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Posts Tagged ‘Performing’

I didn’t post yesterday as I was too busy resting on my laurels, as they say!

Thursday’s open mic night went brilliantly, far better than I anticipated: we had about 10 performers (most got up more than once), ran for an hour and a half, the venue was full and at the end a number of people asked when I was arranging the next one. And when I said November, they wanted one sooner!!

It was a huge relief, and a real buzz.

We had mostly poetry, a mix of self-penned originals and recitation of published works, but also some singing and storytelling.  For a small community, we have a lot of talent!

I can’t say how happy I am that our event was so well received; I only expected about 5 people to turn up (3 of them my family!) so to have a full house was way beyond my imagination!

Now I have to start thinking about next time!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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Well, after a lovely long weekend celebrating a family wedding, I am back to the grind with the preparation for tomorrow’s open mic night.  I have a pile of poems ready to go, and a group of people now putting their hands up to say they’ll take part – or, at least, turn up with a possibility of taking part!

I decided not to spend too long editing the work – partly because there’s less time than I realised! But also because I will use the event to review them, so I can make adjustments as a result of what I hear.

As it’ll be a late night tomorrow I probably won’t tell you how it goes until Friday – in the meantime, wish me luck!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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Last night was a very late night which  I spent working with a friend on a plan for our artistic futures.

We talked about inspiration, ideas, plans for performing and so on, and one of the things we discussed was how to introduce a performance.

I am not entirely sure why, but this conversation got me really inspired and I have been working on a poem today.  What with my newspaper tales, my sofa-cushion discovery and this, I am starting to pull together a few related poems which create a narrative that is all about noticing the world around us and I am really excited about it.

It’s not only the pleasure of creating something new, but the way this series enables me to explore issues of importance.  I have been trying to do this for a long time, with limited success, and it finally feels like it is coming together.

I will be working on the series for a while and leaving the prose alone for now: I have a few opportunities to showcase my work and I would be really happy to showcase something new and exciting.

As we plan a few joint performances and the set list for those starts to take shape, I will also be very interested to see if the poems work as well as standalone pieces as I think they will together.

Writing is a strange beast, but if I get these right it will create beautiful offspring!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Panto season is over and I will be free to catch up with my writing and coursework next week.

I have spent some time reflecting on the experience over the last few weeks and it seems to me that the balance of effort to outcome, of writing time lost to benefit gained, may be a little out of kilter.

Has it helped my writing?  Yes, in some ways it has, as I said on Thursday.  It has also given me ideas for future scenes and stories and put me in touch with some very interesting people who may be able to help me in the future.

But time is finite and I have to start thinking about where it can best be used.  Months of rehearsals and planning meetings have led me to the conclusion that I need to reconsider my dramatic interludes.

I am not a performance poet, or a regular public reader, and I know that I need to improve my presentation skills for readings and to build my confidence in sharing my work.  In theory, acting could help with this. However, in reality I don’t think this is the case.  Acting (as we do it) is comedic, unpolished and a team effort.  It is not refined or professional enough to bring to a poetry reading.

Furthermore, being yourself on stage, sharing your own thoughts, is somewhat different to playing a character and reciting someone else’s words.  When I act I feel nervous and embarrassed before going on stage. When I read my own work I feel anxious, exposed and vulnerable.  It matters so much more that the two are almost incomparable.

So from a writing point of view I lose more in time than I gain in skills.

On a personal basis I miss writing in those weeks I don’t do it: I don’t have the right balance in life.  Acting feeds my need to be creative but not my need to develop and explore my own ideas.  It doesn’t fulfil me or challenge me to be better because it doesn’t matter.

I act for fun: writing is a need.  If I have any doubt about what I should and shouldn’t agree to in the future that distinction should help!

In other news – after a short hiatus writing group is back soon and the plan for an open mike event is taking shape, so I hope to have more on that next time!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This week is my drama show and every night is dedicated to trying desperately to act the part of a competent performer.

