Monday, 11 May 2009


This is the first big production i have acted in throughout my whole degree, therefore i am not used to the rehearsal process as an actor. Because of this i am finding rehearsals extremily hard, partly to do with the fact that we are outside and also because i find it hard to listen sometimes when there is so much else going on. I often find myself looking at a bee when i'm supposed to be listening, then i feel lost and a little confused. Generally i'm finding rehearsals good fun and i feel the structure of the rehearsals the last few times has worked much better for me than before as i feel i know what I'm doing when i get up to do it. Maybe I've just taken a long time to get back into it, but hopefully I'm doing OK. I often wonder whether what I'm doing is right and whether i can improvise at certain points when the work is being devised but i always feel like i will say something wrong and i will get told off. I think this fear shows a definite lack of confidence and this is something that i will need to build up myself as i cannot rely on others to do it... I feel i am doing better and better though as the rehearsals go on, and my best work is usually produced when i relax and have fun with the part.

Design Day

We had a weekend in which the whole company were available to us to help build props and costumes for the show. Before the company arrived we sat down and decided who would be good at which sort of job and then divided the company into costumers, painters and builders. We then wrote a list of the jobs that needed to be completed so that every time someone was finished on one job, they had another job to go straight into. we also decided at this point on break times so that the company would work hard without going off every two seconds for a drink etc. During the morning i was left in charge of the costume build while Carolina went with Skye to get bits and bobs that we needed. I found this less difficult than i had anticipated mainly due to the fact that the people that worked with me were enthusiastic about working and therefore got the jobs done quickly. I found this really encouraging and helped me to feel more confident about asking them to do jobs, at one point however i did get stressed as the room started to fill up with lots of people, and when working in a crowded environment i often get agitated and grumpy, however, i asked politely for the people who weren't needed to go and work got back on track. All in all the company worked so well that they weren't needed for the next day as all the work had been done, therefore we used Sunday as an unscheduled rehearsal which was an added bonus!

Production Meetings

I've found Production meetings truly helpful in keeping me on track. Having nearly completed the costumes for the show, i can now see how necessary these meetings were, instead of seeing them as something which is eating in to our design day. During these meetings I have always felt agitated that i had work to be getting on with and that the meeting takes so long because they are not structured enough. Discussing this problem with the team we decided to try and bring more structure to the meeting by going through the last meetings minutes and seeing if anything has been completed, etc. This worked as a method of controlling what is being discussed at any one time, as it was also a problem that separate conversations were breaking out. It became my responsibility to write up the minutes from each meeting and email them out to everyone involved in the production on an organisational level. This role comforted me because i then knew that everyone who had been given a job in the meeting had it written down for them and and everyone else so that there could be no mistaking who had taken responsibility for what. I find this method of organisation a lot easier to deal with then asking someone to do something. this may be because i have issues with confrontation, but writing down someones jobs is a lot easier and more direct in a way as if you tell someone something they are more likely to forget, but if it's written down there is no excuse!
I find it very difficult also when a job isn't done as quickly as i would expect, i think that this is because i generally worry about what i have to do until i do it and therefore get things done a bit quicker than most people. i have to learn to let people get on with things in their own time but if it is a job of great importance and timing is the key, maybe i should just do it myself...?

My Trip to Egypt

This post has been somewhat delayed due to the lack of time I've had to write about my trip! Something which struck about Egypt was the extraordinary differences between the two city's i visited. Cairo was busy and loud, (even at 4 in the morning you could hear cars beeping at each other and men shouting) in contrast to Sharm El Sheikh which was calm, sedate and completely westernised. The roads in Cairo lacked any lane divides which often resulted in a car park type situation, however the roads in Sharm were wide, spacious and clearly marked with lanes and road signs, it felt like a completely different country. It was astounding to me that two places in the same country could be so different, and although Sharm had the set up i was used to as a Westerner, it had none of the culture that Cairo had. One of my fondest memories from Cairo would have be being woken up at 4 in the morning by the Mosques calling you to prayer, as soon as your eyes opened you knew you were in Egypt! Fabulous! and the pyramids were pretty good too...

Thursday, 7 May 2009

three weeks before the show

I feel under quite a bit of pressure at the moment. I'm trying to get as many of the costumes done as i can but this becomes increasingly more difficult when the people who are meant to be wearing the costumes haven't been cast yet. I seem to be in everyday making costumes but i never feel like I'm getting anywhere and instead of having three jobs finished and 5 more to do, i seem to have finished a few bits from each which in turn leaves me feeling like I've done nothing because nothings been finished! This method of working doesn't suit me as i tend to get one job done before moving on to the next, i find it very difficult to focus on more than one thing at once and as a result the quality of my work tends to suffer. i need to change the way in which I'm working or i may end up with 10 poorly made costumes instead of the 10 well made costumes i know I'm capable of. My other work is beginning to suffer also, as although my written work is completed for my other modules, i still need to adjust certain bits of it in order to get a better grade or there would be no point in handing it in early for feedback. i seem to be setting time aside to complete this work then letting something else that needs doing creep into that time. The only solution may be to do more work in the evenings, however i am never at my best in the evenings and this may result in more poor work. I feel the best solution to this problem is to list the jobs that need to be done and timetable them into my busy schedule! wish me luck!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

