1) Final Performance
I am finding the preparation for our performance a very different experience to the previous sessions we have had on Improbable. Now that we have the knowledge and are simply applying it in smaller groups, and in ways that work particularly for us, I am finding that there is plenty of material being produced. I was slightly apprehensive that there would be some difficulties in creating 10 minutes worth of interesting performance, but now I see that if we keep working the way we are we will be fine! Our group has developed a very playful attitude to working - but this seems to work well for us. We found that we were most productive when we just played around with different ideas, and just let things emerge. I am looking forward to our other rehearsal time to see where this goes next.
Posted by Emma Fielding
2) Meeting and Blog
We met again before the lesson on Monday and were quite productive. We refined our circus idea more, discussed the possibilities of light and shadow, how we could use our objects, possibilities of costume, timing, opportunities to meet, effective use of the space, and came up with the following questions to ask in the lesson: 1. What were the lighting facilities we could use? 2. How much time did we have for set construct/destruct/practise in the space on the day?3. How close to 20 minutes do the group have to be (e.g. give or take a minute?) (We never asked the third question because I forgot. How flexible is the 20 minutes?)
Sadly, a lot of the ideas we came up with in the hour and a half can be used because of the lighting problems.
It's very difficult trying to come up with a devised piece when not in the space, as we found this week when told about the skylight. Also we found that games, whilst fun and amusing, can often just lead to procrastination rather than something productive. Our most productive moments came through a mixture of discussion, improvisation and refinement
Posted by Emma Berge
Comment: Games can never lead to procrastination of played with commitment and enjoyment. It's one of the most productive and energy-inducing ways to start a work process. Almost all of professional devising companies start their process with games, including Improbable, Complicite, among many others. If you have read any of the books I mentioned on Devising, or if you even read that photocopied section I handed to you last week, you would've realized this.
Actually, all of the reading material you've been reading this term, and all of the work and discussions we did since week 1 highlight this notion repeatedly!
So I am surprised at this conclusion: that games lead to procrastination!
Next time you rehearse, you MUST start with games.... be more focused and committed and you'll be surprised at how much you will produce. Nesreen
I felt our first lesson in our groups went well. Despite becoming aware of limitations that meant our original concept would be difficult; we managed to explore many other aspects to do with fear. We began by 'playing' and invented our own devising game using a circus style. We then continued to play around with the objects as well as writing up all of our groups fears, whether they were irrational or serious. This then gave us the idea to each tell a story of a time in our lives when we were most scared. From doing this we discovered that while we each told our story, the rest of the group found it easy to feel how that person felt in their story. This has now given us the idea to adopt a storytelling style and to possibly take one story, or aspects of a few stories and tell it to the audience, in hope of making them feel the same kind of fear that the person who experienced it had.
Posted by Emma Bilton
4) Blog (21/11/07)
We just had another meeting and it was quite productive. We still centred our ideas around a circus theme but decided, after telling our own fear stories on Monday, to bring in aspects of life game into our piece. So In a circus ring one member of the cast tells the story while the circus acts out the tale. So far so good.
Posted by Fiona Allison
This week's lesson and meeting, all and all was successful. The class began slow, we were stuck as all out previous ideas were thrown out the window due to the restrictions due to light in the boiler house. After a while of deliberating and brainstorming, we thought of the idea of momentarily blindfolding the audiences, creating darkness. However, as Nesreen interjected and reminded us that having that close contact with the audience is not very 'Improbable' we realised that blindfolding would be taking it too far, and Nesreen really helped us and prevented us from wandering off in the wrong direction. I think our group really came together when we began to voice out our personal fears to one another. It was amazing seeing everyone being so honest and at their purest most vulnerable state. Many others stories really touched me, and i found myself being scared for them!
-We decided that this feeling and honesty was something we wanted to use in our final performance as it seems very effective.
Posted by Ailee Kemeny
First 'proper' rehearsal on our final project!
I found it exciting and really good fun. As we have the idea of performing some sort of nightmares, we started off picking some scary moments out of the lot we've collected before. We then where trying to improvise on these ideas, using newspapers and various props. For the first hour or so we thought it might be good having a concrete starting point. However, after a while we found out that we were over-discussing things and not really getting anywhere. At least not in the Improbable way of devising and having it always kind of unfinished. Hence, we had a total 'flipping out' moment where all of us were just a wee bit over the top and not really productive... The surprising thing was that out of this pretty low moment we suddenly developed quite good concepts and created a first version of a) Emily giving birth to a bug and b) Louisa freaking out about facing an over sized bug. Astonishing, how things can emerge at points where you think everything is! I hope we can built on that when we meet again tomorrow.
Posted by Mirjam Frank
7) Blocking and Allowing Creativity
This week in our group rehearsal, the concept which struck me the most was Improbable's idea of devising through play and exploration. At first, our group began devising the first scan and found it difficult to have inspiration. However, we then decided to use Improbable's idea and spent ten minutes playing around with newspaper and our original idea of nightmare. From this we soon created two scenes which, although very rough, were effective and entertaining. This therefore proved that once we relax and remove the pressure of creativity, creativity is much easier to obtain. We have continued our rehearsals this manner and are very much enjoying them.
Posted by Fran Smith
8) Week 8 blog
I found Monday's lesson very productive as we were able to work well as an ensemble. At first it was difficult to get started as we were discussing the ideas too much, rather than focusing on the improvising and playing around with ideas. Therefore, after playing some games in order to warm-up and focus we decided to 'play' with newspaper and come up with two movement sequences that related to our fears. This worked really well as it was much better to let creative ideas flow rather than plan what we were going to do. Since Monday's lesson we met up on Thursday and discussed some more ideas that we had as well as played some games, which also gave us inspiration for our next rehearsal.
