Week One of R&D complete!

Third time’s a charm..

The last few days have seen an absolute boom in our rehearsal process. On Monday we began wading through the treasure trove of ideas that we had accumulated during our early explorations. Some of our ideas turned out to be absolute goldmines ( if we do say so ourselves) and exploded into being as we played with and developed them, while others were packed neatly into one of our many suitcases to be used for future adventures. That’s the beauty of devising – you discover a hundred different ideas for every one that you actually use. The difficulty is often deciding which ones to keep and which ones to store away. It’s actually a bit like picking teams at school. We chose our favourites and played with them.

A rough order began to emerge and we experimented with different ways to skip from moment to moment, developing the journey of the central characters and the audience as we went. By the end of the day we’d tacked together what we envisaged to be the first two thirds of the show and hit the hay with our little brains buzzing with more ideas.

This blog has been interrupted by Rosanna (Artistic Director) informing me that I need to get my priorities right and help her finish the pot of Ben & Jerry’s. Job done.

Yesterday saw us take another tremendous leap forward across the creative chasm, aided and abetted by the wonderful and oh-so-very talented James Boston and his box of musical tricks. Having watched the rough skeleton run through of the show he was able to pitch in with music and sound ideas to make the show all the more magical. There are a number of moments which will really develop with the use of sound and a number of images which will be far clearer and more three-dimensional with the music that James has already begun to conjure. By the time we finished for the day we were all feeling incredibly excited!

Today there was just time to choreograph some movement, make a few decisions, do some automatic writing (very useful when you’re stuck for a moment) and pack away the multitude of props that have spread across our rehearsal room. What an exciting point to be finishing on for the week!

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Wielding the axe of storyboarding

Third day of rehearsals for From Scraps and today we have had a “mountainous” day, lots of ups and downs and sometimes a little unstable. We started with treading on each other’s feet, and other nonsensical warm up games. After this we really started to develop the specific movement language of Grandpa. Yesterday we touched on this, however today we really focused in on detail and separating the puppeteers body from the puppet. 

After making headway with this and getting very tried arms we started to improvise around some concepts of scenes we had ideas for. At this point the some rocks started to give way and we fell into a shallow pothole.

Wielding the axe of storyboarding we climbed out of this and started the slightly scary but important activity of looking at plot and story. Storyboarding allowed us to make sense of the material and find gaps for material to fill. After multiple coloured pens, many sheets of paper we settled on a rough outline that we were all happy with or so we thought… At this point the landslide happened, we crashed into a deep pit unproductiveness. We tried hauling ourselves out with improvisation games and various conversations about all kinds of elements of the show. Things were not running smoothly…

But then a little light appeared at the top of the pit, and a mysterious glowing rope lowered itself down in the form of a free writing exercise. After 10mins of all of us free writing and metaphorically climbing we burst into the crisp clear air on a peak of the mountainous range. We found a structure that worked, introduced 2 clowning puppeteers that shared a consciousness with our protagonist Maggie. Improvisation flowed as we played with this relationship, creating images and an opening that worked and lent itself to lots of possibility.

Still a long way to go to complete our journey, but positive feelings in the camp right now!   

Unexpected Places at LPAC Lincoln

Hello and welcome to our first blog about all things unexpected.

We have just started a week long rehearsal period at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre and have already had lots of fun hitting the local charity shops to source props for From Scraps version 2.0, which we will be performing on Wed 22nd Jan. Find out more here! 

We started the rehearsal process mind-mapping out ideas we’ve had from other rehearsals, to build a bank of material we could start to explore and devise from, before watching back the footage of From Scraps in Bristol. One element we really wanted to focus on was the creation of our ‘Grandpa’ figure which we began to look at through manipulating an old overcoat we found in a charity shop here in Lincoln. A few hours later and Grandpa was brought into the From Scraps world.

By exploring the manipulation of various found objects -and fueled by copious amounts of biscuits and laughter- we have already come up with lots of magical visuals, telling stories through the memories and emotions each object might hold.

Quite early on we found that we wanted to return to one of our original ideas and focus on the notion of memory, both in terms of Maggie’s recollections and rediscovering who Grandpa was before and after his memory deteriorated. This gives us a bigger scope for a real journey within the piece, as opposed to it being about the length of Jack and Maurice’s adventures. One thing we had fun exploring was Maggie sorting through piles and piles of papers and documents with an accountant wading through the finances. We really started to catch glimpses of Grandpa through the things that he had left behind and the sparks of memory that came through Maggie when she found them. Peter had fun creating a fairly dense accountant who was more excited by the clippings of football fixtures and results than Grandpa’s notes about Maggie.

Day Two and back into rehearsals, in the not so unexpected place of Lincoln, as we were here yesterday…

We started to delve into the character of “Grandpa” but not before playing a couple of ridiculous games; which involved stretching, pretending to be a bee and setting ourselves on fire. After this very productive period we hot seated characters and played with the movement vocabulary of the coat and glasses that make up “Grandpa”. This really started to build a picture of who this man was and why he was interesting to make a show about. The show is quickly becoming autobiographically fictional due to us taking our own experiences and memories and recreating them within the characters.

That’s all for now folks!

Lovingly written by the Unexpected Team

(it really was a group effort… we wrote a paragraph each… )