Changing Cycles

An ongoing project exploring the use of the arts as a form of action to ensure the sustainability of the planet. and stuff.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Show shots

Here's a few of the beautiful shots taken for me by my lovely (and talented) friend Elise McCave. Cheers Elise x

What they said...

Below are some of the comments, good and bad, that people made about the show... I won't add anything to the positive things that people said (neither vanity nor false modesty are particularly becoming qualities) but I may try to answer some of the criticisms...

"Excellent show - thought provoking - great simple theatrical ideas - the show generating itself is great!"

"I would like to see you take the "content" much further. I'm already angry/frustrated with corportate power. Did you meet people taking action? Positive examples??"

(In writing this show I had to try and address a wide spectrum of people. Because of the nature of it I knew there'd be people coming who were already well versed in environmental issues, but it was also my intention to challenge people who hadn't thought much about these things to do so. It's always going to be difficult to satisfy everyone, but of course I met people taking action - they were the people who really inspired the show to go in the direction it did. That said, I'm still quite a wetback when it comes to activism so my characters may have seemed caricatured to those who've been involved for a long time but they'll develop with time. I'm sorry this person found them negative though. You tend to end up loving your characters for their follies as much as their virtues, but I suppose not everyone sees them like that...)

"The humour throughout was not only useful in carrying through from scene to scene but had the very essence of the subject underlined"

"Makes me want to get my bike out and get on the road. Well entertaining!"

"I...feel that the anti-corporation message was repeated too often - it's an easy target & the message loses currency quickly & detracts from the piece as a whole"
(Hmm, not sure about this one. On the one hand I don't think you can repeat the anti-corporate message enough as they do run (and are destroying) the world at the moment, if they're such an easy target then why haven't they been picked off yet? On the other hand I guess if the message is losing currency then you have to find a new angle to come at it, and maybe a more difficult target are the millions of us who consume products we don't really need and keep those corporations alive... Anyway, this is all stuff for my next phase of research, but good to be thinking about now)

"Fantastic! Really enjoyed it. Ben has so much energy & a really innovative way of putting the message out."

"I just can't absolutely agree with the ironic end because I think saving water and energy is the first step to protect the environment and its sources"

(This is in response to the piss-take 'government advice' I gave at the end of the show, such as listing a load of measures to save water and then undercutting it with something like 'water is privatised, so the more you save the more can be sold back to you at a profit, thereby boosting the economy'. I did this partly because I couldn't have included all that information without making it funny, but mostly because yes, we should all do those things to save energy, water, reduce emissions etc but we should also be aware of the wider issues governing where those resources come from, where they go to and who's in control of them...)

"I thought it was a really great performance - dynamic and innovative. It made me consider different points of view"

"I thought the middle-class woman was over-stereotyped and didn't really make me think. I knew what was going to happen"

(Fair enough! I think all the characters could do with shading and detail at the moment, that's why its a work in progress, and why comments like these are useful. And it was the first time I've played a woman!)

If you've got any comments to add to any of those, or a new one to make, on the show or anything else, please feel free. I'm going to be using this blog to discuss the issues I tackled in the show over the coming months as I have a break and think about where to take it next so drop by regularly (and I will be posting a bit more consistently from now on...) and join in the discussion...

All Over... (for now)

So the show has been and gone, and hardly any of the process made its way onto this blog as I'd intended. That was largely due to the fact that it took me so long to get down to the writing that before I did I felt guilty for blogging as any keyboard tapping should have been directed at my script, and once I did start writing, which took me right up to the week of the show, there just wasn't any time left...

But despite my eleventh hour panicking and general insecurities, it all came together in the end, and was pretty well recieved. I still have a lot of work to do on it of course, but for a first showing it was ok. I'm going to have to think about how much more I write though, it's already running at about 45 minutes, and that's with less than half the characters I'd intended to create. The key really is to develop my narrator character, Tali, as all the other characters come from him.

For those who weren't lucky enough to see the show, or be bored by me about it beforehand, Tali is a trickster character who is immortal, but must survive from mortal food. When he wakes up after centuries of sleep and tries to feed himself, he realises the massive unsustainability of global food production and sets off on a mission (by bicycle of course!) to make humans act sustainably, so he can ensure that he will be fed forever.

On his journey (so far) he steps into and influences the lives of Linda - a middle aged, middle class, middle-Englander who gets involved in a tree protest to stop a supermarket being built, (with dramatic consequences for her marriage); Jim - a recently elected councillor from a certain far-right political party trying to convince his local community of his green credentials; and Dan - an unhinged veteran activist who abandons peaceful protest and takes violent action against a childhood hero.

These were characters who I'd imagined before Tali came about so in a way they've had to be fitted into his story, or rather his story had to be fitted around them, when really I want to send him to put a spanner in the works of the dominant institution of our time, the corporation. But I've a lot more research to do before that... (Didn't really visit any corporations on my bike ride)

Technically we managed to control all the lights for the show from a dynamo on the bike. This gave a signal to an analogue dimmer which meant the harder you pedalled, the brighter the lights were. Which tended to vary according to which audience member was pedalling at the time... Well, I couldn't have done the whole show on the bike could I? The power was meant to be provided by a solar generation unit, but unfortunately they sent us a faulty inverter so we had to rely on the mains in the end. Still, the system is in place for whenever the show gets its next airing...

I'll post some photos in a minute (when I remember how!), and some of the written feedback I got from audience members. Thanks to everyone who came to see the show, and for those who didn't, well, you'll just have to come and see the more finished version sometime next year...
Peace out x