Pilot tonight

Can you make it to the Custard Factory in Birmingham tonight?

If so, come to Pilot. We’re going to be there trying out two small elements of Treasured on some of the audience there. As ever we won’t be using the stage, but a small dressing room round the back of it. Also we won’t be using the jewellery (which will be wierd after 3 weeks of getting so used to it) as we don’t want to spoil your enjoyment of the final pieces. You might see the shadow of one of them though – as a teaser…

Here is the info:

The Theatre @ The Custard Factory
Digbeth, Birmingham
Doors open 7pm
Tickets: £4/£3
more details: www.b-theatre.co.uk

A sleepwalking coronation

I had a very lovely and relaxing weekend where I didn’t think about the project, or think or talk much in general. Returning on Monday I felt quite refreshed and with more brain space than at the end of last week.

However, my brain is obviously more overloaded than I realise. Last night I woke up standing on my bed in the pitch black, desperately trying to put the piece of head jewellery onto Katherine (who wasn’t there). In my sleep as I began to stand on the surface I remember thinking ‘this is a really unstable surface to do the dressing from’, and then ‘its really ridiculous to do this in the dark – I can’t see where her head is’. Upon exclaiming outloud ‘We need more light in here. This isn’t going to work’. I opened the curtain that hangs alongside my bed and woke up.

It strikes me that this has an interesting resonance with the pieces we’re making, and how you move from being outside a dream/fantasy world into being central to it yourself.

Shame my sleepwalks are never really useful in shedding light on the performance itself.


A week out of the space and away from rehearsing. Katie and I have tons of jobs, both related and unrelated to Treasured. This morning we had a bit of a break from the admin to meet with Gareth our stage manager who starts on the project next week. Katie talked through the performance to date – really good to go over it and discuss the practicalities of next week a bit. Good to see Gareth again too (who we worked with on ‘I am waiting’) and hear about his company (Little Earthquake)’s exploits.

In the afternoon we found time to feedback about each piece as it stood on Friday, and nab Joel for a cup of tea and chat about the performance. Some interesting stuff came up, particularly about the head piece which is proving difficult. It is such a powerful piece in itself that we seem to have been sucked into making a ritual out of it which offers more signifigance or power than we can actually deliver. It can only ever be disapointing following the current build up – having worn it you won’t rule a country or possess superhuman powers or win in a battle. We may have found a solution in focusing the experience more heavily around what happens when the piece is on the head. Perhaps moving away from loaded images of annointing, or cleansing and looking towards a narrative again.

I will think on!

Feedback Friday

On Friday Joel and Katie came in to watch the pieces we had been working on during Thursday and that morning.

I hadn’t been able to sleep much on Thursday night – falling asleep late and waking up at 6.30 too alert. Coming into the Foyle Gallery I was on an excited evening pace rather then morning speed, and buzzing with things to try out. Fortunately Katherine and Sam responded well, and didn’t send me to the mad house.

The result was a huge amount of headway on the arms, which had suffered from lack of attention/understanding. The piece of jewellery is really loaded, with a dark beauty that has begun to come through in shadowy images and song. The jewellery also suggests the power of nature and the inevitablitiy of life and death – a huge concept to try and distill into 5 minutes, but a good challenge! When Joel watched them in the afternoon this was his favourite, I guess it probably has the most complete shape now, and is therefore the most tranformative experience.

Finding the hook

We’re beginning to make some real headway with the audiences journey within the jewellery rituals. This morning we looked at the head piece. Yesterday I was concerned it had no clear hook into it, however reading over the notes again before walking in I began to see some shapes of movement and things begin to shift into an order.

As we worked through the morning we found elements that worked, others that don’t and I can’t always find the way through. It’s funny, there is no panic, I know we’ll find them soon and it would be wrong if they appreared instantly. This part of the process is a gradual shaping and enhancing of all the best bits from the last 2 weeks. Along the way we’ll discover new moments too, whose presence will influence everything that’s already there. Its where you begin to realise just how much material you’ve generated.We are working with bright sounds and a narrow, long performance space to create a greater feeling of height and distance for this one.

In the afternoon Katie came in and saw the head piece and the neck piece from yesterday. She made notes and fed back to us. She commented that now she is further removed from the process she gets more nervous taking part in the performance – a bit more like a real audience member. This is extremely helpful as she helped to spot when things were confusing or too unsettling.

Mostly in the rehearsal room I am taking the role of audience member, swapping occasionally with the girls so they can experience the effect. Being so involved continuously in such a multi-sensory world I find I gradually begin to lose my sharpness and judgement. Today it was great to have Katie confirm lines of thought i’d also been going down myself as well as helping re-focus my mind by asking questions and making suggestions.

I’m looking forward to working a bit more on the head and arms tomorrow.