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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 at the Platform Young Company we spent the rehearsal writing stories. We had two elements; a formation of bodies on the stage, such as everyone standing in a clump, everyone in a line, two people standing and one person on all fours amongst others. The second element was the first person. All the texts were written from the point of view of one person on the stage. For the first part of the session, people wrote down ‘I’ statements from the point of a one person in a shape, for example, a person standing in a line. Then the company split into smaller groups who worked together to each think of a ‘shape’ for performers on the stage.
After a shape had been agreed everyone took a position and wrote a narrative from their point of view in that shape. After the groups had done that we created a kind of composite text from the these statements. People on stage would stand in the shapes and somebody on or off stage would read the beginnings of all of the statements about the line, or all of the statements about the clump. Certain motifs came back again and again such as feeling scared, or isolated, or resentful – feelings that you would be more likely to express privately, however watching the tableaus they felt oddly static considering the amount of intensity expressed in the words.
After the break we focussed in on longer pieces of text written prior to the session and explored what happened when people moved within the texts. What could help to make the scene feel more alive whilst people were still on stage? It was hard to find a place where the shapes and the text really started working together without creating a play or a pastiche based on the words. At the end of the session it felt like we were just getting going almost but mentally we were tired from the process of generating ideas for stories and then listening so much and taking the ideas in. We did a check out and people said it was interesting to think how as an audience member you interpret meaning from the text and project it onto the bodies in space, utilising stereotypes and aesthetic judgements to decide ‘who was who’ as it were whilst the text was being read.
I felt it was interesting how the stories blended into one another. It was strange to play with stories but not focus on what the contents of those stories were, which is something we could discuss as the process evolves – why use stories at all? There are a lot of questions at this point in the making process so I’m excited to see what happens next week.
For more information about the Platform Young Company including information on how to join the group send an email to email@example.com