Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sightlines Into the Past.

Most of the day was spent working on the Spanish section of the show. The Senegalese work is so reliant on the students that we can only now tweak in theory, giving careful instructions to El Glayu and Drama St Mary's and hope that they'll communicate in the runs. It's a bit of a Chinese whisper way of directing - but for now it's all we can do.

As for the Asturian horse I'm still worried that we've spent so much time diligently working the blue silk - so that we can unravel and clear to within a bar of the score - that we've rather neglected the beauty of the puppet and are under playing its importance. In the story the horse stands for a symbol of our common humanity. Some of the oldest cave paintings in Europe are found in the Asturias. The Tito Bustillo cave is a major tourist attraction and it's here that our horse was originally drawn a mind bending 20,000 years ago. The accuracy, detail and sense of life in the painting connects us immediately to our ancestors in the most direct way imaginable. The image could have been made yesterday. It seems important as we've released him from the preservation of darkness to meet the osprey that we understand his demands. He is as fresh and full of vigour as when first created. There's a psychology and back story that we're not tuned into just yet.

We ran, with a skeleton cast and crew, on site early this morning and she rather gets lost behind the material. We've also blocked her far to close to Harry's osprey and it all becomes a bit of a blur.

One of the real difficulties is explaining to the puppeteers just how much animation is needed to raise the horse. There is a sense that because they're hidden they're somehow meant to work as technicians - efficient and precise rather than as character actors - full of spontaneity, energy and awareness of the audience. There is no room for diffidence.

It's becoming increasingly apparent how much energy the actors are going to need for the twenty minutes or so they're on stage. Not just in terms of playing to the huge crowd we're anticipating but also to get from one side of the space to an other. Occasionally we're asking them to make 400 metre runs in less than a couple of minutes in order to be in place for another entrance. Hard to nail this in a stop start tech.

By this evening we'd found a way for the horse to make a playful circle of the audience prior to his encounter with the osprey. El Glayu had also begun to warm up and suddenly the horse came alive, full of personality, pride and a sense of himself.


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