Twenty-two thousand, four hundred and forty-three words

For the last two weeks we’ve been calling Bristol Old Vic’s Copper’s Loft our home. It’s a beautiful, big, light space on the roof with plenty of room for dancing and plenty of room for making. But we’ve been sitting in the corner, writing.

Because we are making this show in a different order than usual (we’re writing it and then ‘making’ it in India) we’ve needed to concentrate on getting words out. We need lots of them to play with, so that we can edit lots of them out and be left with only the good ones – that’s the idea at least.

It takes a bit of time to feel okay with being in a big space and not ‘using’ it, but over the course of our residency we began to realise that the words we write in this large room are very different from the words we write in an office, or in our bedrooms. These words that we write here do more, somehow.

We’ve been using timed writing directives to dig into the crevices of our brain and try to find words that we didn’t consider pulling out previously…

A list of thirty ways to fall, and the potential consequences of each

30 minutes, and then 10 minutes, and then 1 minute on tumbling

Write about falling cats, without saying the word ‘cat’

Three short poems or lists (as shit as you like) about the inevitability of falling

8 minutes of writing about when I fell from grace

A physical fall, that occurs whilst falling in love, during the fall of a government

We’ve also been collecting falling stories through our call-out, which you can still contribute to (but not for much longer), and researching, reading and digging through our memories for material. We have 22,443 words at the moment; about 6000 of these will make the show we think.

 

Fall #38

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We’ve been thinking about falling. Months ago a friend posted a link on facebook to a short wikipedia page about William Rankin, the only person to ever survive falling through a storm cloud (he fell for forty minutes and had to hold his breath for bits of it so that he didn’t drown in unfallen rain) and it caught our imagination, making us wonder what our pre-occupation with the sky is all about. Over the following months across texts, emails, conversations and late-night internet meanderings we’ve become more and more interested in this act; the free-fall of the body through space and the emotional parallels and all the other things that this four-letter, one syllable word means. Fall.

So this is what our new show is going to be about, or at least where it’s starting, or at least where it’s so far got to, via India, machines, cities, women and weather, we’ve arrived at falling and we think we’re going to play in this subject for a while.

With this mammoth task (it’s always a mammoth task) ahead of us: make a show – write it, get the people we need, work out what needs to happen and when, all that – we decided to go away to write some things. We wanted to have a word document with thousands of words and thoughts and bits of research about falling. Last week we went to Darlington, away from our normal spaces – habitats – to do this.

Falling is massive. At the moment it’s too big, but it’s also endlessly interesting and you see it everywhere. In Darlington we read and we wrote and we listened and we looked. Some of that:

We drove round North Yorkshire with Tom, Jojo’s cousin, and went to high up places. Malham Cove. A quarry. The top a hill. And we looked down.
We listened to this radiolab episode about falling.
We read about the inner ear and the sensation that lets us know we are falling.
We revisited this article, and this film about suicides from the Golden Gate bridge – one of the first pieces of research we ever shared with each other when we were at Dartington and making Isabella. Maybe it’s finally relevant.
We danced around the sitting room and fell over, again and again.
We started to collect people’s falling stories. We’re looking for as many as possible and you can contribute here.
We wrote thousands of words and read them to each other.
We thought about the fall of the British Empire, and about doing the show in India.
We listened to Laurie Anderson.

And now we embark on two weeks in the Bristol Old Vic’s Coopers Loft to write some more, research some more, fall some more, and try to make a bit of sense of it all. We’re thinking about it like a book or a catalogue; a collection of falls. We’re thinking about it being called Falls #16-781. But we don’t know what the numbers will be yet. It’s exciting to start.

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