Friday, 8 January 2010

The Decison - Tuesday 15th

Just as the day before we met at the community centre at 10 am , well rested from the night before. Today's morning seminar was on Brecht's play ' The Decision' we looked at small parts of the text and explored the language and analysed the text itself. Chris raised the issue of would it matter if this piece was ever performed and why ? At first I didn't see the relevance of the play in relation to Spirals work , then Chris explained that like spiral , Brecht's actors were real people. So I began to understand that the message of the play doesn't necessarily come from performing it but rather from the reading. If the decision was performed by actors to an audience merely of spectators it wouldn't have the same desired effect. This made me realise how important spirals work really is , their work is written by the people for the people not someone sat in a theatre all the way up in the gods. Chris really lit a fire within me and I began to think about the purpose and nature of theatre and how easily we can be led in the wrong direction and loose sight of what is really important when it comes to performances. Theatre is an incredibly powerful tool that has the ability to reach people sometimes without them even realising it.

The mornings exercise really made me think about what I consider to be theatre and how I view it. I certainly think in today's society there is a serious misconception of what theatre is , I mean you only have to look at the hundreds of people flocking to the west end every night to see that culture can dictate theatre. Musicals are huge in popular cultural due to the television shows that endorse them and its these t.v shows that reach the largest demographic. Now when considering this I wonder are musicals popular because of the media influence and the notion of celebrity , or because you get a two hour performance complete with ice cream rounded off with a happy ending ? I certainly have a new found respect for Brecht and his work , I really like his whole process that doesn't necessarily need or lead to a performance. I think sometimes we can become so focused on the end product in performance that we loose sight of the true beauty of theatre , it is after all an art form and expression of Humanity.

After our presentation we were told that a surprise was in store for us which turned out to be a visit to the amazing caves of cueva el sopalo! The caves were deep underground and completely covered in stalagmites and stalactites. The backdrop to the cave centre was the beautiful snow dipped mountains which were utterly wonderful and I made sure I took plenty of photos ! When we travelled underground to the cave I don't think i was quite prepared for what I saw , thousands of stalactites cascading from the roof , glistening in the darkness. I was fascinated by the formations the stalagmites had taken ,one in particular was like a grave yard it was so strange to think they had formed like this without human intervention. The cave had only been discovered just over a hundred years ago , so for thousands of years the stalactites and stalagmites formed in secret.

After our trip to the cave we headed straight into rehearsal with the villagers this time in the actual performance space. The space itself was a bar that wasn't used very often and had strange and rude pictures on the wall ! After a rather cold rehearsal spend huddled around a heater it was time for bed and supper as we had a long day ahead of us !

Wednesday 19th

Like the following morning we met at ten and as always we were bright eyed and bushy tailed and rearing to go! Today however we were to be set a challenge, we had an hour to create a proposal for a community project. Myself, Hannah, Zoe and charlotte decided to use our Ham House project in the summer, the second years chose their site specific project of telling ghost stories and based it around a performance at south sea castle. So we began putting together a plan of possible ideas for our summer project. I personally am still unsure about our project at Ham House only because I can’t really picture it in my mind yet, I find the prospect of performing in front of and keeping 3,000 people entertained extremely daunting. But I have no doubt that once the whole company come together and really buckle down we will come up with something spectacular.
When we began exploring ideas we were very conscious of space and how we would use it, how would we get 3,000 people in and out successfully? How would we entertain people while others flood in? Zoe however came up with a rather brilliant plan of making the audience’s entrance like a procession so that we could guide a constant flow of people and keep them entertained.

A siesta later we were back in the performance space, changing room’s style! As I expressed before I was worried about the obscenities on the wall, but I needn’t have fretted as spiral had an answer to this! We were to completely cover the entire room in white cloth from the ceiling to the floor. So we all set about with our different tasks to transform the space. I myself spent most of my time stood on a bench attaching sheets to the ceiling with the marvel which is cable ties! I actually really enjoyed the hands on approach of the afternoon and it was great to be apart of the transformation of the room. The space looked completely different when we had finished, something as simple as white cloth completely changed the whole ambience of the room. It was no longer a dusty bar but a bright and clean performance space, where anything could happen. When the villagers walked in they were astounded with the change and from then on a real sense of excitement began to fill the air.

Thursday 17th

We were shown a video on the pedagogy a group of Spanish educational missionaries, who would go into rural Spain to educate the children. What these people did was amazing leaving their lives in the city to go and help such a neglected cause. This really hit home to me as I feel very strongly that everybody is entitled to an education and has the right to learn. Once you are given the tools to learn you never stop, as an adult I am still constantly learning and would never want to stop. Education stems beyond school and allows you to be knowledgeable and cultural. The pedagogy mission was an outstanding chapter in Spain’s intriguing history which without working with spiral I would of known nothing about!

The wonderful Nuku gave us a tour of the village and showed us all the beautiful sights. We were shown the bowling area which is a place of great honour and pride for the village, as one of the greatest bowlers in Spanish history came from Beliva. On our tour we visited two separate churches both steeped in history and beauty. Nuku even sang for us which was incredible, the villagers opened their hearts and homes to us and for that I am eternally grateful. As the tour continued we saw the beautiful landscape that the village had to offer he even took us to the cemetery were his family lay in rest and a plot he had reserved for himself!

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