Tag Archives: making performance

Diary of a collaboration. Day 4.

Old Chinese character - 'she'

Old Chinese character – ‘she’

As one of her possible starting points for generating material, Jing Okorn-Kuo suggested old Chinese characters – as imagery to dance/work from; as a starting  point for dynamics spatially or between characters. Yesterday evening she and I explored some of the old characters for ‘wealth’, including the one above ‘she’ for extravagance, excess. 

Our project, (Playing) the Maids is not a production of Genet’s text. We are using that as a diving off point, identifying themes and issues for possible content. Wealth and the opportunities it brings is one of the differences between Genet’s Maids and the Madame, and something Jing (playing this privileged Madame figure) was keen to explore.

This starting point led overnight to some text I wrote, informed by the meanings and imagery of the old Chinese characters, and several movement sequences that Jing developed. We started playing with these this morning, alongside a bilingual script Phillip Zarrilli, Jeungsook Yoo and Sunhee Kim transcribed, edited, and translated into English from the original improvisation in Korean they had made earlier that day.

Phillip, Sunhee and Jeungsook working from the video of their improvisation

Phillip, Sunhee and Jeungsook working from the video of their improvisation

We are documenting everything as we proceed in this intense period. I film, photograph and notate each structure, and my colleagues all have their own way of noting their work. This will be essential now in this next part of our process, as we begin reviewing, revising, editing, and rehearsing the many sequences, scenes, and structures we have explored so far.

The Echo Chamber – testing, checking, trying – 3rd week of rehearsals


Ian Morgan in rehearsals for The Echo Chamber. All photographs Kaite O”Reilly

The last weekend before our move to Cardiff and final rehearsals and tech’ before opening. We have been scrutinising the structures (or ‘scenes’, or individual moments), asking what work they are doing dramaturgically.


We have been asking what motifs each scene/structure establishes and what it seeds or contains re-action, aesthetic, meaning, complicity. This is done on the floor – us charting and navigating our way through sequences.

Phillip Zarrilli

Peader Kirk has also been working on a sound design, mixing and experimenting as Ian and Phillip move through their paces.


. . . . . .

I have been fine-tuning the texts – found, co-created, and written – trying different rhythms and combinations: scientific, poetic, prosaic and metaphysical, tracing the bedrock of images through the whole and the moments where they appear explicitly in the work.


We have been trying out possible structures and running orders before small invited audiences in the rehearsal studio in Llanarth.

Tomorrow we run the whole once more before loading the cars and heading off to Chapter Arts Centre. 

And then we begin.

copyright 21/1/12 Kaite O’Reilly