On Wednesday, we held a work in progress performance for some of our heroes. We invited our old lecturers, tutors and mentors from the University to come and see some of the material we have so far with the hope that they can offer us feedback and comment with fresh eyes on the what parts are working and what bits aren’t and how to push the piece further.
This is something we had been planning to do from right at the beginning of our rehearsal process. We wanted to do it for a number of reasons. In our experience of devising and performance making, it is easy to become precious and introvert about what your making and sometimes that is dangerous as it is easy to become too immersed in the process and lose sight of the an audience’s journey through the piece.
Another reason is that, in devising, it is always vital to get fresh eyes on the work as they will always be able to pick up on something that you haven’t seen yourself and the feedback will tell you which aspects of the performance are working better and which aspects aren’t. This feedback then provides you with a new, fresh direction to push and develop your piece.
And this is exactly what happened. After a week of working on moments that have been born through play and work-shopping, we were beginning to develop a journey/narrative through these series of moments. But as we began to do this, I had started to feel my grip on what someone experiencing these moments for the first time will see slipping away. But just as I started to feel this, it was time for the work in progress session. Brilliant timing.
The feedback took the form of a lively discussion about physical language, relationships with text, sensual experience and how narrative and meaning is currently emerging. The discussion was fruitful and energetic and has therefore us given a revitalised energy to move on in our process.
The performance date is getting closer now and it is becoming more and more important that we don’t lose our energy and excitement for the piece and continue to work hard pushing and shifting and questioning and challenging. We have found that feedback helps you maintain that energy to keep running.