SU Night

All in all, i think it should be said that the SU night was a GREAT success! Everyone who came had a great time, the entertainment was FAB and we raised a lot of money! There were sections of the night that could have been better organised but generally i think we pulled it off and we should be very proud of ourselves as pretty much everyone got stuck in on the night! it was fab to be all together, i had a really great time, special thanks you should go to Kathleen who was on the door ALL NIGHT!! also Amir who was in charge of Sheesha pipes and the Matt who pretty much guarded the back door for most of the night. well done guys. Another big thank you to all the people who provided entertainment, it was fab and everyone was commenting on the range of entertainment there was so thank you guys!!! This isn't really a blog entry but just a post to express gratitude to all who had a hand in the night, also quick thank you to Mark Griffin!! You even did a stint on the door (in between dancing) fab, thanks Mark!!!

First Costume Session

I had my first design day on Tuesday which went incredibly well. we started off with a production meeting which gave me the kick up the bum i needed in terms of sorting out details about the show with Sarah, there were many things we needed to know the answers for before we could progress with the show which meant it became my first priority to find out. The production meeting also became an opportunity to divide work out between the group instead of taking it on myself. as the whole group was there at the meeting they could volunteer for jobs that needed doing which saved me having to ask! very helpful. after the meeting i moved on to my costume commitments. I went through my designs with Tina which went well, with only one query in terms of storyline was that the name "Bedouin" brings up connotations of how the costume should look, and as we have decided to go with a very definite theme (Lord of the Rings style) it will have to be the name that's changed, this will be discussed with the writers on Thursday. With my costume designs approved, i got to work and started cutting the 13 waistcoats for the Tree Tricksters out of brown suede like material. After cutting 10 of the waistcoats out i realised i had run out of material, so Tina and I made the decision to make the 3 main Tree Tricksters (Amir, Zoe and Luisa) stand out from the others and give them different waistcoats but in the same style as everyone else. these waistcoats will be found in Tina's Cabin with the possibility of one being made from the scraps of brown material that is left. After cutting all the waistcoats out i sewed together the shoulders and pinned the backs ready for the fittings of the Tree Tricksters when they have been cast. Next Tuesday i will be having fittings most of the day after the production meeting to establish what needs to be made and what can be used from Tina's stock. I felt the day was very productive although i am further behind than everyone else which means i need to start putting in more time, maybe Thursday will become a costume day for me also next week, i will have to discuss this with Tina the next time i see her!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Costume design

So today I've started my costume designs for the show. Carolina and i have decided on a Lord of the rings meets Narnia theme for the clothing, the costumes will be quite an Edwardian style in terms of dresses- empire lines and long flowing hemlines. but for the other costumes, we want everything to look quite mythic with a strong inspiration from woodland and nature. I started my design for the Tree Tricksters; Carolina and I previously discussed the idea of the tricksters camouflaging with the environment and wearing a raw sort of leather, so I've decided to go with a ripped short initially, with a pale green undershirt and a brown faded leather waistcoat type item tied together with cord. we also discussed the sorts of weapons that the characters will carry and decided on quite a few people having bow and arrows so i have incorporated this into each of my designs with additional weapons for the elders (a tool belt type item with an axe and a sword.) We decided on an individual colour for each tribe and i have been using it to accent each costume i design, so for example, the elder for the Bedouin tribe is a (i have designed it as a female) female, her costume would consist of a black, velvet empire line dress with draping sleeves. see has a turquoise sash tied at the waste and a utility belt with a sword and axe. she has a turquoise sash which is attached to her bow and arrow. i thought it might be interesting if each of the elders had a big gold chain holding the coloured gem that represents their tripe and as the tribe members meet each elder they could collect the stones and use them to form the key at the end? I'm really enjoying designing the costumes, even if they won't all be used, or may be modified by Tina. it lets me be creative in a certain direction and I'm beginning to feel a passion for the project growing, and a little more scarily, a huge responsibility growing! There will be pictures to follow....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

