Today we are in the Foyle studio at mac, Birmingham. Everyone arrives by 10am and we begin with a physical warm up led by Adam.
Present in today's session were: Ariel Fung (International Collaborator), Rachael Veazey (Deaf Explorer), Tina Barnes (Writer), Adam Rutherford (Assistant Choreographer), Amanda Wright (Dance Access Worker), Nao Masuda & Chris Bartholomew (Sound Artists), Shezad Nawab MBE (ASL Interpreter), and myself.
Following the warm up session, we began working on new material for an 'Opening Scene' in the show. I want this to set the scene in the futuristic dystopian society - opening with an idea of emotionless, almost-soulless factory workers marching in unison, completely focused on their 9 to 5 shift, trapped in the modern industrial slavery system that has turned the gears of Capitalism for decades.
We are hoping this scene will begin with lots of dancers, around 20 people. Adam has suggested bringing in his youth company to contribute to this part, which would be fantastic.
With Adam's help, we developed a basic routine to open the scene - a robotic march routine that everyone will perform in sync.
With sound artists Chris and Nao ready, we had a sound check with the newly composed music for this scene, ensuring that we could hear / feel the music. For myself - it was difficult to hear the high frequencies, as my hearing is too weak to detect that. I could hear the bass however. So we discussed with Chris and Nao, and it was decided that Nao would perform as our visual 'cue' at the beginning, which proved really helpful. With the cue in place, Nao could then move to her Japanese Taiko drums.
We went through this basic routine, with the music, ensuring we keep the stiff, robotic, emotionless posture throughout.
Then, Ariel and myself would draw the focus to ourselves with a more detailed choreography routine. So we spent the rest of the morning working on our own, creating some new military-style choreography.
Once we had created some new material, we showed our new routines to Adam, who helped to improve and polish them up - ensuring there was a good structure, neat and clean posture of the military-style movements, then we would go back and practice some more so that we're confident with the piece and that it's all memorised correctly.
After lunch, we returned to the new choreography we developed this morning, teaching each other our new routines. So Ariel would teach me her piece first, then we would go through it with the musicians. And then I would teach Ariel my piece, and practice that with the musicians.
Once we had both learned the two new pieces, we put them together and added them into scene. We practiced the whole piece with the music, becoming familiar with the movements, the cues, the tempos and the fluidity of transitioning between each routine.
Now that we were confident with this section of the scene, we had an opening to start with. Now we needed to consider a 'middle' and an 'ending' section to this scene - there had to be something happening in the scene. Perhaps one character isn't conforming to authority - becomes oppressed by the obedient guards or workers. Or maybe we could add a 'salute' to our leader (who's face might be projected onto a large screen on the background) - these are all possibilities we need to look at.
Before the end of today's session, we moved on to something new. We looked at a new concept that Ariel and I worked on in July before this week's R&D sessions. This new idea involved combining sign language with dance - a slightly abstract idea but with a theme which we called 'Reasons Ariel Fell In Love With Billy'. - The idea of this theme was that at some point in the story, Billy and Ariel's characters fall in love. We had a list of reasons such as: Billy taught Ariel how to sign. He also protected her from bullies in school. Billy helped build Ariel's confidence, and also he's funny. These were examples we saw in the story that we could use to develop a short sign and dance piece.
When speaking with the team during June's sessions, we agreed that we might want to focus on a scene where the two characters fall in love. This sign and dance idea is slightly different, but also quite unique.
END OF DAY FIVE
This project combines British Sign Language with dance, mime and acting, to show our experience as Deaf people.
Interested in learning British Sign Language? There is lots of information and courses online, you can find out more on the links below: