Then Again - Week Two

If you're not having fun, you're not doing it properly.

If you're not having fun, you're not doing it properly.

Day 1 - Playing with Language and Music

Today we played around with all the Scrap Store stuff Ruby brought in last week. We used it to describe a couple of science concepts. This was to explore the language of Millie's YouTube videos in the show. 

In the afternoon we explored some more of the musical elements of the show. We made a 'jargon maker' which was a list of interesting science words that we found in the multiple copies of the New Scientist we have in the rehearsal room. We turned phrases like 'Quantum Entanglement' and 'Dark Matter' into improvised lyrics in a science themed love song. Here are a few lines from our improvisation that we may feed into a song at a later date:

Sometimes I can feel your frustrations but baby there just our quantum fluctuations
And on my date with you, together we eat a Pi. Thats, three point one four one five nine two six five. 
Oh you make me fall a-particle.

These lyrics aren't exactly Dylan but either way, it's good to build up an archive of musical recordings throughout the process so you have lots of material to draw from at a later date. These may become the nugget of a new idea that does eventually make it into the show.

Day 2 - Time Travel Sequences

Bea, Alice, Hannah, Emma and Lily

Bea, Alice, Hannah, Emma and Lily

Today Bea was back in the room so we're back to work building the outline of the show. One scene that we've been playing around with for a while is made up of a series of moments from history. We've started to refer to it as 'The Bender' because our protagonist, Millie, will be abusing her time machine and going on a wild ride through history. We've been playing a game to generate ideas in which anyone can call out a historical event and someone jumps into the circle to create the start of a short scene. Someone else then enters as a time traveler to either make the event happen in the first place or stop it from happening. We'd generated lots of ideas for the sequence and today we set them in place and worked out a logical, as well as funny, order for the scenes.

After rehearsals Hal came back to mine and we had a jam with Sam Valentine. We explored some musical styles and opened up the possibilities for what the music could be. The main outcome of the jam was me an Hal writing a song, using some flamenco chords Hannah had shared with us on Monday, about the frustration and fascination of sharing a house with multiple copies of yourself.

Day 3 - Speeding up the creativity.

A new method for making scenes quickly was proposed by Hannah, to help shorten the time at the start of the creative tasks. Rather than launch into a large discussion about how to stage a scene, we're going to give one person the responsibility of writing out a plan and then leading the whole group for that scene or moment. This new approach allowed us to stage another flurry of scenes we'd wanted to make from the Scene Archive.

Now we have a clearer outline of the whole show, Bea made us a neater and more useful scene outline. It has colour codes for the type of scene. Whether it's music led or movement led, whether it's a two hander or a big group scene. This has become our way of visualising the whole story.

In the afternoon James D Kent came into rehearsals to explore projection with us. After talking him through the story, using the new timeline, and explaining what we wanted to achieve, we tried out some different approaches to projection. It could be used as a time travel special effect, it could be used as a way of instantly creating location but in the end our main conclusions is that it at odds with our story telling 'Poor Theatre' style. At the moment it doesn't feel like we're going to have any projection in the show but it's not completely off the table because there were some things we really liked about it.

Day 4 - Music and problem solving

Lily, Hannah, Alice and Hal singing in music corner

Lily, Hannah, Alice and Hal singing in music corner

Hal made some more great music today, including a musical round that each duplicate can sing on top of each other and the layers make a pleasing harmony. This could be used as underscoring for a piece of movement. Possibly during the duplicate montage at the end of act two to make it feel more frantic.

Today we also worked on the pub scene in which we meet Edgar's other friends. This was useful to expand the world of the play and explore who Edgar is. We need his character to be as well rounded as Millie's. The function of the pub scene is also to highlight Millie's insecurities so each of the pub characters will make her feel uncomfortable in different ways.

Day 5 - All the scenes in place.

Today is the last day we have with Bea for a while. She's not in next week so we want to make sure we’ve got all the scenes and story beats planned out for the show. The first task is to get our heads around the way Millie interacts with the duplicates in act two. When talking about time travel we often get too bogged down in diagrams and working out the logic of the world. The conclusion we've come to with this show is, if the scene is fun or the moment happens as part of a song or movement sequence then we're willing to let the strict time travel rules slide for the benefit of the story.

There is another key aspect to the show we wanted to explore with Bea in the room. The music. Alice and Lily made a great song that was very musical theatre influenced, which we're putting in the music archive to be adapted and tweaked later. Hal and Hannah wrote a song using the idea of hocketing. That is the singing technique that we heard about through Verity Standen where a group of singers share the syllables of a word. We've been interested in this idea for the last week because it could be a way of hiding meaning in the music that can be revealed later on. At the end of the day everyone learnt the new song.

After rehearsals me and Ruby had a design meeting where we talked about the options for set and costume. Things like whether we need a base costume for everyone so they can be anonymous and how to do the duplicates. Next week we'll have more to share about design. No concrete decisions will be made without conferring with the whole cast. Thats the way I like to work so everyone feels a shared ownership of the show.