Final reflections – part one


Image: Julian Hughes

Overall we received very positive responses about the final work-in-progress showing of The End at Lakeside Arts Centre. Here are some of the comments:

Frank Abbott, artist and filmmaker and my MA tutor at Nottingham Trent University, said the cards remained a device that was not always serving a function. He asked what we could do that only the cards could make us do. It was not always clear that we were reading from them so they did not seem functional as well as an aesthetic decision. He asked how we could push the device further. They all remain the same size. How could they be bigger? Like a flipchart. Or smaller? Like a deck of playing cards. (I say ‘Like this’ too much in the show.)

Typing this now I imagine a flip chart coming on when I am baiting Ollie. Shouting ‘Dance faster. Dance harder’ as the words are ripped from the flip chart. The scale suiting the anger. Or a pack of cards flying in from the wings as the bear is waiting for its entrance playing cards. Or cards falling out of our clothes when we change into the bear suit. Frank’s question as to how we break the homogeny of the text, the predictability of the functionality of the text is useful as we think about how the text could permeate the show?

Jon McGregor, a writer, wrote ‘Kill the father’ in his notes about the relationship between me and Ollie. He said our relationship seemed to be at the emotional and conceptual core of the piece. Interesting because in our early versions we were quoting The Doors’ The End line: ‘Father I want to kill you’ and we had developed an idea that I was a father figure to Ollie. A father that he eventually usurps. Matt Welton, a poet and lecturer at the University of Nottingham, liked the line ‘show you the ropes’ because there is something inherently patronising about this idea. We discussed whether it was from shipping or the theatre – showing you the ropes of the rig. I imagine a dialogue between me and OIlie:

Michael: I don’t know if you know this Ollie but the phrase ‘Show you the ropes’ comes from the theatre when people were working backstage

Ollie: Actually it’s a nautical term

Matt said he liked the repetition of the phrase ‘show you the ropes’ and found it had more potential than ‘I’m here to make you look good’ which seems more vain. It would be useful to look at what is repeated in the text and ask why. What value it adds to the direction of the piece. Rosie Garton, an artist and director, said actually now we have made the show we don’t need some of the voice of the process any more. e.g. ‘We’ve got to work out what we want to say and how we want to say it?’ etc. This also sounds a bit too similar to The Post Show Party Show to me. Jon and Matt both liked the projection into the future of the show, the tour, or after the show, the audience sleeping but me not sleeping.t

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