Creating a Performance: Day 9 (The performance and the report)

I did my performance today!!!

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I was really really nervous, but it went quite well ūüôā The teachers thought it was beautiful, and I also had some great feedback from my classmates. I’m really happy now ūüėÄ

It was a difficult process, but in the end, it was worth it.

Now I remember, I love theatre making and performing, and I can’t wait to start next year. We’ll start with an introduction day, and we’re supposed to bring good walking shoes, lots of water, rain coats, our travel passes….this will sure be interesting.

I also wrote a small report on my performance, and once my teachers have approved that, I’ll be done with this project!

Huzzaaaah!

I’m not sure what my next blog posts will be about…not that anybody read these, but it was really nice for myself to keep track of what I was doing.

– Chris

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Creating a Performance: Day 8 (The try-out)

Today, I did a try-out of my performance for my classmate, who also filmed it. The performance is just long enough; I’m pretty happy about that. Sadly, my classmate had a lot of trouble with a festival he was trying to start in our hometown (it’s not going to happen anymore ūüė¶ ), so the mood was pretty down. There was also a group of German tourists, visiting the square at exactly the time of the try-out, which was pretty annoying. Let’s hope there won’t be anyone this Friday.

The image does look beautiful! I now have a ‘sticky bra’, so the audience will really see a naked back and no straps. I also have a long grey skirt and bare feet, and it just really works. The performance does get a bit boring, because I don’t really bring variation in the way I perform the text. I’ll have to work on that a bit.

But after all, I’m quite pleased with this ūüôā

Tomorrow I’m not doing anything with the performance, and Friday I’ll perform! There are about 13 people in the audience…I had hoped there would be about 30…

But ah well, everyone is enjoying their last days of the holiday, and I understand that…

– Chris

Creating a Performance: Day 7

I showed my ‘first version’ to the other teacher today. She also felt it was too short, but she didn’t think I should make the performance about me and about me not knowing what I’m doing here. She thought that wasn’t what was interesting about it. She loved the text I wrote about the statue, and how I brought some life back into this ‘dead’ thing. She also thought the naked back was beautiful. She just really loved the idea, and thought that, if performed well, this could become a ‘pareltje’ (a pearl).

I just felt really happy that my text resonated with her so much, and I agree: it shouldn’t be about me. I stated earlier that it had to be personal, but I think that my performance is still personal; I still feel a lot of connection to what I’m doing. It’s my naked back inside that statue, me feeling vulnerable. It’s the text I wrote about him, these are my words.

My performance is image and text. I’m not doing much. But that is OKAY! It’s what I think is beautiful, it’s what I feel needs to be done on this square. I should stop trying to please so much. It’s my performance.

I could make the text a little longer, but not too much. I will slow down my movement, and just let the image speak for itself.

My current direction draft:

Goal: making the audience think about something they don’t always think about, shedding new light on this square and the statue

Appearance: at the sound of the bells (it’s exactly 11:00), the audience walks in. A square with white picnic tables; buildings surround it. There‚Äôs some symmetry¬†on the square, with the¬†windows and green doors behind the statue.¬†It‚Äôs light, because it‚Äôs morning. The audience sits on the picnic tables.¬†A bronze statue in the middle of the square. Inside the statue is a young woman, who has her back to the audience. She wears a long grey skirt, her back is naked.

Her breathing is visible. She moves a bit, places her hands on the outside of the statue, caresses it. She speaks a text about the statue. She sometimes repeats sentences; the words come out of her mouth as if they aren’t written before, but just now thought of.

The text ends with the sentence: ‘and he thinks: what am I doing here?’ The young woman steps out of the statue and walks away through the green doors.

Content: it’s about how a statue of someone who is dead cannot do the things the living person could do. He has its own square, but he cannot decide about what happens to it. He cannot decide about what happens to the world. It’s about bringing life back to something that is ‘dead’, even if just for a moment.

