An account of the second in a series of new performance workshop for 16 - 25 year olds
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:
Looks like we made it (look how far we’ve come baby…!) The company performed live on Zoom on Saturday and 60 people attended online! It was exciting and afterwards definitely felt a familiar sense of post-show exhaustion and excitement.
The week was intense with a two-hour additional rehearsal on Tuesday when we finally got through all of the material in the piece and then a rehearsal on Saturday from 11-1pm with the show at 2pm.
On Tuesday we just went straight into learning the whole rest of the show and people fed back that it was OK, they felt good about having the end of the show and knowing what they would be doing on Saturday. We also had a chat about being online and ways to make sure your computer does not slow down or stop mid-Zoom chat so fingers crossed that would help some of the connection issues people were having. Then on Saturday the company did a stumble through on their own without any stopping, starting or extra guidance when things went wrong. As you would expect that did not go so well the first time and there were a lot of long silences and a few connections issues.
However, when it came to the show the performance went well! It was so exciting to see that lots of people had joined us and ‘come’ to see the piece. When it came to the actual performance the timing was great, everyone was picking up their cues and the absurdity of the beginning came through clearly. There were lots of parts where I laughed out loud, although annoyingly whilst I was watching the signal in my wi-fi went quite badly so at the point that everything started breaking down and people were moving their cameras to different parts of the room and changing their ‘costumes’ I started to be able to see less and less. I could tell that it was pretty much going OK though. At the end there was a funny moment where the members ‘came back on stage’ i.e. switched their cameras back on and weren’t able to see the audience members but could receive messages from them on the chat. They were still talking to each other as if nobody else was there though so Gudrun highlighted that everyone could still see and hear them! A strange sensation after a show not to be able to see the audience at all!
In terms of the piece itself it felt like a lot of ideas were crystallised through the process of creating it. Sections of it really clarified feelings I had about lockdown like the ASMR chat between John and Lauren or constantly having media and news from the USA in the cowboy figure of Sean, or the angry young man figure that Tighe ended up playing. It was also fun and experimental with the format of zoom, maximising the ways in which you can perform for a camera within the space of your own home in terms of using props, different settings, using objects as costume and building strange relationships with those object. It was great to know that PYC could make a piece and put it online and still have fun and retain the style of our usual work. Afterwards we checked out and people fed back that they were really happy with the experience and had felt the usual show nerves and excitement, so it was good to know that was possible to do online!
I felt happy to have been a part of the process although it was a little stressful at times working over zoom. Hopefully, this process gives us a roadmap for how to work in the future if we have to stay working online, but I am really hoping that we will be able to meet in a room together at some point in the next few months. Fingers crossed.
If you would like to know more about Platform Young Company please contact firstname.lastname@example.org