House Tour with Ricky Pound

The Tour of the Chiswick Villa was very interesting, and worthwhile however, not all the information was incredibly relevant to us but certain points stood out for me which i would like to list here. we started off the tour with the downstairs of the villa which was a complete opposite to the upper level. downstairs was all marble and cold stone floors, with cream walls, very minimalistic and almost like a modern day villa. downstairs so original statues from the gardens were displayed, such as a bust of Napoleon, a sphinx and even a water nymph preparing for her bath (which made Rosie squeal out loud!!). it was in this lower half of the house that the first interesting thing occurred to me, this was the myth of the Sphinx, a creature from Greek myth (not Egyptian which was interesting) which guarded the city of Thebes (in Egypt..) and would propose a riddle to anyone who tried to pass. if the riddle was not answered correctly she would strangle the person until they were dead. one day Oedipus cam to Thebes, the Sphinx told him a riddle; "what animal is that which in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two and in the evening upon 3? Oedipus replied, man who, in childhood creeps on hands and knees, in manhood walks erect and in old age with he aid of a staff. the Sphinx was so angered that she threw herself off a cliff to her death. i found this very interesting and maybe we could make it part of the quest, to get by onto the next stage you need to complete a riddle from the sphinx?
the next interesting thing to me was discussed upstairs. there were three coloured velvet rooms in the house, a blue one, a red one and a green. this was originally thought to be because of red and green being a good colour to hold art, however, it was later discovered that it had more to do with the four elements, earth, fire, water and air. in the green velvet room on the fire place there were carvings of the green man- the pagan god of vegetation and also the sun, and therefore could be described as the earth and fire segment of the house. in the blue Velvet room there were many carvings of shells on the ceiling, and on painting frames. the shell is the symbol of the goddess Venus and links this room to water. the last remaining velvet room, the red velvet room was linked to air, through the paintings and carvings of the zodiac. this idea of the four elements could become a major influencing factor in our production and could lead us to interesting avenues for this project!

The First Workshop

the first workshop i completed was a book week workshop in Alexandra primary school. we played a warm up name game, discussed their favourite books, what a good story entails, then split into smaller groups to create a story together, one sentence at a time. after we had completed this we acted out the story in the style of helicopter reading. before the workshop began i was very nervous, and worried about whether the children would listen to me and let me help them make a good story. when we got there the children were very excited about the workshop and quickly began making up fantastic words to go in our story. This year 5 class were had a very good knowledge of descriptive words and used them fantastically in the story. the story had a good structure and good descriptive language, the only problem was that we finished the story very quickly and had practised acting it many times before the other groups had even started practising theirs. so i had to think very quickly, and with limited space and equipment at my disposal, i initiated a group game of book week hangman, which got the children talking about their favourite books again and made the time go more quickly. when we came to the end of the workshop, the children were asked if they had learnt anything from the workshop. the feedback was that the children had learnt that creating a story together can be fun and that when you are working in a team you have to listen to other peoples ideas. on this note, i feel the workshop was a success. the next day we took the workshop back to the school to do with a year 3 class, because the children were so much younger and we had much less space we needed to adapt the workshop. we changed the opening game and chose not to discuss descriptive words before the story writing as we felt this may be far too confusing for the younger children. I found this workshop a lot harder than the one before, the children struggled with the concept of taking it in turns to say a sentence and often spoke for children that were maybe too shy. there was one boy who didn't say anything when it got to his turn not matter how much i suggested or tried to prod him in a direction. he refused to speak, the other children tried to talk for him, but i insisted that it was his turn and after 5 minutes of not saying anything, i suggested to sentences for him to chose from with a word missing at the end for him to fill in. i felt that this still gave him a choice, and let him own part of the story. it took a lot longer to come up with a story with this group because they were so much younger and i had to keep reminding them that we need a beginning middle and an end, and maybe something should happen now, what do you think? etc. Therefore we were one of the last groups to get up and rehearse our story but we still made a successful piece for the other children to watch which was very enjoyable for me to watch as i know i had helped so much with it. the children reported back much the same that the other group had about learning about teamwork and learning about writing a story together, which was good as this was the aim of this workshop. I think my personnel contribution into this workshop was good, however i feel i may have tried to control the story too much, and i maybe i should have let go and let the children bring the story to a natural climax and a natural finish, however, because of the time constraints we were under, i felt that this was not possible or the story would have to be left unfinished which was not the intention of the workshop.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Site Visit

We had a Hard Hat day last week when the whole group got the opportunity to view the grounds that the production will take place in. i think most of you will agree how inspiring and exciting it was visiting the venue. from walking around the are i began to get so many ideas and images of what the show could be like. for example princesses running over the bridge with their dresses flowing behind them, and pirates sailing down the canal on little wooden sail boats. The feel of some of the sections in the garden is so magical, it can almost make you feel like a child in some ways. when we went down to the amphitheatre with the pool in the middle, it made me think of a mermaid pool and i could imagine music being played around it and people dancing. when the tour was over i felt so excited about the project i wanted to start straight away!

Venue Liason

Under the title Venue Liason, it was my responsibility to organise the groups initial viewing of the venue, and to keep the venue informed of any group decisions that will affect it and any other information that they might need as the project progresses. unfortunately i felt like i had stumbled at the first hurdle as it were, as it became increasingly more difficult to pint he venue down to a preliminary meeting date, due to crossed wires, and other commitments. but as time went on i feel i have managed to form a sturdy relationship with the venue, and more particularly a relationship within which they fully understand the project and what we are trying to achieve. The first meeting with Sarah, from Chiswick was very exciting. in the first instance i was very nervous and not entirely sure whether they would agree to letting us use the grounds for the project, but it became clear as the meeting went on that they were very keen for us to use the grounds, and very keen about what it would do for the house and grounds themselves. I think at times being venue liason might become quite difficult but for now its OK and i think by the time the difficulties arise we will have a much better relationship with the house.