Thurston Project - Student Blog 2 - Freya

In our second session in collaboration with Gecko, we focused on where the last session left off. We didn’t have Gecko working one-on-one with us on this occasion, so we completed a set of tasks they had left us to finish. The first of these was to separate ourselves into smaller groups (one of 4, another of 3 and the last of 2) and complete what we’d begun in the last lesson of walking a short circuit in formation. Then, we had to combine each individual group’s different circuits together to form one piece of movement, adapting them along the way so that they all fitted together seamlessly. This required us to change the pacing of some of the walks and add additional features to them- for example, having us reverse our circuits twice and then only do a full one on the third lap. Then, each small group added a form of non-verbal communication; the group of 2 added heavy breathing, the group of 3 coughing and the 4 unintelligible mumbling. Finally, we decided on a location where the piece would take place, which we determined to be either a museum or a gallery of sorts.

I was a part of the group of 3 and, prior to starting the task, was quite apprehensive. I’m not going to lie, it was difficult for me- unlike many in the class, I have little dance experience and so am not entirely confident in pieces that are solely movement. I kept forgetting the direction in which we were supposed to be moving on numerous occasions and stumbled very frequently, which I found frustrating. On the other hand, I became far more aware of my surroundings and how to manoeuvre myself around a space whilst being more mindful of others. If I didn’t concentrate fully, then there was the risk of crashing into another student- which wasn’t desirable! However, it was challenging from an acting point of view and I’ll be very interested to see how it will be incorporated into a final performance.

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Next, we had to take pieces of paper and separate ourselves into 2 groups (1 of 4 and another of 5) and portray the internal emotional state and thoughts of a person through the papers alone. In our group, we showed the internal emotional struggle of someone waking up from a bad dream or the horrors of the nightmare itself. Personally, I found this more engaging than the previous task as it was more centered on our own interpretation- we knew that whatever we did it would be different to the other group. I also found the use of the papers within the performance very interesting and, in a way, it made our performances more physical- we had to use our whole bodies to suggest what we could about the meaning of the papers, e.g. we each were at different levels and angles whilst we rustled them in the face of the ‘dreamer’.

Finally, we had to find a way to incorporate an object into a physical theatre performance. How many objects and whichever ones we chose were down to us entirely. My group chose to use only one object- a camera- and use it to create a short scene about a girl who is being left out by her friends and knows this by seeing photographs of time they have spent together without her. Whilst she moves across the space with the camera, the rest of the group formed various tableaus of festivity and fun, occasionally saying monosyllabic words or laughs. We wanted to get across to the audience the isolation felt by the girl and also the malevolence of the figures in the ‘photographs’- by having the freeze frames behind the girl, it was a representation of what she was seeing on the camera emphasized and more defined, thus eliciting a deeper emotional response from the audience.

Overall, the session was difficult and challenging but also intriguing. I am definitely NOT the most coordinated of people (as clearly seen in the first task) but I feel that I have become more aware of my surroundings as a result and hope to take this lesson with me as I pursue drama.