing and creativity as possible.  They may seem strange, and/or a bit dull, but here's the link anyway:


And the second is much more fun: our end of term acro presentation, where we were free to delve into character and theme.  We also had to work with a prop from a choice of a chair, a school bench, a rope and a gym horse.  We chose the chair, and this is what happened.  Enjoy!