by Kat Joyce
Co-Artistic Director Tangled Feet
So One Million is the largest-scale show Tangled Feet have ever attempted, and also one of the most logistically challenging. Whilst it’s extremely exciting, there are also a lot of challenges, including how to make the most of our limited rehearsal time. Tangled Feet’s normal methodology is to build lots of time for discovery through physical improvisation and play, but at a project this size, the enormous cost of large rehearsal spaces means that we have to keep playtime as keenly focused as possible.
We have been adapting our normal method a little bit and building outlines and storyboards prior to rehearsal so that we know the story arc and know much more what we are trying to find in our limited rehearsal time.
The Research and Development (R&D) week this week at Hangar Arts in Woolwich was mainly focused around testing some ideas for large-scale structures and set elements, and trying out some aerial solutions which might have a role in the show. Alongside this it gave us an opportunity to start exploring the sound world which Guy and Nick have been putting together, trying their music pieces out with various improvisations and learning where the gaps are still to be filled. We’ve also had a day with Anthony, our spoken word artist testing out some of his initial material and devising physical responses to it, and we’ve had an opportunity for Johnny, our lighting designer, to come in and really get a feel for what we are making and start to propose some ideas (as well as alert us to some technical challenges.) Rhys our designer has been with us all week refining the models and seeing how things work in real size and with people running up and down the structures.
For the actors it’s been a week of digging in to the emotional material of the show, exploring the trajectories of our protagonists and finding ways to physically articulate the struggles and challenges they face. This also involves – especially where new and untested structures are concerned – a great deal of bravery, muscle power and physical intelligence. Keeping everyone safe at height and when performers and often counterbalancing each other, when structures are moving, tilting, rising, falling and turning, AND at the same time using the creative/imaginative side of the brain is challenging. We are lucky to be blessed with performers who care for and trust each other, and who are courageous and who won’t let a few bruises stand in the way of innovation.
The next time we see each other will be in rehearsals proper in just over a month, when we will have 12 days indoor rehearsal to properly create the show….Nathan and I feel very inspired and filled by the ideas that have come out of this week, now the challenge is to try to knit them together into a more cohesive show outline.