Stillpoint Theatre


A Busy Week
Found some days to work with the mercurial and magical Wendy Houstoun last week thanks to the Nightingale’s excellent mentoring program. Started haltingly. An inertia bourn on my part out of a shyness and admiration for Wendy’s body of work and pedigree as well as an uncertainty about quite which language we might share.

A night of terror followed fearing that it might all be broken beyond repair.

Then a waking to realise it was indeed broken and what a relief, because it meant there was now space to re-imagine, re-configure and put it back together again very differently. break free of the structure that was chaining it down.

So we began on the second day (with Wendy) breathing air and light into the re-configured material and it all began to feel alive again. Blessed relief!

I’ve learnt a lot about how I don’t want to work this time around.

A bit about the Tyranny of Story
Normally, I tackle story last: I find some nuggets to develop whilst turning a deliberately blind eye to how it will all fit together eventually (but trusting that eventually it will). I choose this because I want to work unconsciously for as long as possible. Wrangling these nuggets into some kind of linearity towards the end of my process is always a bit full on and terrifying but if I pull it off, it gives a pleasing depth and texture and creates a fluency between the abstract and the literal passages, it also allows and creates space for the audience which i like very much.

This time, however, following some well meaning advice and an idea that i might be able to save myself the stress of the full on / terrifying end bit, I thought i’d attempt to work anti-intuitively and tackle story first.

What I’ve learnt is that it is much harder (for me) to incorporate accident and play in this way. The story arch can become a rod for your back. a kind of monster who’s linearity sucks all your creative impulses into it. You have to feed and feed, or risk losing the plot, figuratively and literally. Whilst this discipline is alright for some, I’ve learnt that it ain’t right for me. And it has been a relief to reclaim that. Wendy’s pulling apart has been a necessary dismemberment and for that I am very grateful!

We also tech-ed The Growing Room in the Pavilion space 1 month before the impending first performance. Hair-raising to say the least and the first time i’ve needed to make lighting decisions so far in advance of a finalised piece! Over the two allocated days Geoff Hense and I probably had about 4 hours sleep between us. Got there in the end. Let it be known that Geoff Hense is a bloody star.

Then last night had the pleasure of getting some photos done with the talented and singular Toby Amies

We’re in Oxford this week with Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear at Grove House!
Will be interesting to see how black wool reads on white washed walls!

Wednesday & Thursday 4th & 5th of May.
You can buy tickets here.
Do come if you are in the vicinity!

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