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Rehearsal Notes: The Blind Summit Blog

 

23 May 2013

Making videos

 


Checkout our facebook page to see the videos we have been making of our puppets in action:

www.facebook.com/blindsummit

 

 

 

 

         

4th Jan. 2013

The Final Week

Two weeks to go and we are finally starting to make some order in the rehearsal process. I have gone into the booth with Nick, Irena and Sean, and Andy and Fi are directing. Jon is starting to settle on some music choices and we are rehearsing to timed sections. We still don't quite know what we are making here, but it is definitely unusual, so now we just have to put it into a digestible form and get it in front of an audience and find out what it is. We have a lot of great material that we are excited about. It is certainly a radical departure from The Table - no words, no visible puppeteers, would you even call these disembodied heads puppets?


Hang on, have we gone mad? We are certainly out of our comfort zone. Nick is manically attaching handles to hundreds of identical heads, Laura is cutting tiny letters out of cardboard, Jon is still trying out different styles of music - modernist ballet, German electro-pop, French style gypsy piano. No one will be able to say we didn't work hard at this.


One thing I keep hanging onto - however much I look at it, I am still thrilled by the illusion of a whole man when you hold up a head and two hands in the picture frame - you can literally see the black polo neck that he is wearing - and yet there is nothing there. If we can share that thrill then maybe we have something.

 

23rd Nov. 2012

Week two of The Heads

OMG what are we making? On the one hand rehearsals are going very well - we did a run through on Wednesday and it was really tolerable. Some of it was really exciting. On the other hand it seems we are only just beginning to find out what the heads can do. Today we created a whole range of Pulp Fiction-like characters and a way of merging 2d and 3D to make a kind of Live Manga comic book. They are really cool but may drag us way off the course we thought we were following. Rehearsal is a process of endlessly readjusting: one day you think you know what you're doing, then next moment that seems mudane and dull and you are going in a completely different direction because of an accident in rehearsals. Then often the next morning that seems completely wrong and you are back where you started. But hopefully something has shifted in the meantime.

The starting point for the show was floating heads in picture frames that made the middle sequence in the early version of The Table. Some people loved it and some hated it - Dominic Cavendish called it " an effective means of torture". We're trusting the ones who liked it and trying to develop it from 6 minutes set to Philip Glass track to an hour with new music by Jon Whitten. But sometimes it seems completely reckless and we really don't know what we are making. At the end of the third day we were making an opera about a banker, the next day it was going to be a series of pop tirbutes beginning with The Beatles. Then we started to do some sort of puppet Butoh... And now we are mostly confused.

Luckily we have Andrew Dawson; a brilliant mime artist and old hand in these confusing processes, who brings us back to reality every now and then. He is an amazing collaborator. He helped us make the last few moves to finish The Table. This was quite a traumatic experience of cutting the character of the "Silent Mysterious Woman" and bringing up a volunteer from the audience instead. Mostly he was convinced that we needed to simplify and reduce what we were doing and we hope he will help us do the same in this process.

First we got a rehearsal room where we have lighting rig and sound desk and we can be there day and night all week if we want. This seemed to be essential since we are trying to explore a special lighting effect. We took everything we have along - the heads, our new puppet Nigel Mound, brown paper, the dragon from Aarhat, a life sized rhino mask, cardboard, tape, black paint. We made some full sized cardboard screens that we can paint and cut holes in. We have cut one of the heads in half. We are making some masks. Basically we tried everything in every light.

We're rehearsing with Sean and Irena and Nick who are going to perform. And we have regular old hands visiting to help us out - it's been great to work with Matt and Ivan and Fi, and next week Charlotte is coming in for a day. We're about half way to Christmas and starting to dream of disembodied heads so that must be good.

So I'm trying to write marketing copy and I still have no idea how to describe the show. Is it a dance? A living art show? A puppet show? A dance of disembodied heads? An exploration of the dark? Everything I write sounds horrendously pretentious and dull. Is it horrendously pretentious and dull? OMG. Maybe.

One thing to be sure of - it will be very different from The Table.

MD

 

 

 

 

   

 

   
   

 


Blind Summit Theatre
Unit 10, Grenville Workshops, 2a Grenville Road, London, N19 4EH
020 7272 9020 - info@blindsummit.com