Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Sound and Sense

Back in Southport at the weekend to hook up with Gambolling Arena to hear them run through the first draft of the Edith and Marlene piece, which now has a name, phew - I Wish You Love. It's always an odd thing to hear people read out the words I've written.

I know the cadences I intended, the subtext of the words. And while I did add some instructions, I wanted it to remain as much a piece of text rather than a script. I know, I know, that's what it is, but I guess I don't consider myself a playwright and so wanted to hang on to some sense of poetry ... Also, I guess I was interested to hear how the words and interaction between the two characters came across to the actresses and director.

Watching other people manipulate my words was the main reason for taking on the job.

I'm not convinced Edith is as volatile as she should be. But that edgy fine line of fragility that I wanted for her is so far removed from me, I really struggled to conjure it up through sentences. We're leaving the text as is. Letting the actresses work on their delivery, voices and when we come back to it in three weeks I'll know more as to whether I need to rework the text. What none of us want is a pastiche.

Which is exactly what Steve Lewis, Beth Allen and myself got at times yesterday when we got together for a little improvisation play which might (or might not) be the start of a new project.

Both Steve and Beth are seasoned improvise singers/performer. Beth is also a trained opera singer. I'm just an enthusiast with a love of being very silly. We sat in the new auditorium of the Storey Institute and bounced off each other with rhythm, pitch and storytelling. We had rules to adhere to or break, providing a structure, that kept us moving - since we couldn't do the same thing as someone else, but were forced to listen intently to each other. Observation of ourselves and enviroment is what I love about this kind of interaction, as I've said before. It's like being the Andy Goldsworthy of sound: creating rolling annecdotes arising from place that focused more on sound than sense. Which some would argue is the same thing.

Which brings me back to the dilemma with Edith. If the actress can find the right voice, how does it matter about the words?

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