Wednesday 14th May
A choice of dresses this morning to spend the day editing and developing my script and acting out scenes whilst in character.
I was attracted to the little black mini dress (of course I’m that sort of gal) and I thought that my character might be too, but to my surprise she went for a longer frillier number. She felt more at home in that; she’s not formal but she is definitely not showy, she likes to be feminine, a little traditional, not 1950s housewife, but she is decent, tasteful and respectful. She isn’t comfortable showing flesh and she isn’t too comfortable in her own skin. I discovered that she has sticky out feet like the main character Kes and that she has a duck like walk and she does a little head shake thing when she’s pleased with herself, which is often.
I discovered a huge chunk of script that was way less developed than I thought it was. Turns out that I’ve done tonnes of writing that I never even attempted to learn, that I forgot about.
Some of it was decent novel material. It all informs the show like bass computer code. It is as Will Self puts it “that part of the text that is a deviation or derangement, not contained within the text, and yet defines the text better than the text itself” (Grey Are, Self W Penguin 1996 p 94). Not sure about his grammar there, and it worries me that I am being pedantic about a writer who many dislike for what they claim is pompous verbosity. What does that say about me?! (I don’t share that opinion by the way).
Back to the point. The long drawn out detailed passages were useful to write, they will always be there, but the writing of something that works more naturally, and the writing that is more powerful in front of an audience is that which is done out loud with bodily movements to boot.
I have been going through the script (or the writing) that I had with the video that I had recorded of the storytelling version of the show at Victoria Fringe in Canada last year. As I watched it I became more grateful to Martin Dockery, the New York-based dramatic Storyteller, who gave me some direction last year and introduced me to devising entirely through speaking.
Huge passages were expressed quickly and succinctly and well on the video and were in stark contrast to what I had on the page.
I am also grateful to have had the opportunity to perform the piece six times last year in front of audiences and for last week’s opportunity in front of an audience in Southampton. An audience is the best filter to turn the ideas like those that I found today on the page to something which has “juice” on stage.
This all points to the value of Scratch to start something off. You may never know until you try it in front of people.
Today’s focus was adapting a script that informed a sound designer, which will with other developed elements increase the Theatre side of a Spoken Word Theatre piece. This is a fiddly f*****g thing to do! I think it was a good idea to attempt to do this in character in a dress. By the end of the day though I looked up at the mirror and didn’t see a 28 year old arrogant female English teacher from a dangerously over-privileged background but a geezer in a dress scratching his balls!