Almost there… almost… yeah.

I am in a pre-show state of disrepair. Everything is broken. I am broken. Yesterday my very expensive and eternally* useful camera wouldn’t turn on. My headphones are held together with araldite and sellotape. My laptop is doing something strange with sound that is horrendously worrying seeing as we are planning to operate the show from it on Friday. I have a blister on my left foot that is making it difficult to walk. As soon as the sun came out an arm fell of my sunglasses. I need a hair cut. I need to clear up the desktop of my computer so I can actually see the things I’m meant to be working on. I need to sort out all of these things but I just. Don’t. Have. Time.

They will have to wait.

Almost there.

Four days.

Breathe.

 

*HA!

23rd of April 2013 and 2012

Today is the 23rd of April 2013. Today we have finalised all of the texts in the show, which was the last thing that we didn’t quite know about. Today we bought a pilot’s hat from a vintage shop in Brighton, ate lunch in the sun in the Pavillion gardens, drank beer in the theatre at night, and are about to go to Adrian’s house for some sleep. Today, quite by chance, when looking for an old version of the Karaoke text, I stumbled upon the only page of notes that I have ever typed up from this whole process. They are dated 23rd April 2012, and so it seems appropriate to share them:

Rehearsal 23rd of April

  • Warm up – the Art of Volcanoes dance: Presidents of the USA, Volcano
  • Volcano tours of Falmouth and the performance centre
    • Pendennis point
    • Underground
    • Rugby Club
    • Penryn house
    • Performance Centre lift shaft
  • 10 ways to be a volcano
    • Unstill-life
    • Along the arm/noises
    • Tongue
  • Karaoke
    • Speaking the words instead of singing – Unchained Melody
    • With narration, responding to the narrator
    • He only listens to karaoke versions of songs
  • The Pilot
    • A really clear snapshot
    • Narrated
    • Costume, in a pool of light – feels like a photograph
    • The world around him is frozen
  • Talking about Volcanoes
    • 112 types of grass grown on Volcanoes
    • There are 16 volcanoes in Falmouth but we don’t talk about it as it might scare off potential students
    • Goats and snakes live on volcanoes, but not all of them can deal with the heat

There’s a month to go and it feels all right, actually.

So today is the 11th of April. It’s just under one month until the premiere of Volcano on the 10th of May and we’ve done so much reshaping, writing, shuffling over the past months that it would be ridiculous to suggest that there haven’t been times when this show has felt like a book that you’ve been struggling with: one where you’ve been staring at the words on the page for so long that not only are you not taking them in, they don’t even mean anything anymore. At other times breakthroughs have been sudden and thrilling, only to fall apart almost as fast. Conversely, there has been material that has built slowly and beautifully, creeping out, working well, growing each time we do it. And there have – thankfully – been moments where we’ve looked over our show (like Simba at the start of the Lion King – Aaahsavegnya!) and thought, ‘hey, that’s pretty good, y’know’.

Because it finally feels like this show is coming back together into something stronger and fuller than it was before. And that’s what we’ve been trying to do for a long time. And yes, it’s taken a long time.

Part of this is down to the strange conundrum of taking a show that was already in some senses in a ‘finished’ state – in that it was developed as my degree show, and presented as a final piece of student work – and pulling it apart again to make it something more. In hindsight that was never going to be easy. There were also the logistics of our new relationship with The Basement to negotiate, and of course, the huge drain on creativity brought about by attempting to write an Arts Council application for the first time.

And we’ve done some horrific things to the show in the process. We have. We’ve even done some horrific things to it in front of audiences. A couple of weeks ago we performed the weirdest, longest version of this show (ever) at the truly amazing //Buzzcut festival. And we’re sorry about that. We’d have loved to give you something better.

However, here’s a classic top-draw cliche for you: we learnt a hell of a lot from doing that. And from doing all the other horrific things.

Yesterday we did a run of the show for Kit, our lighting designer, and the folk at The Basement. It’s the first run we’ve done for The Basement in a few months, and we were pretty nervous but – it went well. I mean, we have to make sure not to get cocky, we certainly can’t afford to do that, but it really felt like it was getting there. Close. Close.

Mainly, the structure was good, and that has been the hardest thing with this show. As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s a very delicate balancing act. So now that it feels like we have something we can work with there, the rest seems wonderfully manageable!

Things  that are coming together:

1. We have a structure that works.

2. This weekend we will be working with Dr. Mike for the first time. Dr. Mike is a volcanologist and research fellow at the University of Southampton. He is going to be in the show giving a lecture! It’s bloody exciting.

3. Adrian is now the pilot. It feels like a bold thing to do, but really, really good. It’s probably the most drastic change we’ve made in terms of form and it could have really not worked at all but it does (we think) and we’re very happy with it.

4. Kit came up with some ace thoughts about lighting and it’s going to be banging.

5. There are more volcanoes in the show than before: Krakatoa, Vesuvius, Eyjafjallajökull, Mt. Pelee, Yellowstone.

6. We have a new website that is slick and cool and makes us look a bit like a design agency (but in a good way, hopefully)

7. We have a slick and cool and epic and really nice trailer that Ian Bucknole made for us when we were at The Performance centre in Falmouth. You should watch it and then share it with all your friends on facebook and twitter and stuff.

 

Those are the reasons it feels all right, actually. Thanks for reading. x

An introduction of sorts.

Blogging is evidently not our forte

So where were we? We are Clerke and Joy. Rachael and Jojo. This is our blog about a show that we started making about a year ago and will continue making for a bit longer. The show is about volcanoes and humans, and in its first incarnation became A volcano perpetually erases its own history, which was my (Rachael) degree show in May 2012 at Falmouth University.

Since then we have been commissioned to work on a developed version of the show by The Basement, Brighton, and also very kindly been supported by the Arts Council on this endevour, so now we are making this new version, and we’re not on the dole, and we’re really grateful for that. The show is now called Volcano, and is performed by Rachael Clerke, Josephine Joy and Adrian Spring (+possibly one more!) and will premiere at 7.30 on the 10th of May during the Brighton Festival.