Tag Archives: theatre

A journey to me. A journey to art

It has been a long time. A long time since I’ve been blogging. But also a long time to go on a little adventure, to discover art and inevitably myself as well.

To be honest, it wasn’t just a lack of time that stopped me from blogging. It was partially laziness and mostly me going on a journey that changed everything. After all, I am only 24. And although I experienced a lot I still progress. In the past month I discovered that when it comes to journeys; well they never stop really. A fairly obvious fact, you might think. But when you stuck in the countryside for seven months, looking for a job and literally doing nothing; than it is not that obvious. I almost forgot about my journey of the past two and a half years. The experience I made after moving to the UK, everything that happened before. I also forgot how I rediscovered art and performance. How theatre changed me so drastically.

But now I remember. I remember my past journeys and I know of my present and future ones. And in all of them art, theatre always played ins one way or another a significant role. I’ve been acting since I’m ten. First it was just normal classical amateur theatre. But for me it was a bit more. As a child that was awkward, not ready for society and bullied; simple amateur acting gave me confidence. I suddenly had a stage where I could share parts of myself through a persona that I created and people loved it. I think I subconsciously realised that art somehow would change my journey and help me some day.

The amateur group I belonged to, didn’t last long and for years creativity seemed to be non existent. I seemed to be non existent. Kind of stuck in my role as the outsider, the one that is bullied; sometimes for no reason and sometimes because I behaved terribly. I had a set mind on my career and my future. My journey was planned. Out of boredom I took to writing. And discovered that I was good at it. But I never shared my poems or short stories. And once I did, in Six Form; people thought me to be arrogant because I was writing poems all the time. For some reason they thought that I was doing it to show off. I never did and I don’t now.

The truth is: I was writing, I was acting as a release. It helped me to release all my troubles all the things I was dealing with. I was acting at that time, just not on stage. I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t. To be untouchable, to be superior. I needed to pretend. I didn’t think much of myself and was full of self loathing. The only place/ space I could accept myself, where I could be confident – yes almost arrogant- was when I was writing or acting.

It took me several years, a failed marriage, a conversion to Catholicism and some other events to change my journey to self destruction to a journey of healing and self- fulfilment. I still struggle, I still display a certain arrogance when I am not confident in myself. Most obstacles on my personal journey are made and placed by me. I still make bad decisions and mistakes. But I am still travelling, discovering, learning.

My adventure – and I can’t say it too often- was greatly changed through my Performing Arts College course. Discovering new forms of theatre and rediscovering my love for art and writing has broadened my horizon. The change will always be there, inside me. I know now that art will make me and help me on my way, no matter what. It offers everyone the opportunity to express themselves and to share tales and experience. And art can be everything. It’s not just music, painting, acting and so on. Cooking, building something, cleaning, administrative work can be art. Not in the common antic sense, but in your sense and terms. It is more than just a philosophical idea. Every journey, every life is a work of art in the end.

Recently the Response Time Project, I wrote about previously has helped me to manifest my believes about art and about journeys even more. It helped to to discover and experiment with art and performance. To try out thing I didn’t do before. To meet people that challenged my thoughts, my opinions. To witness other artists great work. The response Time Project has given everyone an open space. And in that open space all of us created an environment that enables every participant, every audience member to grow, to discover and learn.

Fittingly the last Response Time Project (this time participants could either perform pieces from previous Response Time Project, new versions of them. Or perform a new piece), called “Me/ Replay/ In a Gallery” dealt heavily with the topic of journeys. It was for some reason and underlying theme in many pieces in my opinion. And so was my major piece as well. Called “Essential Life” it was an abstract performance piece dealing with life and journeys.

I think especially the last Response Time helped me to realise about the journeys we all take. But also about my journey so far, the past the present and also the future. I already was discovering new aspects of my environment and myself and how I think differently about certain things now. But the last Response Time helped me to get the full picture and to look positively into the future. It showed me that my perils, my laughs and that art always had a reason. That this is all for something, for the journey.

Cecelias Herz

About a year ago I had the great opportunity to direct my own short piece, within my college course. This directed piece was part of my curriculum but I nonetheless had incredible freedom. in my creative choices.

In just six weeks time it was my task to rehearse and devise a piece, that could be either be based on a script or any form of theatre.  The only rules I had to obey, was that it shouldn’t be longer than 15 minutes and that it shouldn’t be too inappropriate. But other than that we had a free hand and a free choice.

