This week we chose a poem as a stimulus and started exploring some of the ideas within it. We noticed that the poem, in talking about utopia, describes quite a dull atmosphere, with lots of monotony, although the initial introduction to the perfect world is idealistic and bright. We brainstormed ideas of how we can develop the ideas in the poem and found other stimuli to help us explore them in more depth. We then took some of the phrases from either the poem or ideas from the other stimuli to explore in movement patterns i.e. I suggested showing a tree growing using our hands from the ‘trees sprouting’ in the poem and the idea of routines that become more and more similar from the text ‘each day the same, drip drop, drip drop’.
I found a talk from an ‘ex-perfectionist’ who talked about having lists to fulfil so that she was perfect. This resonated with me as this was an idea we could explore.
This week, we explored the themes of the control of technology over humans and the issues with perfectionism and utopianism. We decided that we wanted to show a dehumanisation of our characters into a robotic, emotionless state where everything is perfectly planned and intentional. Our piece would be a transition from spontaneous humans to highly controlled, monotonous beings. We want our piece to provide an open interpretation for the audience and so instead of showing a breakdown in our characters trying to maintain perfection, we want our piece to end right before the supposed ‘breakdown’.
We want to use design elements to create a space where our performance takes place and a highly engaging setting so the audience can feel this happening for themselves.
We have been researching quotes, photos and artwork to use as stimuli to help us create our piece.
This image was particularly impactful as it shows someone consumed by technology, becoming a robot.
In this quote, we realised that perhaps monotony could be caused by people who don’t want to or don’t have the chance to choose things for themselves. Instead, everything has to be meticulously and carefully planned.
This quote gave us ideas about how monotony is very repetitive, which is an idea we could use in our piece.
This gave us ideas about repetition as well as perhaps synchronicity as it describes a lack of variety and so maybe all of our characters could start as very different and diverse and slowly converge into a very similar person. The actions we do could also slowly start to lack variety and we end up doing the same movements over and over again.
This workshop had two main parts to it: creating a sentence and using an object to create movement, both of which focused on developing devising ideas.
The first activity was to write down any five words that we thought of, then writing words that we associated with those first words. We then chose three words and created a sentence from these words. I thought that this was particular interesting as the sentences that we formed could act as a stimulus in a performance which was seen later on.
In the second part of the workshop, one group was blindfolded and given a material (elastic string, cardboard, sheets of paper or rolled up paper) to ‘play’ with and explore. Some of the movements and sounds that came from this activity evoked emotions and stories from simply exploring a material. For example, the sound of tearing paper created a sense of distress. The blindfolds helped to block out the fact that people were watching and helped us to focus on the material that we were exploring. One thing that I found interesting was that once the material was taken away, most people did bigger and more exaggerated movements to try to emphasise the idea that there was still material there.
The other group was blindfolded and given material as well but were also told to keep in mind the sentence they had created in the first activity. This created more deliberate movement with much more emotion that was formed from thinking about their sentences. When they started to say their chosen words out loud, I noticed that the intensity of their movement reflected the intensity of their speech. Additionally, from saying their chosen words, it gave the audience context for their movements and produced a clearer storyline portraying certain emotions and feelings.
At the end of the workshop, we formed smaller groups to create a movement sequence with one of the materials of our choice. My group (Emily G and Lydia) and two other groups chose the elastic; however, the sequences were different. This showed how there are many different ways to use the same material. My group started with the elastic in a tangled ball and then we stretched it outwards to unravel it. We then played with pulling on the string and wrapping it around ourselves before letting go so that it bounced back together. We were then told to remove the elastic and we were separated so that Lydia and Emily were together on one side watching me and I was standing away from them, looking at the audience. This created a very different story but still with the main theme from the initial sequence.
I think that the word association to create a stimulus and techniques to finding the different ways to utilise material is something that will be very useful in future devising performances. I can especially use the exploration of the elastic in my collaboration project performance this year as we are planning to use rope which is a similar material.
In Theatre today we explored different physical theatre techniques used by the Frantic Assembly theatre company. We used the two videos linked at the bottom to guide our class and followed the teachings. Some of the techniques we learned were Hymn’s hands (placing our and each other’s hands on each other’s bodies), round-by-through (stepping around a person, standing next to them, or going through a body part e.g. under their arm), and chair duets (sitting next to each other and having three moves each to place our hands somewhere or do an action).
We then played around with pace, ‘weight’, and eye contact. My main takeaways was how using these three elements created a storyline and created meaning that could be interpreted by an audience. This is quite different from our normal devising method of creating movements to express a particular meaning. Instead, this method works to create the movements beforehand and creating a storyline based off those movements. This means that the performers are exploring different interpretations and are not tied to a particular intention. I think that this is a very interesting and useful method that I look forward to exploring more during devising pieces.