It’s funny that one of the biggest learning points from my current course is about purpose, and yet I only really got my head around it by being in the drama group.

Every movement in a scene has to have purpose – we are moving left to right to reveal something, conceal something, interact with something.

That is true of writing, but somehow it is easier to learn from physical experience than it is from academic instruction.

Purpose means cutting words that add nothing, replacing words with better ones, making every word in your story count. Purpose means each scene, each sentence in fact, brings something to the story that needs to be there.

This is a lesson I learnt in principle but am not always great at applying to my prose.  I feel in control of purpose in poetry but I can’t apply the skills across my stories and I really don’t know why.

It’s probably in the revision phase, but I haven’t got to the updated study on that yet…

If I can keep in mind what I have understood about purpose on stage and can apply it consistently and appropriately on the page, I am sure it will have a significant impact on the quality of my output.

Watch this space…

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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This week I will not talk about my other work (other than this!).

This week, I have got my little anthropomorphised character Fred time travelling to Egypt. He is currently walking on the Giza Plateau to watch the Great Pyramid being constructed. It’s a pretty interesting spectacle for him, because not only has he never seen sand before, but he has never seen a man-made monument before. He’s trying to think it through but really has no idea what is going on.

I am enjoying writing this little tale of intrigue; although it’s a children’s story I am working to get the details right, and yet I can stop as I like so I don’t have to get into too much research detail.

It’s letting me play about with some fun ideas too, and gradually I am starting to feel more ‘writerly’, if you know what I mean.

I’ve also been spurred on by a trip I had to the theatre this weekend, to see a Harold Pinter play called No Man’s Land.  It was described as a comedy but it really wasn’t: there were many points in the script which were funny or slightly unexpected and we audience members laughed out loud, but there was a pathos in it, a sadness and a loneliness that I had not expected.  I am not sure I like the work tragicomic, but it does highlight the way the tale leapt from one emotion to another.

Works like that make me want to test my capabilities, push myself to  produce something thought-provoking.  I know my voice in writing is quite light but that doesn’t mean the content has to be, or that I am limited in genre.

I just have to believe I can do it.

Interestingly enough, this week started with the theatre too, albeit on a somewhat reduced scale – I am back rehearsing for the next am dram performance… Once again I am the principle boy – I’m not sure if it’s typecasting yet but once more and I’ll be sure!

It is clear to me that with everything I have on at the moment I need to be really strict about my daily writing again and with that in mind, I am considering an ‘all in, in October’ premise to share my wordcount.  With Fred as my star, I don’t think it’s going to impact on quality of writing, but will certainly help with the quantity.

I will think about it – if I go for it, you’ll know soon enough!

Until next time – whenever it may be!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I have just got back home from the cinema and I have to tell you all about it!

As you may know, the National Theatre here in the U.K. record certain performances and screen them in cinemas. The performances may be from another theatre company in partnership, but it’s done under the NT banner. The screenings are available in multiple countries; in the U.K. they appear at most cinemas.

So today I went to see something that I had originally considered getting tickets for at the theatre: Coriolanus.

The lead role was performed by Tom Hiddleston, a fantastic actor who is probably most well known as Loki in the Thor/Avengers films but who trained as a stage actor.

I have never read Coriolanus and it’s probably not one of the most commonly studied Shakespearean tales but it was a very powerful play. I held my breath, averted my eyes, cried and gasped at various points in the performance.

It would be impossible for me to get tickets to all the plays I would want to see but this was a fantastic alternative.   I think this is a brilliant way to make theatre accessible and to engage people who haven’t seen a play, ballet, opera before. My husband and I are already talking about what we want to see next.

But of course, people need to know these screenings are on if they are going to enjoy them, and that is why I am telling you 🙂

I love seeing different performances and experiencing different stories and if you do too, it’s definitely worth having a look to find out what’s going on near you.  It’ll never beat the physicality of a live performance but it beats missing out on theatre altogether!

Happy viewing,
EJ
🙂

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