I decided to write my own script and to use it for my devising work. For a while I’ve been playing with the idea to write a script that deals with mental illness and its current status in society. I was particular drawn to Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychology and mental illness and how his personal life influenced his work.

I decided to write a script for classical theatre. But after being on the course I changed my mind and incorporated aspects of surreal theatre, Artaudian theatre and dance theatre. I changed my script but stayed true to the core ideas of my play. I wanted to show how people with mental illness are wrongfully judged by society and I think in the end I succeeded.

In just 6 weeks I managed to create my piece and I’m so proud of the people who worked with me and that realised the whole thing with me. I still can’t believe that I was allowed so much freedom, that I could actually use a pig’s heart (in jar I have to say) and strip my actresses down to their underwear.

The video shows the performance but unfortunately didn’t succeed in catching everything. There was a lot of audience interaction going on that couldn’t have been filmed. But the video is still a good fragment, a good record of my piece. A piece that I would like to stage again one day.

In honour of Cecelias Herz.

A very late reflection

 

It’s been two months now since I participated at the Pilotlight project; my first non college related performance here in Wales. Since then I haven’t performed publicly. Not because I don’t want to, I just live in the middle of nowhere and have therefore a logistic problems when it comes to public performances. Nothing I can change in that department, I’m afraid.

 

Originally, it was my intention to post up a reflection right after my performance but ended up not doing so for several reasons. The now following analysis would probably look differently if I would have kept to my original plan. I can’t remember some details of the event any longer and also want to say something about my future in performance (and how the the Response Time project Pilotlight has influenced that).

 

As I said it before, it was absolutely fantastic to be a part of the Response Time project and to participate in its first ‘outlet’ performance Pilotlight. I would even go so far and say that it was an honour for me to be a part of the first ever version of this project ( a second performance within this project has since taken place). It isn’t easy to follow the rules of the Response Time project 9they hardly were any) and to create a performance in just 48 hours, no matter how long it is. But I still enjoyed and savoured every minute of it.

 

There was only one rule I had to follow (besides the 48 hour rule); that my work had to somehow relate to the gallery or artwork displayed in the gallery. Other than that I had complete freedom when it came to the response I created. Well of course I wasn’t allowed to destroy any of the artworks. Having absolute freedom in my creative process was the aspect that I most enjoyed and loved about the project. In college I only had a similar kind of freedom in one module but never as much as in this project. Some people can be stressed because of this huge amount of freedom. I think I wasn’t because of it. Because I was able to do what suited my strengths and still challenged me a bit. I never devised or developed a movement sequence before but always loved to dance in my free time. My kind of dance is best categorised as expressionist dance (Ausdruckstanz in German). It might have been the first time that I took my hobby onto a stage but still did something that I knew and was completely within my comfort zone.

 

The fact that I worked alone and not within a group was another aspect I loved. Don’t take me wrong, I love developing theatre within a group, but didn’t have an opportunity to develop performance work on my own for a long time now. This time I didn’t have to share my ideas or discuss them with someone beforehand to get approval on them. I alone could decide what I do and how I do it. What would go into my piece, how often I rehearse and use the time I had. Although I worked on my own I still was surrounded by a great group of fellow performers, who I could always ask for help or watch in fascination. So even though I created a solo piece, I wasn’t isolated.

 

There are only two little things that I have to criticise. I hope that everyone involved in the Response Time project can forgive me for mentioning it. I personally felt that the use of light, or how the performances were lid wasn’t optional. The first and the last run through of all performances were lid perfectly. But some solo pieces within the second run through weren’t lid in the best way. This includes my own piece, which I felt was too dark, since there were no lights used for the space it took place in. The lack of light within the second run through was a bit of a flaw in my personal opinion. Another such flaw was the way how we guided the audience from piece to piece. Instead of talking we had to guide them silently and could only use body gestures to show them how they should position themselves. I personally think that we could have chosen a more creative way to guide the audience, but again this is just my opinion and I might be a bit too critical here.

 

The participation; my involvement with the Response Time project helped me a great deal. Not only was it my first real professional experience here in Wales, but also a proof to me that I am capable to develop work on my own. My creativity was fuelled because of the project and new ideas were developed by me because of it. I now have a faint plan of how I want to create work in the future. I know now that I want to abolish the fourth wall between audience and actor completely, that I want to use unusual stages and that I want to experiment more. Last but not least do I want to challenge myself more with my next project and get out of my comfort zone.

