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Somebody's Watching Me: R&D Day Seven. Friday 4th August 2017

Today we are in the English studio at mac, Birmingham. We began at 10am with a warm up led by myself.

Present in today's session were: Ariel Fung (International Collaborator), Rachael Veazey (Deaf Explorer), Claire Marshall (Producer), Benji Reid (Dramaturg), Amanda Wright (Dance Access Worker), Nao Masuda & Chris Bartholomew (Sound Artists), Shezad Nawab MBE (ASL Interpreter), and myself.



In the studio this morning it was just myself, Ariel, Benji and the sound artists Chris and Nao. After warm up, we went back to the new work we made for the Implant Scene which we showed Benji. He liked the second one - the more dramatic version with the sinister, two-faced surgeon. Nao preferred the first one - the one where the surgeon (Ariel) is robotic and moving to the drum beats.

The feedback from Benji was that we needed to see more detail - it needed to be intricate so the audience can see and feel the pain being inflicted, see the sharp instruments being used and the torturous reaction from that. So we played with this scene some more - with Chris adding a shrill, high-pitched note whenever there was a spasm of pain which intensified until I collapsed at the end of the scene. Also, there needed to be internal conflict - I needed to act as if I wanted the operation, but showing fear and doubts too.

So we spent the rest of the morning continuing playing around with different ideas for this scene and ways to show the small detail, and make it more visual and emotive.



After lunch we came back to the Childhood Scene and played around with ideas again. This time we added some slow-motion acting, and when we reached the classroom scene - Ariel would stand up and begin telling her story through dance and mime.

At around 3pm, everyone else joined us in the studio to see the development so far. We were also joined by Chris Cuthbert - the lighting and Digital Media artist. I introduced Chris to the rest of the team as this was his first time in the studio with us on this project.

We went shared the work with everyone - showing the different versions of each scene we worked on. This is so everyone could see what's been done so far and have an idea of where we are going, or where we want to go. We also filmed each piece so that we could look back on it later on if we needed to.

Before the end of today's session, we had some discussions on how the project has been going so far, and how we felt about the project. It was a chance to express our thoughts and concerns, and plan ahead for the coming weeks.

I asked Claire, Chris, and Benji for their feedback. Claire thought that playing around with narration in the Childhood scenes provided an extra element to the piece.

Chris had chance to think about how he would provide lighting and digital effects to the piece from watching the scenes - he had interesting ideas of live video projection, and using subtitles projected onto a background screen. I mentioned that I want to try something new that hasn't been seen or done before - such as using several iPads showing video to the audience, or displaying text for subtitles.

Benji reminded us the importance of slowing down and remembering that we still playing around - and also that it is important we show more failure than success in an R&D process, because we should be trying things that we aren't sure about. We had to not be afraid to make more mistakes.



Ariel and myself had a debriefing session with interpreter Shezad during which we discussed our learnings so far during this R&D process. The debrief was filmed for future reference.

There is more to explore and its an exciting start. By this point we are still in early days and nothing is being finalised for a long time yet.


This month we will be attending various dance, drama, and visual-vernacular workshops and events, as well as being in the studio developing our work and creating new material between the two of us. The final Block of studio time will begin at the start of September and the sharing of work will take place on 6th September.

If you are interested in seeing the sharing of work on 6th September, get in touch with me (by email, or drop me a message on Twitter of Facebook) to reserve your seat. The event is free for all by invite only.

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