What we’ve been doing with the past few months

Looks like I haven’t been keeping this very updated, so it’s about time I let everyone know what we’ve been up to lately.

When we finally finished You Only Let Die Anyone Who Loved Me Forever, we had to make a decsion about what we were going to do next. The Watcher and the Watched is still something we really want to carry on doing one day, as we think the idea has a lot of potential. However it is really dependent on getting the right space for the piece – we can’t construct a set, but need to find a perfect venue for both rehearsal and performance purposes, and we have yet to find this elusive place which can cure our creativity blocks and give us the momentum to play with the idea. So we’re putting the piece in a box for the time being, though with every intention of coming back to it in the future.

So instead we decided to start on an entirely new project, with a brand new idea. Now one of the hardest stages of any process is coming up with that initial concept – there was nothing we were trying to inspire from, we had to choose from pretty much every idea we could think of, which takes a lot of narrowing down to say the least. As we branstormed through various concepts, some ended up being explored in more depth than others. One idea we liked, one born of Laura’s and Charlotte’s experiences as teaching assistants, was what it was like being 12 – the ridiculousness of that age, the things that seem important then, and so on. This sort of expanded into contrasting ourselves now to ourselves at various other ages, and we ended up writing little individual bits and podding out some small performances to play around with the concept a little more.

In the end however we decided to go down one of our favourite routes – adapting from a pre-existing text. We’ve never had much strength in writing a good script from scratch, but have alwys had much better results when we have some original work to start from. Sometimes we’ve been pretty faithful to the original, such as in A Christmas Carol, but this time we wanted to use a piece as more of an inspiration from which we can go down a really interesting artistic direction. We talked about variuys texts, mythologies and stories and eventually settled on one. In fact, we’ve been working on it for a little while, but I’ll give you the details in another blog shortly. Suffice to say, we are very keen on it….

 

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The solution to creativity blocks

Well it has been a while since the last post and this is because, despite arriving fresh faced and bushy tailed into a new year, ready to get back into developing Watcher and the Watched, experiment with new styles and ask important artistic questions….we hit a complete block.

We could go over practicalities fine, discuss business card designs and rehearsal structures perfectly well but in terms of anything creative we had, well, nothing. Absolutely the worst thing to face when getting to a new phase in a project is a complete imagination drought.

So what can we do to get those creative juices flowing again? Games? Workshops?

Instead we remembered how coming exhausted out of Rogues and Wanderers we did a small, simple adaptation of an existing source that was both enjoyable and very allowing of creativity, namely A Christmas Carol. From this it was then very easy to flow straight into a more major project, The Bloodline.

Realising this was exactly what we needed we cast about for something to work off – a novel? A childhood story? A play? And then we realised we had a far better idea: James Bond. We would make our own Bond film.

Suffice to say we are just coming out of R+D and into storyboarding and we will give you more details in a few details when we have a script. A script that will of course be shaken.

Not stirred

In the Flesh

The Watcher and the Watched has been performed as a scratch piece for the first time Plymouth’s Barbican Theatre’s festival ‘In the Flesh’.

The theatre has a glass corridor leading to the dressing rooms which is visible through windows on the landing. This is where the audience stood, while we set the corridor up as 3 houses next to each other, with 3 sets of curtains and blinds.

The effect was particularly lovely with actual flats visible behind the corridor and really helped to give that sense of normal suburbia and of genuine voyeurism. Some audience members signed up to watch specifically while others were simply wandering past from one show to the next and stopped to watch for a few minutes.

Performing in a corridor is certainly a little odd and with the audience 20 feet away and through two panes of glass you really have no concept that they are even there, let alone be able to respond to them which was a fascinating if rather puzzling experience.

At this stage of development we are trying out many different ideas, tones, structures and logistical approaches to the piece and our In The Flesh version was a real mix of these. The feedback we got confirmed that we can’t simply mix and match and that it is jarring to change our rules e.g. being able to hear muffled speech, then being able to heard a person’s thoughts in the next scene and then a more cinematic soundtrack in the next! However we also got a lot of ideas about which of these worked better than others so we now be working out which direction to start working on next.

In the Flesh and there was a huge variety of work there and it really is worth a visit. Particular mention must of course go to our friends, Worklight Theatre’s performative presentation How to Start a Riot; and our very own Theo Fraser’s Pretentious, a truly hilarious one-man show satirising those ridiculous, ‘arrogantly artistic’ pieces we have all seen over the years

Changes and a new piece

It’s been a while since the last update and suffice to say there has been quite a lot of changes!

Callum, Michael and Joe have gone on to work on their new company Worklight Theatre, while the rest of us have become even closer and with, if it is even possible, more incomprehensible in jokes than ever before.

People have moved houses (having now firmly reached the ‘apartment’ stage of our lives), got new jobs and in some cases actually got engaged!

Having had an extremely hectic first year doing as many different projects as possible, with as many rehearsals-as-possible every week we have now decided to take a rather different approach this year. We are focusing on a single piece and giving it time to grow and develop, as we play around with lots of different ideas, gradually narrowing them down till we really find a great central focus.

The performance has the working title of The Watcher and the Watched and more details can be found on the performances page of our site