Monday, 2 April 2012

Why it Takes Twenty to Take a Photograph.

Today we choreographed the first scene. It's quite complicated, but when it comes together, a lot of fun.

The idea is to create a slapstick music hall routine where the chess piece ensemble chaotically bring on all the kit, chemicals and dressing up materials that would have accompanied the taking of a simple photograph in 1856. Subjects had to stand still for up to 45 seconds and there was even a special back holding prop into which fidgety children would be straped into to keep them still. It's a fascinating contrast with the mobile phone shoot and send culture of picture taking that we're all used to now.

The company and Ben have written a five minute song, which explains the process, based on a parody poem that Lewis Carroll wrote, set to the rhythm of Longfellow's Hiawatha.

Finally, he fixed each picture
With a saturate solution
Which was made of hyposulphite
Which, again, was made of soda.

We've a company of over 40 in the show now and, with other projects, loan supplementing jobs, trips home for Easter and essay deadlines flying about, it's difficult to get them all into rehearsals at the same time. The reality of this process is one of handing on information to the cast, who join when they can. This simple five minute routine takes over 20 chess pieces to complete and each new arrival into the room is warmly greeted and handed a set of ordered instructions. We've the air of a rag tag army just now - working with whoever turns up to flesh out the show.

Slowly, we're getting there.

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