Thursday, 19 July 2007

Outside the harbour, the waters are somewhat choppier. Will the ramshackle ship sink without a trace?

Devising theatre is always a risky practice. Especially when the materials remain stubbornly and defiantly non-theatrical. Of course, in your average talk-driven version 1.0 process, this quality of risk seems perhaps less of the physical kind, and more a risk that absolutely nothing of any consequence or interest will possibly arise. The aesthetic problems seem insurmountable, and the political demands of the content seem to aggressively delimit the possibility for any free improvisation which might possibly get past or navigate through these obstacles. Staring at a mound of transcript and media materials (more a mess of materials given the current state of our rehearsal room), its hard to give shape to the desire to 'do something'. What exactly should be done? Well, if I knew that, then I'd be doing it. And the weight of responsibility to the material and to the subject matter means that any doings must indeed be exact.

So then, can we trust that the right approach will emerge serendipitously in this ocean of talk and general messing about?

The only answer possible is sometimes. Can tomorrow be part of that sometimes? I know yesterday wasn't, but I remain cautiously optimistic for the future. Time is, however, starting to feel like a problem. We need to know what the show is very very very soon.

If the ramshackle ship starts sinking, at what point should we stop bailing and start swimming to shore?

I suppose that I should be grateful that at least this time there don't seem to be any sharks circling...


Christine Evans said...

Hey David-- have you looked at forced entertainment's rehearsal blog? they don't do "verbatim" or political type work but they DO often work from "stuff", from improvisation and devising, and their process is definitely worth checking out. see for intstance their "blog of the making process' for The World in Pictures and Tim Etchells book "Certain Fragments". x C

David Williams said...

Hi Christine,

Yes, I have from time to time looked at FE's rehearsal blog, and am generally familiar with their work (my Phd thesis looks at a selection of their works from Hidden J in 1994 to Bloody Mess in 2004)

I do value the way in which they frame blockages and getting stuck as a core part of the devising process. Even though our materials and strategies are quite different, I feel that most of our process is working through stuck-ness...

x David

ps. I haven't seen 'The World in Pictures', but enjoyed your response to it in Real Time

Noam Plume said...

Good luck with getting some traction and sticking to it until you are unstuck.

David Williams said...

Thanks Noam.

Gradually it feels as if the necessary traction is building, and with sustained pushing (and pulling), it feels as if the thing might break open.

This was a difficult but incredibly useful week, and the work is taking shape, albeit not one anyone predicted last week!

x dw