November 15th- Rehearsing for Roehampton

Jennifer and I rehearse together at the Siobhan Davies Studios.  No music, no videos to consult, and no shoes in the quiet and spacious rooftop studio, just ourselves.  Would be an interesting space in which to present the piece.  On Wednesday Jennifer had done two presentations on the project as part of Surrey University Research Week, and felt energised by the positive response to it from students interested in the ideas.  Someone had commented that what we are doing is “radical” -– that felt good!

Once again we started by recapping our signature phrases; as Jennifer said no-one is going to know if you go wrong, but it feels necessary to really internalise the material in order to be free in improvising from it, and not to worry about remembering it.  We did useful work on the Sleeping Beauties section, rethinking how to say things, even swapping some lines, so that the speaking arises more naturally from what we are doing (a response to a comment that the movement supported the speaking and helped to make sense of it). In general clarifying the thinking really helps;– our fragmentation of the waltz phrase (when the Les Sylphides corps de ballet does balancés forward and back and a gentle grand jeté forward in a languorous line) now seems both more natural and a reflection and analysis of it.  Some hard work on the Pulse phrase, which doesn’’t seem to get any easier; following viewing I want to make mine faster and lighter if I can.   Have I been too ambitious with this phrase?  Is the effect worth the difficulty?

We also discuss the spatial arrangement –given that the forthcoming performance at Roehampton will be in proscenium arch layout, without audience on three sides as before.  We provisionally decide to change the upstage location of the musicians from centre stage to across one corner.  This creates a potentially strong diagonal which we will need to take into account in the orientation of some sections.  This will depend on what lighting we have; so no point making hard and fast decisions till our technical session on Sunday in the Michaelis Theatre space.  This work needs to remain open and flexible. We try the opening numbers with all this in mind, going through to the end of Sleeping Beauties;– encouragingly it all feels better, more sure…