An exhibition that took place from 9 September until 19 November - read about the project here...
Isabel Dickens is an artist currently working with the Platform Young Company, our performance group for anyone aged 16 - 25 years. As part of her work with the group Issy will be posting regular updates of what goes on during meetings, rehearsals and workshops:
Today we spent a long time working in just one shape. The question was: is it possible to show many different narratives, characters and possibilities using one shape of bodies on stage and what happens when we do that? Initially we agreed spacing for the performers and movements everyone would do. For example, Owen was in a lunging position. Lucy would look upwards and around. Sean slid up and down and then jumped. Jennifer kicked her leg and shook her hair like a horse. Only Lauren stood just looking outwards, Ewan was patting all over his legs and then patted Owen when Owen fell over.
The performers would describe who they were in the scene; initially Lauren wrote a monologue describing everyone on stage with her including herself and how they relate to her as the character of an older man. Then every time after that the performers would take a prompt from a hat which told them who they were in a statement taken from the writing created the week before. For example, John was a pillow lonely for an owner who hadn’t slept on them for a while. Hollie was a sign that was tattered and no longer stated it’s original message. Sean was a member of a church choir.
Then everyone described themselves in order. Then everyone described themselves in relation to one person in the scene and had to fit themselves into their narrative. Then everyone described themselves in relation to a triad of other people in the scene. For each version people had a new prompt and a new identity within the scene which they could elaborate on verbally but physically they were restricted to the same movements every time. This led to some bizarre outcomes like someone looking for their lost cat, somebody who was their lost cat and someone’s wife who appeared to be pretending to be a cat.
At the end of the session we were all mentally drained from so much thinking and working with the texts. As you would expect it felt like staying in one position could be really draining especially if people come in with a lot of energy at the beginning of the rehearsal. However there was enjoyment within the crazy scenarios that emerged and it felt like we had learned what happened from making that shape. At this stage of the process we are still generating lots of ideas that can be used or discarded from one week to the next. This can be really exhausting but is also a really exciting part of the process because we have no idea what the next interesting thing to happen in the room will be. Looking forward to next week.
For more information about the Platform Young Company including information on how to join the group send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org