Friday 28 June 2019
The day began with 30 mins of near silent observation on Victoria Road. Dylan set us the task to only talk if we were spoken to, to enter 1 shop and only check our phones for the time. It was a beautiful sunny day and I focused observations in the park, it was very enjoyable. It took about 4 minutes of sitting alone on a bench for someone to strike up a conversation with me. He was a friendly seeming man with a curious dog. We talked about the rubbish and how bad it was, but that it did feel as though people enjoying the previous sunny day in the park had at least tried to clear up after themselves, it was really the bins that were insufficient.
I went into an electrical goods shop and I thought I was alone as I wandered around alleyways of stacked white goods. At the end of one alleyway sat a staff member, she stayed seated throughout our conversation and gave me complex directions to a dishwasher I was interested in seeing. ‘Only scratch and dent… that means good as new, just not in the packaging, scratch and dent.’
In the window of a clothes alterations specialist, I enjoyed examining two, light blue, bejewelled, party dresses, with tutu skirts which I would have punched someone for when I was 7 years old A woman entered the shop and talked to the staff about mistakes that had been made with her benefits and how hard she was finding it to contact them, she said she was in trouble, she really didn’t know what she was going to do, they were b******* she said. I have directly heard many stories like this, she was distressed and she didn’t know I was there, It was a private conversation so I moved on.
We then took 10 minutes in the flat to write up everything we could remember of the silent observation. We used this raw material in a session Led by Dylan in the SURGE Space choosing six images or actions which we had observed and two images or actions of ourselves observing something specific. We set to work individually recreating and representing theses actions. I chose to show the blue dresses and feeling mesmerised, by the detail of the sparkling stone work; a young person, cross legged in the sun, on the hill in Victoria park and a selection of pedestrians also in the Park. I enjoyed the task of stringing them into a mimed sequence. We taught each other our sequences and worked them together into a longer chorus piece.
Dylan – smoking man, enjoying the sun as he crossed the street, a person, crossed legs biting their nails in citizen’s advice, a person attempting to pull up a grill, some one said “have you got a hammer or a chisel or something”
Paula – person placing a basket of fruit on stall in amongst other fruit outside a grocers, twisting the basket and moving a peach, an ambulance passing and being effected by the sound, a woman walking with high-heels, pigeons.
Vale – a man with a cigarette in his relaxed hand passing saying, ‘hiya, you enjoying yourself?’ a woman with a t-shirt reading Ciao Bella in large letters, children on their way to school, an old lady attempting to cross a busy street, un -able to see the traffic light and a waitress with her back to us, her image was silhouetted against a window, it was very beautiful.
Paula had less time to run the session she had prepared so we worked fast to create a physical scene representing/recreating a moment we had observed. I chose a conversation with M in had outside a café, Dylan used a large Perspex frame to good effect to create a bus stop with a child lying across the bench kicking their legs. Paula created a character with a large coat and hood up with many bags, the character appeared and disappeared behind pillars and objects, Valentina shared a hair cutting motif and a woman entering her car readying her self to start the engine and then having 2nd thoughts before taking a breath alone.
After lunch we played with the names of the shops on Victoria road. First we embodied the sounds, a Lecoq exercise, we then improvised using the shop names we had chosen to create interesting harmonies and rhythms.
The audience arrived at 4 and we were happy to see 7 guests had turned up. Giulia set the lights and we introduced the project, it felt like an event. We began with a free game of Charades depicting places on Victoria Road, we led this activity but were happy that one of the audience members also felt comfortable and brave enough to offer her own. It was children playing ‘bike chicken’ in Queen’s Park.
At an invisible cue the company all moved on to the performance area and began the more formal part of the sharing.
After the sharing the audience remarked that we had captured Victoria Road, it felt alive, they could see it. People commented that we morphed between places and characters very fluidly and that it was beautiful to watch. We were given advice to be wary of caricatures when representing those we would be showing it back to and one audience member responded to our question about what characters might fit into a street performance like the one we were building, she mentioned pigeons as the watchers of the street, observers, pariahs, underdog, those who can mimic, who are ever present. We are pigeons.