Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Making music

David Roesner is a sparkling scholar and a highly talented musician. We both started at the University of Exeter, UK, at the same time in September 2005. When I left to join the faculty at UC Davis, David became Head of Department. We're both performance makers who enjoy the interlacing of the Academy and the Industry, while also understanding the complexities of validating and presenting our practical work in the academic environment. We have just been Skyping from US to UK, exchanging ideas about atmosphere, space, and the intricacies of storytelling through music. Working primarily from intuition, David already has some terrific ideas about the texturing of voices and sounds to create abstracted spaces. Last week, I recorded a very rough version of Tilly No-Body in the studio which I will now send David. He already has the script, but is keen to work from visuals, however basic those visuals may be at this stage, so that he can truly tune into the collaborative story-telling.

I started concentrated work on the basic contents for the script of Tilly No-Body in January - researching, archiving, translating, reading as many of Wedekind's plays as possible. Since March, I've been concentrating purely on the writing, but in so doing, I've been testing out the workability of the piece by 'enacting' it. This has involved a curious dialogue between my writer's/archivist's head and my acting body/voice. 'What feels right in the body? Which words lie naturally in the tongue?' While I'll outline more about the writing process in future 'Background' blogs, the key concept to note with 'practice-as-research' as an actor devising (I am finding) is that a particular dual consciousness is necessary in the studio/laboratory (I won't call it 'rehearsal room' yet, as my director Miles Anderson doesn't begin working with me until September). It requires gently easing from writer to actor, without the schizophrenia getting in the way of creative moments of 'aha'! So the DVD I'll be sending David has little concern for detailed staging or nuanced interpretation yet - it's all about the textual story-telling and the script at the moment. That said, the instant visuals arising from the text - while fairly primitive at the moment - will (we hope) prompt David's musical imagination in new ways from the written word.

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