Monday, 9 February 2009

Cheer Up Sleepy Jean.

It's been a busy weekend. The six nations began on Saturday with England hosting Italy and me hosting my Milanese siblings Paola and Paolo.
Paolo is a sports photographer and takes fantastic pitchside images of the matches. Two years ago, he smuggled me in with a borrowed press pass to the complete confusion of the other Italian journalists who, despite some brilliant acting on my part, smelt a rat when I was unable to answer any of their questions. I had no such luck getting through security this year so whilst Paolo went to work, Paola and me found the roaring fire in the William Webb Ellis and watched the game in warmth and comfort.

Twickenham on match days has a completely different character to it and I learnt a while ago to either join in with the merry making and bonhomie or catch an early train out!

After the game we went down to the Barmy Arms where a very merry, but fairly ugly looking, crowd sang loudly to popular anthems and danced manically on the tables - until one of them (tables not crowd) collapsed during the chorus of Daydream Believer spilling beer, splintering wood and dislocating kneecaps in all directions.

Meanwhile back in college the Collaborators were finalising their devised performances, which were performed this evening. I think it's one of the toughest modules we offer, as each small team has to negotiate their production on every level and without any ascertainable director the process can lack drive and determination. What is offered instead, I guess, is the opportunity to take genuine risks and experiment with both form and content - this of course carries its own risk for assessment.

The first of tonight's pieces was simple and brave with each student choosing a different form to tell a traumatic story from their lives ending with the statement 'This is who I am.' This was followed by a film noir spoof which was very funny, but needed a rocket boost in terms of pace and attack and finally an interesting story about the life of Ellen who, having spent her life institutionalised, was released into the care of her niece. This piece explored both the full theatrical space and by using flashback helped us piece together the history to understand the impact of her release on both the community and herself. It ended with four semi-tableaux of Ellen as an old lady dancing in the rain, as a girl on a swing in the hayloft pushed by her lover, of her intolerant father condemning her and finally a nurse gently playing the piano which underscored her complicated memories.

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