The beginning of Rahimullah & Sons

21 Dec

There are three key moments I always recall when people ask me how this show has come about. The first was just over 12 years ago. I remember watching the news wide-eyed as the first bombs fell on the mountains of Afghanistan, a country I’d never given much thought to but which has rarely been out the news since Continue reading

Final day – mash up

4 Oct

One of my favourite tools from the devising box flourished today: a simple exercise that creates a melting pot of movement and images in a long form unruly physical improvisation prompted by index cards picked at random from a table. Well placed, at best this always seems to explode a whole physical language of a piece, at worst throws up many striking images you’ve not seen before and could never engineer. It worked well enough once it got going, and certainly the use of chairs sprang from nowhere as having real potential in this new space. Other moments included pall-bearing, military set-pieces, the miracle calculator and baseball scenes. Was very glad to have the video camera running, and looking forward to drawing up some of those phrases and moments that really caught the attention.

Fourth day – grilled by self-improvement

3 Oct

Hitting that point today when the question of what it’s about has definitely arrived in the room in a big way. I often find this really kicks off when the interrogation by the performers inevitable begins: “yeah, but what are we in?” Continue reading

Third day – writing on the mountains

2 Oct

Past the midway point and an encouraging and intimidating amount out of our brains and slopping around the studio floor, a primordial show ooze: glimpses of half formed limbed, gelatinous vertebrae Continue reading

Second day – memories of the hippie trail

1 Oct

Just a morning session before an afternoon of meetings and chat. Most useful of which was chance encounter with Doug Gill who hit the hippy trail in the late 60’s, was at Woodstock, hung out in Haight Ashbury etc. Details fell from him like gold dust Continue reading

RnD week 1, first day – introducing Alfred and Master Billy

30 Sep

Sleeping tonight on some welcome surprises.

Not least, the appearance of the caped crusader’s butler, Alfred. In a show about a cemetery in Kabul named after it’s Muslim caretaker… Devising has these habits. Continue reading

Animal, vegetable or mineral?

5 Nov

It seems like a good time, whilst looking back on our first days in the space, and towards our next week, to talk analogies; specifically, those muddle mouthed attempts to talk about the shape or the identity of a show as it’s being made, before it can be defined. Continue reading

A visit to the Queen’s Hamlet

5 Oct

I am writing this on a train, in a  tunnel, beneath the sea. The novelty of Eurostar must’ve worn off for most people by now, but as this is my first time, I’m going to savour a little shameless excitement. Besides, today I’ve been in Paris to research our next piece. Continue reading

Emperor Joseph (aka Count Falkenstein)

16 Sep

The starting point for Keepers was a lot narrower than the one we are taking into rehearsal soon for L’Autruche. Essentially, we knew what the story was and we were going to set about telling it. Through research, and in wrangling with the potential core, premise or drive of this starting point, I’m trying to find some possible tantalising shapes, questions, or opportunities that can give us something of a frame, no matter how blurry, within which we can start to play with material Continue reading

Arvon calling: the premise and the ostrich.

16 Sep

All being well, it’s just a few weeks now until we start work on a new show, the one about The Queen’s Hamlet. Back in that familiar place where excitement about getting started is mixed in equal parts with the terror of not really knowing what we’re about to make. Continue reading