Image Paul Trask
Phew, what a rollercoaster of a week getting our first performances of the Inspired tour under our belts. Last week saw us swap roles with Gary on the travelling front as we ventured from our base in Abertillery down to Laban Theatre, London for opening night.
We had the luxury of 2 days to prepare, with a studio assigned to us at first while technical preparations got underway in the Bonnie Bird Theatre. The stage space at Laban is amazing to dance in – there is so much room which means movement material can really be stretched to its full potential in order to eat up the space.
For Missing Pages here, we used a gauze for the first section so there was a dream-like, distant impression for the audience and equally for us there was this sensation of separation from the audience – certainly tying in with some of our ideas from the creation period of sitting in a train carriage with the world passing by outside the window and being lost in your own world. Sometimes when you first create and perform a piece it can feel like a memory test going through the motions to get from start to finish, however, Missing Pages has developed far beyond this stage already for me and I was able to garner a real sense of enjoyment and find a new sense of sincerity in bringing it up to performance level.
In terms of Axiom Tangent, the lighting is really integral to marry up with the movement material in order to create a cohesive whole and this certainly took some getting used to at Laban. Also when you are in the space trying to work the lights, there is a very different sensation as a performer to what comes across to the audience – it has been really useful to see video clips as to the effect being created from the front. (If you haven’t already checked them out, there are few snippets of Axiom online so go, go, go!) What is really striking though is that despite working mainly with Mike in both pieces there is an incredible difference and so going into Axiom our partnership feels very fresh even after performing Missing Pages together.
Tuesday saw our first Welsh performance date at Coleg Morgannwg and with one day to get in and perform it is so important for us to arrive with our Ffin heads firmly in place! Mark Read, our production manager, had a lot of work to do in converting the space ready for us to perform and we needed to recalibrate in order to figure out adaptations in spacing – so it was all systems go from the offset. Certainly this was a much more intimate space to perform in and the proximity of the audience was obvious. One of the most interesting challenges was having to negotiate the fluorescent lighting strips which hung down in the space for Axiom, spatial awareness was definitely a must to weave in and out of them even at my measly height! Adding a bit of drama to the evening, the fire alarms were set off by the haze (thankfully during the interval) so the building had to be evacuated while a fire engine and crew arrived.
Next off we’re venturing up to Holyhead today, leading workshops to create a curtain-raiser for our performance at Ucheldre. Oh and I’m definitely going to remember to pack my hairspray this time!!