The River in me

I promised you a full blog yesterday and here it is. Today I will talk more about my involvement with the “Response Time/ Pilotlight” project. I will explain a bit how I spend the last 35 hours and what I devised so far. I also will give some inside about the devising process I used to create a response piece to my stimuli and inspiration; a displayed canvas series in the gallery.

I already showed you my inspiration in my blog yesterday. When I stepped into the gallery on Thursday for the first time ever I noticed the “Three Rivers Dancing” immediately and was in awe. I was generally fascinated by Sandra Masterson’s artwork. Aislinn Knight’s work was inspiring as well, although Masterson’s work was more interesting to me. I had ideas right away and am still not sure if that was so, because I hadn’t devised any performance work for a while. All artworks were a real inspiration, as was the gallery itself; which was a car shop once.

After I inspected every inch of the gallery, I sat down to note my ideas down. I often do this when I devise work. Notes and photos help me a lot at times to formulate my ideas and to make them become clearer. Because I had a lot of inspiration and stimuli to choose from, I created a rather long lists of ideas. Here a little extract of all the ideas I had and to which stimuli they respond to:

  • To create a movement sequence based on “Three Rivers dancing”.

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  • To recite the poem “Der Erlkoenig” (by Goethe) while I hide ino of the secret cupboard of the gallery.

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  • Staging a spontaneous protest against the Kyoto protocol and to hold a hate speech against global warming.

  • Recording nature sounds and play them while I recite definitions and quotes concerning the topics of nature and landscape

  • To “re-open” one of the famous Parisian 1900 cafés and to hold a philosophical discussion about nature, art and landscape.

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The actual list is longer. But in the end I needed to make a decision and chose the ideas I wanted to pursue further. I choose three favourite ideas and decided to test them all out in the next 24 hours to see where they lead me. My main focus was on the creation of a movement sequence as a reaction to the already mentioned canvas series(„Three Rivers Dancing“), and was also considering to incorporate recordings of nature sounds. My second ideas was it to use Goethe’s poem and my last, to create a text out of definitions and quotes concerning nature & landscape and to perform that text

Yesterday I started my devising process, by focusing on my first idea; to create a choreography for my movement piece as a reaction to the picture. During the day I managed to devise my first two minutes of the final piece. I have to add, that it’s normal to spend so much time to create movements and to find the right/ fitting ones. This is because I attempt, to find and create movements, that are related to abstract terms. With this work, I had the goal in mind; to develop movements that retract & retrace the flow/ the forms of the depicted rivers. I especially wanted to develop step movements and patterns that duplicate and imitate the river paintings. But I also wanted to create this form of “cloning” & duplication with other body parts; such as my arms, my hips and my face.

In addition, I also wanted to create movements den I personally associate with the term ‘River’. I recalled memories of my childhood, my movement pattern of this time when I was playing at the river and tried to revive some of them. I tried to adapt this movements – inspired by memories – so that they fit the mode I sensed in the pictures. I also used the physical vocabulary system “In all Languages” to create some individual movements.

I tried to piece all individual sequences together, after I constructed enough of these. I edited and changed these many times, until I was happy with the result. Today (Saturday) I devised my movement piece further, still using the same techniques and managed to finish the piece. I can only hope that it will be at least half descent.

Then I had the idea to incorporate my third idea somehow and to use nature sounds and recorded text as the soundtrack of my piece. On Friday I was clever enough to record the water noises of a river near my house. I also searched the internet for any definition of nature and landscape last night. The best ones were copied and paste into a word document

First I read through all the definitions and got rid of the parts that weren’t interesting for me. Then I changed them and abstracted them, and also added a bit of my own text. Towards the end of the process I rearranged the snippets that were left and had a good text as a final product. I then recorded the text and another participant mixed the river sounds with the text recording and created a soundtrack for me.

It was great fun to devise my piece and to participate. Response Time just reminded me, that I made the right decision, to pursue my dream and to follow my passion. The last 35 hours once again reminded me, why I choose theatre and performing as my future. This project also offered a platform for me to use my fantasy,to work hard yet again and to develop my talent. I really cannot wait to share my piece and to maybe inspire people to find their own inner river. As I found my inner river.