Posted by Charlotte Harvey
9) Final Performance Rehearsals
This week has definitely been more productive for our group and we have now begun a more focused devising process. Our previous ideas of blindfolding the audience did not reflect the style of Improbable and created an all-too easy reaction. Instead we have now developed some interesting ways to convey our personal fears in the hope that the audience can relate to our own individual experiences. We began our session with a game of freeze tag. This managed to get all of us warmed up and it also helped us develop a relaxed and improvised narrative theme to our work. This then led on to us incorporating the style of the Improbable production 'Lifegame' into our work, which I really enjoyed. It seems that on the whole our work is now coming together and starting to become much more open, productive and creative which I am very pleased about.
Posted by Faith Brandon-Blatch
I believe this week's work has been very productive, actually having a chance to work like Improbable in a relaxed, playful way was very exciting but also scary at the same time. Our playfulness helped us to form a basis for two scenes which I was really impressed with, although they obviously need polishing somewhat. We also rehearsed on Thursday morning although this session was mainly play, and putting all one's trust in play is quite a daunting experience, it has helped us to ceate a very deep sense of ensemble within our group, and i'm thoroughly enjoying working with our group. I look forward to Monday and to all our future rehearsals to see how our piece begins to take shape.
Posted by Eleanor Rhodes
our first week of rehearsal brought some interesting ideas. we discussed the theme of fear and what it meant to each of us. We came up with the idea of taking one of every one's fears and working dramatising them. We found that a creative way to work was through play, as Improbable themselves do to begin the process. Simply playing around with two of the ensemble's fears and trying to show them with paper created some interesting and even intense ideas. We played around with the newspaper, looking at different ways it could be used to demonstrate the fear of bugs and the fear of pregnancy and although what we created was rough around the edges, some effective imagery began to appear.
Posted by Emily Cookson
12) Improbable Blog
I think that my group have now reached the stage where we are more familiar with each other. My group had initially come up with a lot of ideas about what we wanted to do in our performance. However many of these ideas were not practical. For instance it would not be possible to have a blackout in the boiler house. Some of our ideas contradicted with how ‘Improbable’ work. This meant that we were faced with the task of re-thinking and experimenting with games. There was some reluctance at first to use games as a means of creating drama but at our last rehearsal we successfully used games. We used the improvisation game. This involved creating a scene, although at any point someone could freeze the scene and replace one of the actors to create a new scene. The longer we played the game the more obscure yet amusing the scenes seemed to become. The game fits in well with how our performance seems to be developing. We have used ‘Life Game’ as one of our main influences. We have used acting alongside someone sharing an experience (in our case fears) in a similar way. This means that that the actors are constantly listening to the narration and have to be able to change what they are doing in response to what they are hearing.
Posted by Sylvie Barlow
13) Weekly Blog
Monday's lesson proved very productive for our group as it was the first time we had been able to use a proper rehearsal space to fuel ideas. At first we had difficulty in culminating performance tehniques as we were determined to work from an end product and manipulate our work into our pre-distinguished conclusion. However, this was a great learning curve for us as we realised this was not how Improbable undertake their work. We began playing games and relaxing more within what we were doing, losing the anxiousness of obtaining something interesting and useful. We then found it was much easier to divide into even smaller groups of about five, as these could be chopped and changed and was therefore still identifiable as ensemble work. We took our basic ideas and personal experiences of members of the group, for example fear of insects; death; giving birth etc. and were able to form a structure from what we created out of them. Perhaps our most intriguing scenes came from the unique use of newspaper (a classic Improbable technique) in the "giving birth scene;" and the "human bug scene" whereby we created our own sound effects, and saw the tiny fly grow and develop into a human sized mutant.
Posted by Laurence Brasted
14) Development for Final Piece
This previous week has been exciting and productive and has helped my understanding of improbabale through pratice using their style. I found that our group really benifited through 'playful' improvisations. The creative ideas seemed to flow more as we all became more relax and not worried about saying the first idea that propped into our head. Hopefully this playful style can become part of our final production and the energy and developing ideas can be continued through relevant games and exercises.
Posted by Olivia Pointing
Monday's lesson was really exciting as we had our first practical rehearsal as a group. This was useful as we were able to put all the ideas we had gathered from our discussions and thought showers previously into action. We started by playing a game which raised the focus and energy of the group. We began to work by marking a possible beginning to the piece, however, we felt that this became too static and repetative and wasnt really developing. So we then decided to go back to game playing. This lead us into playing with the fears we had discussed and playing with newspapers and props as toys. This brought a much more cheerful and positive mood back to the devising process and we found that we came up with more material and ideas in the 10 minutes of playing, than we had in the first half an hour of 'marking through' a choreographed routine. During our extra session this week when we met up we continued along these lines and played many games around our stimulous and theme of fear and hopefully this playful attitude will bring authenticity to our performance, much like Improbable who often use playing as a devising tool.
Posted by Helen Hudson
After spending time in the lesson on Monday I found that the games played by Improbable really do help when trying to devise. Instead of sitting down and forcing a scene or a piece we were able to play impro games which then developed into short scenes. This worked because there was not one individual in the group controlling the action and everyone was involved.
Posted by Louisa Hagan