Monday, November 17, 2008

Blackout tour - day one

I never write freestyle but here we go - only have a few notes scribbled down from today, which was eventful, and also day one of five! Keira, James, Fraser, Scott and I all met at eight fifteen and then headed round to the Gorbals leisure centre where Davey picked us up in the mini van (luv it) and then we set off for Whitehill Secondary, stopping for bottles of water en route but still arriving early. So we did a quick line run in the van and counted up to ten but not at the same time as a focussing exercise, and then we headed in. Really loved the venue we had at Whitehill but it didn't completely work for us and although we adapted to the staging, we weren't a hundred per cent about it and it would go on to throw us slightly when we went back to our usual set up this afternoon - but we'll get to that!

The second years were a tough audience but it's good to know how it feels - I just remembered when I was in second year my year weren't the most supportive of plays that came to our school, one in particular performed by just the one actor - this morning was rough at the time but gave us the opportunity to adjust which was good, whereas if we'd had a really good first show the second one might have been a disaster because we might have been so confident we wouldn't have known how to deal with it. But that's all worst case scenario - the main problem we seemed to have at Whitehill was that we lost pretty much all the dialogue in the fight scene, because of the laughter. Actually we got a lot of laughs this morning but maybe not for all the right reasons. We had mixed reactions to the discussion afterwards - some of the kids had valid points to offer but they almost seemed restrained by the teachers which was interesting, and even more so was the way they performed their answers to their peers, as though they didn't care what they were saying as long as it sounded cool. I guess that's just second years, and don't get me wrong, they weren't all like that.

We had a chance to discuss the performance for ourselves once all the kids had left, and again over a bite of lunch at The Bridge. Then it was on to Lochend Community High School, where we received a very warm welcome from pupils and staff alike - the atmosphere was definitely more relaxed, as was the venue itself. We performed to third and fourth years, but not only did other pupils and members of staff watch from the balcony, but loads of other pupils approached us as we set up to ask what we were doing and if they could watch our play too! So all in all the response we got from Lochend was better, although the acoustics weren't that good, in that the 'stamps' weren't clearly audible and even when we projected I'm not convinced they heard everything we said, although they probably did as they seemed to get the play ok which we heard during the discussion - also good. It was interesting at that point to also note how none of the teachers wanted to answer when we asked them for their opinions, and when one teacher finally did answer, he immediately passed the buck to guidance! My one big crisis during this afternoon's performance - apart from my voice breaking up (projection's a bit shabby, really ;]) - was that my belt snapped, and I was trying to fix it discreetly while trying to stay focussed and make sure no one noticed. I suppose a big part of theatre is having to deal with whatever's thrown at you and there's no better way to discover that than by doing a schools tour. It's really interesting , comparing schools and year groups as we go, and we'll obviously have plenty of opportunity for that this week - we're spoiled for choice. "He looks at you like you're a pure thug or something" has got a laugh both times so far, and I don't understand why ! It'll be great to see how much longer that goes on for - as for tomorrow, bring it on.

I will have more news from the tour very soon.
C x

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