I am actually really, really happy with this! This is what I love, what I find beautiful. What I find worth watching. I think a lot of audience members feel like it’s not enough, they want to see more of me. Other audience members will love it just as much as I do.

This was the last day of working on it; but I have decided to do a try-out tomorrow for one of my classmates.

I finally feel fulfilled about this ūüôā

– Chris

Creating a Performance: Day 6

I had an amazing weekend, in which we performed the play we created this summer at Buitenkunst. It went really well and I also saw some other great plays.

But then on Monday, it was time to go back to work. Work on the performance. I really, really didn’t feel like it. I was incredibly nervous for some reason, to show what I had made so far to a teacher.

I showed my performance to a classmate and a teacher. They both thought it was a good base for a performance, but it was too short. They felt like seeing more, another part. A part in which I tell something about not knowing what I’m doing here, or recreate some of the moments I have been doing here the past week. They also weren’t sure about the naked back if I was performing as ‘myself’.

I honestly didn’t really know what to do with it. I thought and thought, but couldn’t think of anything. But still, I was happy. My performance wasn’t awful. This was going to be okay.

I decided to let it rest and try again tomorrow. Another teacher will come tomorrow, and I really think I can use her help.

I can do this!

– Chris

Creating a Performance: Day 5

Boom! After the sob story that was yesterday, today was incredibly different! I arrived on the square, wiped the cobwebs of the statue, counted how many audience members I could invite, and just tried out the idea I thought of yesterday.

I managed to film a few seconds of myself, with my naked back inside the statue, and it looks quite beautiful. I also thought of movements I could do inside the statue. I now have about 4 minutes of material (movement and text) that I’m excited about. I have no idea if it’s any good, but I can’t see it, so I can’t decide.

This weekend, I won’t be working on the performance. I will be performing in a play on the Buitenkunst festival. It’ll be the second and last time the play is performed and I’m super excited about it.

On Monday I’ll go back to the square, and I will also (finally!) have one of my teachers there. Until then, I’ll leave my performance the way it is now, and I’ll see what happens on Monday. It’s possible I’m going to have to change the entire thing…but I hope it’s good the way it is.

I also gave my performance a title: Pleinvrees (Dutch word for agoraphobia) and I made a poster!

 

Poster

Well, that’s it for now. I still have to¬†get some stuff though:

  • a bra without any straps (basically just two cups to put on your boobs)
  • speakers that don’t need electricity

I’ll do that next week! This is the first time I’m actually happy about what I’ve done. I’m super unsure about it as well, but at least it makes me feel something other than ‘I don’t want to do this’.

What do you think of my poster?

– Chris

Creating a Performance: Day 4

Today was tough. Really, really tough. Nothing I did seemed to feel right, I just couldn’t think of anything I wanted to make on this square. I didn’t have many ideas. And¬†every idea I had, I immediately hated. I wanted to cry and quit. I’ve never had this much difficulty creating something. Honestly, this is the first time I have to do it completely alone, without a clear assignment. Sometimes we work in a group, other times I have actors to work with…

Maybe I just suck on my own. Maybe I can’t do this. Maybe I can’t make theatre. Those are the thoughts I¬†had today.

I tried a lot of stuff out with the windows, and it was okay. It did work, but I just wasn’t excited about it at all. I didn’t feel like making a performance of 7 minutes out of that idea, even though it was the best idea I had. So at the end of the day, I decided to throw away the window idea (for now, at least).

It’s site-specific theatre. That means the performance can only be performed there, and is heavily influenced by the location. If it’s performed elsewhere, it would be completely different.

What’s special about this square?¬†The windows are a bit special,¬†but not that much.¬†But that statue. That damn statue is the special thing about this square. I should do something with that.¬†I also liked standing inside of it and thought that looked intriguing. Then I thought of something new: standing inside of the statue, but with my back towards the audience.

