These are the last days of R&D studio sessions before we present all our work to an audience. Monday's session focused on linking the scenes together with Matty Gurney's guidance. Tuesday's session was a final polish up on dance with Nathan's assistance, and then a run-through of the whole piece.
Present in Monday and Tuesday's sessions were: Ariel Fung (International Collaborator), Matty Gurney (Dramaturge), Nathan Marsh (dance choreographer), Nao Masuda (sound artist), Chris Bartholomew (sound artist), Rachael Veazey (Deaf Explorer), and myself.
MONDAY 4 SEPTEMBER:
Many of the props I ordered for the presentation have arrived by post already, so I was able to bring in some LED light gloves, mini torches, extendable monopod and polystyrene ball (for the drone mock up), UV tape, and a few other things to use in our final studio sessions.
We set up the mock-up drone - fixing the monopod to the polystyrene ball and sticking a mini torch in the ball, and wrapping the stick in black tape. This would give the illusion of a floating white ball in the black box theatre to act as our drone.
We tried out the LED gloves and had a play with finger tutting - a style of street dance primarily focused on the hands and fingers, creating all sorts of geometrical shapes and angles, ripples and flows. With lots of practice we could create some nice, sharp visual images.
We had a good session creating a drone chase scene, which we decided required a third person dressed in full-black to wave the two metre-long drone prop around Ariel’s character whilst she was being chased, and my character would be a government official controlling the drone, wearing LED gloves.
At lunch time we sat outside in the sunshine. We began discussing the idea of a monologue at the start of the show. I decided it would be fitting to have an elderly Deaf character opening the story with a monologue - this guy will be signing, he represents the past and does not feature in the play after the monologue.
The idea here is that the elderly Deaf guy would talk about how the world has changed, and that he is one of the last remaining Deaf citizens who does not speak or have an implant, and still communicates in sign language.
So his brief story would be sombre and sad, describing how the Deaf culture, identity and language has been torn apart due to the closure of Deaf schools and clubs.
Monday afternoon's session back in the dark studio, this time looking at our ideas on the Implant scene.
We’ve been over this scene quite a few times over the project, but this time we are not using a chair - as we knew it would be easier if we could avoid that.
Before, when we created the dramatic surgery scenes, it was very physical - the surgeon holding the patient’s head and cutting the skin open.
But then we thought, this seems too old-fashioned for a futuristic setting, since our story will be based some seventy years in the future.
So after some experimenting, Ariel and I created some new choreography of the surgery scene happening in a futuristic setting, with ‘Minority ‘Report’ style movement using LED gloves.
Its looking exciting and Matty gives his expert feedback and advice, ensuring that we think about how we are seen by the audience - making sure that we don’t block the view of our faces or actions to any of the seated audience viewers.
It really made us think how we show ourselves to the audience - I hadn’t really given this much thought in the past, nonetheless it’s very important to consider this when performing.
END OF DAY THIRTEEN