Tag Archives: montage

Diary of a collaboration.Day 3.

props During our previous two days collaboration, we shared song, sounds, music and dance representatives of ‘Madam’ figures from our respective cultural backgrounds; we’ve explored initial texts generated by individuals of the ensemble in response to the stimulus text (Genet’s The Maids); we’ve made physical and text-basd improvisations in response to the sound environment Adrian Curtin and Mick O’Shea created, and in response to themes such as ‘siblings’, ‘servitude’, ‘distance’ and ‘intimacy’. This morning we begin with the starting point of props, puppets and costumes. props 2 Gaitkrash (Bernadette Cronin, Regina Crowley and Mick O’Shea) brought a treasure trove of objects from their Cabinet of Curiosities, which emerged from the ensemble’s first collaboration in 2007.

Cabinets of curiosity, a phenomenon of the Renaissance, traditionally presented the rare, the exceptional and the marvelous, encompassing both ‘God’s creation’ and man’s art. Performed by hands in the twelve mini-theatres of the cabinet, curious objects – animate and inanimate, organic and inorganic – shift, morph and mutate under the spectator’s gaze. The visual images wrestle, dance and pause in conversation with unique sound sculptures. no stories or narratives are offered – these take shape in the mind of the spectator. This wondrous cabinet of sound and vision beckons the spectator to dream-time.                                                                                     source: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=500824779954141&id=276412909061997

Phillip Zarrilli with one of Mick O'Shea's puppets

Phillip Zarrilli with one of Mick O’Shea’s puppets

Phillip brought out various puppets, with which we explored agency and manipulation, prompting various instantaneous improvisations, where Sunhee and Jeungsook manipulated Adrian as he played the cello.

mainds and adrian

Already, even after such a short period together, we are beginning to see possibilities for assemblage – content that has resonance and complicity – counter-point and dissonance.

We begin to give names to sounds and combinations Mick and Adrian are making so that we may be able to identify and recreate them once we begin to montage. We could continue generating material forever, but already I am itching to put certain structures, texts, and physical scores together….

How to write the ‘right’ ending, part two: consequential action.

I don’t like endings which are too tidy and ‘pat’. I distrust them. I feel like I’ve been processed – part of a well-oiled machine which has passed me along its predictable, dependable conveyer belt, depositing me unscathed, unchallenged and unsurprised at the end. I feel like the magical mystery tour I signed up to gave me an advance road map, with the route yellow highlighted in. I feel I have been part of a pedestrian equation, where A+B=AB.

It’s essential that there is structure and form to our writing (even – or especially – when the work is ‘experimental’), but here is a line between the well structured and the disappointingly predictable ‘I could see that coming for miles.’

But I’m not a fan of unpredictable, ‘magical’ endings either, where elements not previously existing in the world of the play fly in,  and ‘explain’ or solve everything. It doesn’t have to be as blatant as the god from the machine, deus ex machina. Think the chance meeting and deep conversation with the stranger with the meaningful past/anecdote to tell/piece of ancient wisdom to pass on which has surprising resonance with the protagonist’s dilemma and precipitates a sudden understanding and even swifter conclusion…  Or the surprise lottery win, the unexpected behest, the sudden death or illness, or the offer of a new job/house/country/lover/gender/whatever, which draws everything together in a premature ending leaving the viewer blinking and feeling cheated as the houselights come up.

The kind of endings I like are the ones where we are kept guessing until the last moment and then go ‘yes, of course it would end like that.’ We know that Hamlet will end up on a pyre of bodies, as when we think about it, this is the only possible ending, given his actions and interactions throughout the play. In this kind of writing, character equals plot, and plot equals character. They are indivisible, and there is logic – cause and effect: an action is made which brings a response, retaliation, or reward – consequential action – but not the simple binary of A + B of above, but a logarithm, a complex equation which, in both literary and mathematical senses of the word, is ‘beautiful’.

I’ve always believed that nothing should be extraneous in a play (or a story, or a novel, or a screenplay, or any kind of art or craft). Everything needs to earn its right to be there, and it all should contribute in some way to the ending. I can’t bear loose threads, or the sections included merely as a brain rest, so we can look at the attractive people, or hear a nice song, or be ‘entertained’ by something before returning to the true meat of the evening.

Of course some performances are not presenting a main or single narrative – there may not be a plot. Rather, they can be a montage working towards an overall effect at the close of the piece, rather than the resolution of a conflict, or a quest, or a psychological or emotional journey. Then I feel the power of the ending is cumulative, relying on everything that came before.

I love work which is up-close and personal, so involving and intricate it is as though I’m scrutinising individual stitches and threads, and it is only when it is drawing to a close, or complete, I can step back and see the tapestry, the full woven landscape whose minutiae I know and have followed.

That kind of experience brings great satisfaction and, for me, the most powerful ending, for everything has been created and spun out of what existed at the beginning: a fully realised world, a cast of well-developed characters whose actions and reactions create the stuff of the plot, a narrative full of twists and turns, which is unpredictable, but logical.

copyright Kaite O’Reilly 25 August 2012.

Montaging In Water….

In Water I’m Weightless is a fantastic puzzle we are currently engagesd in solving.

We have excerpts of scripted monologues, movement/dance sequences building on the r&d work with Nigel Charnock, led by associate choreographer Catherine Benmett.

Designer Paul Clay is beginning to introduce text projection and live/pre-recorded video footage. As one of his many roles is a VJ, live video mixing in underground clubs in New York, he brings a fabulous edge to the work.

I’m blogging this on the hoof, leaving  the  rehearsals at Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, heading off to the Malta Theatre Festival. When I’m back on Monday, we will try the first run-through – or ‘cry through’ as Dave Toole wryly put it.

Then begins the really exciting dramaturgical work – exploring the tempo-rhythms, structure and order, the contrasting textures and overall coherence. It will be an excitIng week.