(1) Weekly Blog (this blog was sent 15 minutes after class!)
Today was a great day for me, as you know I was initially very dubious and sceptical as to a lot of the concepts and exercises of 'Improbable', however since attending [Improbable] workshop I have a much better understanding of the concepts particularly in relation to performance, which is why I am so excited for our devised pieces when we will have a chance to put them into practice. I also found today I was for the first time truly involved in the exercises (newspaper/objects), and my energy levels rocketed!
So happy to have gotten over my initial reservations!
Posted by Chloe Gosling
I found that this lesson was much more useful than the previous lesson. This lesson wasn't as repetitive as the previous one. I found that watching the newspaper exercise being undertaken once was enough, as the object created out of the newspaper was original and wasn't forced. In the previous lesson we all undertook the exercise, which was useful as we were all able to try it out. However, in doing so, ideas were repeated in the fear that the individual's object wouldn't be original or creative enough. This relates to the idea of awareness. You feel aware of the audience and therefore want to create something new and exciting, therefore you focus on dominating the object and making it what you want it to be.
Watching people undertake the same exercise with the baskets was extremely interesting. At first, I didn't think the exercise would work as well as using newspapers, as newspapers can take on any shape, whereas baskets already have a fixed shape. However, the fact that baskets already have a fixed shape worked a lot better; it was so intriguing watching the baskets come to life.
Posted by Charlotte Harvey
(3) Weeks 4 & 5 Blog
Being introduced to puppets in week 4 was something that i really enjoyed. although i thought it was going to be a lot easier than it was! At first i struggled with the idea of not "controlling the paper" as I was eager to create a strange looking puppets that i could walk around with! But i soon realised that the puppets had so much more life if you stopped "controlling" them and let them be what they wanted to be. Likewise, in week 5 i was really glad to continue with the puppetry and I thought that the concept worked even better with the wicker baskets! this is something i would love to work with in my final piece. It was also good to watch the other groups devised pieces and how we all explored the four qualities from nearly completely different perspectives. I am also looking forward to looking into our theme of 'fear' and to get stuck into our devising pieces!
Posted by Emma Bilton
(4) Changing Objects
After last week's lesson I was left feeling a little confused as to the idea of exploring the newspapers. However, this lesson I found it much easier to understand the process and purpose of the newspapers. Using the baskets really helped to clarify the point of the exercise and I found it very interesting to see how the exercise changed due to the definitive shape of the baskets. I particularly enjoyed the group newspaper exercise. I found it much easier to work in ensemble in exploring the newspaper as you didn't feel like any one person was dominating or controlling it. This week's lesson really helped to clarify Improbable use of puppets in their performances and it has left me eager to begin our devised pieces next week.
Posted by Fran Smith
(5) Our Prepared Performance
When we presented our performances at the start of the lesson it was interesting to see the various outcomes of the different groups. Everything from a scene on a bus to a therapy session emerged as a result of the same exercises. Most groups seemed to have used the different qualities as their main inspiration. Our group had started by allocating different qualities to different characters and then simply choosing a location. Originally we chose a broken down lift as our starting point. From this we developed a storyline but the location we had chosen limited our movement and made the performance extremely static. For this reason we moved the location to a kitchen (the night after a busy night out). However our final performance actually used limited movement. We found that early on we were tempted to create a lot of movement, when in fact there was no real need for movement. The performance was just as if not more interesting when we internalised the different qualities. Another thing I noticed was that our performance seemed to change dramatically once we were performing to an audience. In rehearsals we had used far more dialogue whereas in the final performance this seemed un-natural and we left pauses, which brought out more tension than we had been experiencing in the rehearsals. I noticed in the feedback that the audience had seemed to enjoy the fact that we left a lot open for interpretation. There was one comment following another group’s performance that struck me. The group said that each rehearsal of their performance had been unique, i.e. they had found different comic moments emerging from each rehearsal. This interested me because of the way that our piece had changed in the actual performance. In their group one person had always acted as the audience for the group during rehearsals. In future this is something I would be interested in experimenting with. Having seen the freshness of their performance I would like to try rehearsing a performance with at least one person (perhaps who has a creative role) taking on the role of the audience.
