Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Cabbages and Kings.

We've finally got a name for our show. The Alice Project, which we've been using up to now has an unwanted, if light, association with manipulation and even grooming, which would be provocative in the context of the work and so, despite a small swell of support for 'Twas Brillig we've ended up with Cabbages and Kings.

The way of working has changed a little this year, adapted to suit the skills of this particular cohort. It's slightly more democratic than the process employed on Canterbury Tales last spring and although I still retain final control over the editing and structuring of the piece, it has meant more input from individual company members.

There are three overlapping phases. First the research, which has been incredibly thorough this year. Partly that's because these Level 2s enjoy reading and the discovery of new information. This is ongoing. The second stage has been to structure this work into six separate stories, which mix biographical details from Alice Liddell and Lewis Carroll's lives with the Wonderland and Looking Glass texts. In this way we've created six adapted fairy stories. weaving them site specifically into the gardens. The students provide the broad outlines for these stories, as well as excerpts of texts. Simultaneously Tina and the design team seize on any scraps of information or decisions that come out of rehearsals and set to work on fabulous costumes and set piece installations. This part of the work has its own momentum and a visit to the workshops always provides fresh momentum and new ideas. It's symbiotic.

Finally we adapt and rehearse. The great thing about having your own text to work from is that you can cut and add continually, kneading the work into shape. Eventually, to the relief of the stage manager, a script begins to emerge. At the minute we've almost finished Stage 1, are half way through Stage 2 and pushing ever onwards towards Stage 3. It's an exciting way to be creating a play.

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