Resilience / Collaborative Project
1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
Practical task 2 within Unit 1 was a collaborative project where we should make and present a piece of devised performance, with the guidance and support of two project tutors, Jane Collins and Michael Vale.
On 5 November 2015, we were given briefing on the project and chose partners to work with in groups of four. My group partners were May Davies, Mark Morreau and Goncalo Carvalho.
The aim was to make a devised performance using the idea of resilience as a starting point. The budget for the whole class was 300 pounds, which meant we had to be very conscious on how much we spent on materials.
The development of the performance.
Our first response to the term resilience was to look into different meanings of the word. Objects can have resilience, the ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed or stretched. It can also represent person’s ability to recover from illness or adversity. We did some experimentation on the resilience of different materials and found plastic bottles to be interesting thing to work with. We also knew that we wanted to activate the audience, let them take part, and it would also be interesting to try to test their resilience. E.g. how long could a performer just stand and squeeze a bottle before the audience gives up?
Another material that we found very interesting to work with was oobleck, or non-Newtonian fluid. It is made out of cornflower and water and has properties of both liquids and solids. You can slowly dip your hand into it like a liquid, but if you squeeze the oobleck or punch it, it will feel solid. We did some exiting experimentation with the material and decided we wanted to give the audience chance to play with it during the performance.
On 9th and 10th of November we had the opportunity to play and experiment in the theatre space. One thing we explored was focus and perspective and where we wanted our audience to be located in the space. We decided to use live feed camera to show different angles of the bottle squeezing. We would use three projectors and project onto cling film in front of black walls, after having tried to project onto few different surfaces.
In the end of November and beginning of December the group had regular meetings where we developed our ideas, made a storyline and a rough model box for our performance. We thought it suited our performance well to use plastic looking materials for the set, and decided to go with a laboratory themed design, where the whole floor would be covered with dust sheets. In the middle of the floor we would have a big table where we would make experiments with bottles and oobleck. The four of us would act as performers and be dressed in boiling suits, wearing protection glasses, gloves and blue socks. The audience would be seated on the balconies and the performance should take place both down on the floor and on the balconies. As our storyboard was divided into several scenes, we thought it could as well blend into the other groups’ performances.
In the week 14th-18th of December we had a production meeting with where it was decided that our performance and the “Group Fabric’s” performance would be joined into one performance. During this week we also had access to workshops and again opportunity to work in the theatre.
Working on the set.
In the first week after the Christmas break, 11th-14th of January, we worked in the theatre. We set everything up on the Monday, on the Tuesday we had a long tech rehearsal and then we finished what was left on Wednesday. On Thursday morning we had a dress rehearsal and then two shows in the afternoon. In my opinion we could have avoided having to spend as much time as we did on the tech rehearsal if we would have had an opportunity to rehearse better together with the “fabrics” group in advance. I believe it would also have been more effective if someone would have acted as a stage manager.
Overall I learned a lot from this project. My group worked well together, which is very important in a project like this. We surely had some technical problems, but most of them were solved in the end. It was a challenge only being given one word to respond to, being used to work with texts. But I suppose that is something that is something I can also learn from.
The final show.
The final show, edited by Mark Morreau.
Experimentation and setting up. Videos by Goncalo Carvalho.