Posted by Sylvie Barlow
The newspaper task definitely go easier with practise, but I still found it hard to acknowledge the audience. At one point I'd spent 10 minutes forming my puppet before I realised I didn't know what it looked like from the front, only from my direction. I also preferred the newspapers to the baskets.
Posted by Emma Berge
This week I was incredibly interested in my own response to the different exercises, and the variations on already attempted ones. It was particularly evident for me when I took part in the basket exercise, expecting to find it as difficult as I had the newspaper one the week before. However, this was far from what actually happened. Suddenly, the initial fear and reservations I had about having to make the newspaper into something else was gone, because the object was in front of me fully formed - all that had to happen was for it to gain a character. I found that this exercise was much more reassuring because you could relax into the exercise and enjoy it - there was less pressure to create something new and original. I have gotten a new surge of confidence from this exercise, and am consequently less scared about the final piece! If you can create something great out of four baskets, surely a piece around these themes cant be impossible!
Posted by Emma Fielding
Last week's class was quite strange to me. As I have been ill the week before that, working with newspaper was a completely new experience to me. To be honest, I find it hard to accept the idea that an object 'decides' how to move and that I am the one that 'only has to follow the material'. When I think of 'not dominating' an object there is no other way for me than to just drop it. Because HOW can I not dominate it?! An object is dead material, therefore it is me who has to do something with it. So I will always be dominating it just by touching or lifting it.
Posted by Mirjam Frank
(9) Blog for Week 5
This week’s lesson proved quite interesting for me, as we developed our work on puppetry into different varieties of mundane objects, as opposed to the use of just newspaper. On using the straw baskets instead, I found it much easier to work with the object and see it come to life. In the group’s post task discussion, I discovered this may be due to the fact that the basket already had a formed shape, therefore eliminating perhaps the most difficult part of the task in its transformation from object to being. Using the basket also felt as though the object was much more willing to cooperate with me as it was not vulnerable to a change in shape, therefore when joining together as one it was simply movement that required concentration while the baskets seemed to fit easily together.However, although this meant that a tendency to dominate the object became less likely, as it appeared more cooperative, a consideration of the elements seemed slightly sacrificed. This was, I felt, because as the object’s shape had been pre-determined, moving with the quality of moulding, for example, was much more difficult as the object wasn’t so malleable. It was, therefore, very important to compensate for this when dealing with the other elements, for example when dealing with the element of floating to consider both gravity and the polarities to maintain the object’s reality.In the lesson, we also experimented with size as the group attempted to make a puppet out of one giant piece of newspaper. This was intriguing as it appeared only to gain life when the number of puppeteers began to decrease, and its peak of life occurring when only three of the original ten puppeteers were left guiding the it.All in all, we learnt some very valuable concepts and ones which I personally am looking forward to taking into our group piece revolving around the stimulating theme of fear.
Posted by Laurence Brasted
(10) Blog for Week 5
(apologies for its lateness!)
In previous classes I had found working with newspaper to make puppets quite hard as I struggled to view the newspaper as an 'equal' on stage, and as an object or performer in its own right. Revisiting the work with newspaper on Monday's lesson at first seemed to me no different, and I still was very sceptical about it. However, as we began developing what we had learnt form the previous classes by using baskets and then a giant piece of newspaper I started to change my mind. Watching other class members use the baskets I was able to really see the puppets, or 'equal' performers, take shape and not focus on those behind the puppets making them move. I think not seeing the process that led up to the creation of the puppets helped as the baskets were already fully formed objects and so it was easier to accept their shape and use the imagination to view them as something other than baskets. I enjoyed the improvisation with baskets as it reminded me of children's TV shows when I was younger that often required imagination to turn everyday objects, such as newspapers or baskets, into performers or characters to tell a story. This brought to me the thought that having a 'childlike' mind and attitude towards this work is helpful as children constantly accept ideas and have an open mind towards offers, and this showed me that my skeptical mind was completely the wrong attitude to have in the class, so hopefully from now on as we begin to work on our final pieces this new attitude will help in the creation and development of the ideas we have as an ensemble.
Posted by Helen Hudson
(11) Creating a final piece
I have found that coming up with ideas for our group piece has been quite a difficult process. Because we have been studying Improbable it's hard not to completely copy all of their ideas and to try and make our piece original whilst sticking to the ideologies of Improbable. Although hard, it has also been quite fun working with my set group.
Posted by Louisa Hagan