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I like this. I immediately think of a naked back when I see this, and I think that might be even more intriguing. I definitely feel like that would add to the uncomfortable, vulnerable feeling I have on this square. I’m just not sure I have the balls to do it…

I also still have that poem I wrote about the statue not knowing why it’s here that I really like. So I have an image (but there’s no movement yet, is it interesting to look at a back for 7 minutes?) and I have some text (but I don’t know what I want to do with it). When I read the poem aloud it takes about 1:30 minute. Hmm…I’m not sure how I can make a performance out of this.

But: I’m at least somewhat excited about this. I can do something with this. At least…I hope so. It’s nowhere near a performance, though…

Let’s try and do some filling in, see where I’m at right now:

Goal: make the audience experience how I felt about being on this square and having to create a performance

Appearance: a square with white picnic tables; buildings surround it. There’s some symmetry¬†on the square, with the¬†windows and green doors behind the statue.¬†It’s light, because it’s morning. The audience sits on the picnic tables.¬†A bronze statue in the middle of the square, quite close to the audience. Inside the statue is a girl, who has her back to the audience. She wears jeans, her back is naked. She shifts around, as if to turn around, but she doesn’t. Over a speaker¬†sounds Philip Glass-like music.

Then, also a poem¬†(about the statue)¬†over¬†the speaker, read by the voice of the girl (not live). The last sentence of the poem is: ‘And he thinks: what am I doing here?’

The girl walks away, through the green doors. The music stops.

Content: the performance is about feeling out of place, not knowing what to do. About feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable, and about making the decision to leave when you feel that way.

Uhm…it’s something! I might be able to work with this, actually. I think I like it!

Wow, I’m even sort of on schedule…I wanted to know where I was going with the performance today, and have a direction draft. I think I have that now!

And I actually feel some¬†excitement, even though I’d still rather not do this. But it’s better than before.

A shitty day, but a good ending! Let’s hope I get this done tomorrow!

– Chris

Creating a Performance: Day 3

When I got to the square today, it was very quiet. A peaceful quiet. I wish it was like that there everyday.

I asked if I could use the hallway with the windows, and I got permission! Phew, one less obstacle, haha ūüôā

Today I also wrote some texts/poems, inspired by the ‘what-am-I-doing-here’ feeling. They’re in Dutch, so I can’t really share, but a few of them are quite good. I wrote a poem about the statue and how it doesn’t want to be there, about an elderly couple with red unisex rain coats, and about a bird who knows ex√°ctly what he’s doing there. Especially the one about the statue worked out pretty well.

I just think I won’t be able to use it in the performance…because I really want to use the windows and I have no clue how to do both. Do you have any ideas?

I tried some stuff out with the windows. Walking past, crawling under so the ‘audience’ won’t see me and then walking past again, running in between windows to mess with expectance of the audience, breathing on the windows, knocking on the windows, etc. The problem is, I have NO IDEA how it looks. Sadly, no one came to visit today. Tomorrow, I really need someone to watch, film, take pictures, try stuff out with…otherwise this is going to be a total disaster.

I also really need some music. I have to put some on my phone today, so I can use it tomorrow. Sadly, I still don’t really feel like creating this performance. I have to get excited about it, but I can’t help but feel like I’d rather just relax for a couple weeks and th√©n start with new projects, not this weird ‘resit’ because I was sick.

Funny thing happened today: two last years from my school visited the square. They had no idea I was going to be there though. They will direct the new first years in the first week of school, and were hunting for locations, as that performance will also be site-specific theatre. What a coincidence!

To do list for this afternoon:

  • Find several music tracks I think I could use
  • Download music on my phone
  • Look up several formats for direction drafts I used in the past

To do list for tomorrow:

  • Try stuff out with music
  • Get someone to watch (!!!)
  • Think about a way to marry the texts and the windows
  • Make a direction draft
  • ¬†Basically get the rough draft of the performance done

Eek! I’m getting a bit nervous.

Anyone have any tips for me how to get excited about this creative process?

– Chris