Friday, 22 January 2010

12 hr musical

For our musical theatre assessment the class presented the idea of putting on our own musical within 12 hours as opposed to doing a presentation. We felt that we would benefit and learn far more by going through this process than simply reseaching information and presenting it to the rest of the class. It was going to be a real test of how we could work as a group under such a huge amount of pressure. The point of the musical was the development of the process and the journey we went on in order to create it as opposed to the final product, which the majority of the audience was unaware of. As a result there was a complete lack of support from audience members. Despite the final performance consisting of forgotten lines, repeated lyrics and improvised dancing it was the fact that we had worked and battled through as a mini community to even reach the final product at all.

There were many times throughout the 12 hours when we wanted to throttle one and other, but it was the support and encouragement of the rest of the group that pulled us through and gave us the courage to carry on. The extent of the pressure to write, direct, design, organise, rehearse and choreograph a hours show was extremely high. It was difficult to manage how to distribute the time we had fairly so that everyone got a fair amount of time to rehearse with the resources they needed. This was a problem that arose during the day. As a large group the chorus needed far more time to rehearse singing and dancing with the piano, but this was not given to us and as a result we were cut out of the singing all together, despite spending several hours learning the lyrics for multiple songs. The dancing was also extremely out of time as we had rehearsed using a C.D to dance to and the switch to live music confused the counts and beats of the routine.

The significance of the day was on the team work that was required to get to the end product. I learnt a lot form the experience, including how to deal with emotion and how to effectively disagree with something without wasting hours argueing about it. It gave me a real taste of drama within a community where issues will arise and disputes will occur. It was one of the experiences that I have learnt most from whilst being at university.


...Leading on from my experience from the christmas project at ham house, my trip to Spain really re-inforced my idea of what drama in the community should be about. I not only learnt about drama in the community, but it also made me realise that dramatherapy really is what i want to do for my career. The project affected the villagers in a very personal way, it addressed the problems they were facing within the tiny village of Belvia in which they live. Spain having suffered from a 'silent' era, in which its history and political issues could not be discussed openly and freely by its people, made people very afraid to have the freedom of speech and to document both the history of their country and their opinions. This drama project opened the possibility for people to do this. I identified the project as a form of therapy. Having created the performance themselves in terms of characters, storyline etc, some of the villagers found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that what was written down (the script) was their work. But through encouragement and support they were able to overcome this difficulty and instead feel proud of what they had created. The direct involvement of the community within the performance is how i imagine the final product at Ham House to be like. Having seen a project like that for myself, see it succeed and be able to witness the joy it brought to so many people has gave me hope and encouragement to do something as rewarding as the project in Spain for our performance at Ham House.

I learnt so much about the Spanish culture whilst I was there. It was interesting to see how drama and theatre is run differently there then it is here. Many of the villagers, particulary the older members, had never participated in a performance before. It was also lovely to witness how the project actually brought the village closer together. the youngest perticipant was 8 and the oldest was in her 80's and she was death, which demonstrated how everyone can be involved in a project and how everyone can work together. There was a couple of women who had previously had a disagreement and yet they were still working together to create the project. I think this was project was also therapeutic for their relationship.

I would love to go back and work with Spiral again. This kind of work is what I want to spend my life doing. Despite enjoying myself to the full, it was more about the enjoyment of the villagers and the sense of achievement they felt. I felt extrememly proud.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

ooops havnt written in forever!!!

where to start...

the storytelling at ham house has finished and looking back it wasn't quite how i imagined it would be. I think I was imagining it to be full of hustle and bustle with music playing along the hallways, packed full of stalls selling christmas souvenirs, with the smell of food wafting up to the buttery upstairs where I was performing. But it wasn't. I feel the only event going on was our storytelling, that people had come into the house just to be told stories. I had thought our performance was going to be an extra to the event already happening. It is for this reason that I feel it was not drama in the community in the context i was expecting it to be. Of course all drama is essentially drama in the community because it involves the rest of society even if they are just observers. However, through this module i wanted to discover and explore drama as a way of working with the community, to include them in the performance process, for them to have a say in what is performed, how it is performed or to be the performers themselves. The performance we originally rehearsed (the Q and A) was i think performed once at the most due to the lack of audience members and their age. As a result our performance became more about christmas characters meeting and talking to the children. while writing this it has just made me think that this version of the performance was more of a drama in the community concept through the interacting with the public then a rehearsed performance would have been.