The highlight of the week was having the dramaturg, Lou Cope, in the studio with us on Wednesday. Lou and I have been in discussion about The Princess Alice for several months now and she has been helping me structure the narrative and direction the work will take. Wednesday was the first time Lou had seen any studio research live. It was great to have her in the space and to hear her feedback.
Prior to Lou’s visit, we spent Monday and Tuesday working on the second half of the structure so that we had a rough sketch of each section to show Lou on Wednesday. Lou offered her thoughts and feedback on each section, which was really insightful. Not only does this feedback offer a glimpse into how an audience may perceive the work, but it also encourages myself and the dancers to think about the overall impact the work is having rather than focusing on one section at a time. Lou also made us aware of the dynamic ‘flow’ of the work and the journey the audience is being taken on. She was able to point out places where the audience might not be able to follow the action and why this might be. As a choreographer, it is easy to get so involved in what you are making that it become difficult to notice these dynamic shifts; when you have spent a lot of time working on a section, it is easy to assume that everyone who watches it will understand it.
The second half of the work involves text which Lou was able to advise on. This text is an important element in the audiences understanding of what happened, therefore it is important that this is framed appropriately. Through exploring this section with Lou, we found that a minimal approach was best in terms of movement. Originally the dancers were moving whilst talking. Lou pointed out that, although the movement is interesting, it applies meaning to the text which may not be exactly what we want the audience to understand, particularly when the text is detailed or emotive. We began to experiment with a more minimal choreographic language, which we will continue to explore next week.
Exhausting and exhilarating, working with Lou on Wednesday certainly made me clarify the work I am currently researching. She encouraged me to see the bigger picture whilst also suggesting areas for further research. As this is the first time I have worked with a narrative structure, Lou’s input is extremely valuable.
Next Wednesday we will be presenting our work in progress at a sharing. This is a great opportunity for myself and the creative team to present our work and receive feedback. Personally, I am nervous to be sharing the work; after so much planning, I can’t quite believe that the time has come to share the research and development!
Keep an eye on social media throughout the week to find out how we are preparing for the first sharing!