Tuesday, 27 August 2013

My week with Deaf and Hearing Ensemble...

This week, I have been in Edinburgh working with Jennifer Bates's up and coming theatre company called "Deaf and Hearing Ensemble". It was good fun and it had it's up and downs. I've spoken to many people this week and increased my confidence in networking. I just wish I had my business cards printed out then. I arrived on the Sunday the 18th, meeting the cast of "Deaf and Hearing Ensemble". I couldn't ask for the most welcoming bunch I've ever met. They made me feel like I'm a part of their crew.

I was nervous about working with them. They are experienced in the theatre world and had a wealth of knowledge. I talked to them and they were talking about their experiences and what they did previously made me want to achieve my dream so badly. They were working with a lot of people, had great relationships with directors, performed on stage multiple times and most importantly, they were talented. This talented bunch were Sophie Stone, Jacob Casselden, David Sands, Nadia Nadarajah, Brian Ferguson and Lucy Ellinson. They were my inspiration.

We did several activities throughout the week and even though I wasn't performing, I wasn't afraid to contribute my ideas to the piece that they were doing on the Wednesday night/Friday night. My favourite task of this week was being given 20 minutes to go and find a location, 3 minutes away from the rehearsal space. We were given 20 minutes to write down about that location that we were in. I chose mine to be at the bottom of the stairs and loved it. I wanted to run down the stairs in the building to see how far I would get. When I got there, I had no signal on my phone and I felt lonely. In a good way. There was a fire exit next to me so I felt safe and heard noises upstairs which sounded like ghosts singing. I felt like I was scared. Scared of what might happen to me. Which is a weird combination, a combination of safeness and creepiness. When I went to see the others, they all had an interesting choice of location. Sophie was at a grassy area near the Edinburgh Castle, Jacob was in an isolated land surrounded by rubbish and David was at the opposite side of the Castle with coaches blocking his view. It was different. I have done this task before and it was weird to see the differences in what Deaf Youth Theatre did before and what they did with the task. I felt that I've used my creativity well in this activity and I felt proud of myself to be able to showcase my thoughts and feelings. They used the idea of the stairs and the haunting feeling into their piece on Friday. Love it.

Another activity which was new to me and I've enjoyed was the "breathing" task. Lorna Penney lead this workshop which was odd for me because she worked with my dad before when he was a lecturer at Ayr College. Small world. She got us to go back to back with a partner (my partner was Sophie) and told us to basically breathe. We had to learn about our breathing and ourselves whilst learning about the partner's breathing. It was odd for me as I only met Sophie the night before for the first time and we have to do something that is quite intimate and close. We were then told to lie into each other shoulders and breathe once again. Afterwards we had to move around and communicate with each other by using our breath. We would breath quickly, slowly, quietly, loudly. In any shape or form. We were communicating. I felt like we were in trouble and did something awful but we had each other. We had elements of love, trust and support with each other. It was a great way of getting to know one another without using English or Sign Language to communicate. It was surreal and quite nice. Probably the most weirdest thing I've ever done but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As I mentioned, they did two performances and I was heavily involved in one of them which was for "The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project". I had to check on Youtube the right order for this title. It is a pretty long one right? We saw the performance on Monday night. Basically, it's a bunch of poems about this girl who was born on the border between England and Scotland on the day of the Scottish Independence. The first poem starts off with the girl's birth so she's a baby. The next artist adds on a verse when she's 5 years old. Then the next artist adds on a verse when she's 10 years old. Get it? Yep, I didn't either. It's one of these projects where you had to be there to understand what the fuck is going on. I watched the performance without understanding what was going on but we spent all day on Tuesday the 20th trying to understand what was going on in the girl's life. It was just fascinating.You can check out the verses on Youtube. Just search "The Bloody Great Border Ballad Project" and there it is. Simple eh? I wish the title was... Here is the video of the Deaf and Hearing Ensemble performing verse 17!
Check it out!

This blog is probably the most hardest blog I've ever typed up. It's really hard to condense my time in Edinburgh so this blog is dedicated to Deaf and Hearing Ensemble. Jennifer Bates, thank you for the experience. It made me think about my future and made me think about my own decisions. It certainly opened my mind a bit. In the next blog, I will be talking about my time at the Forest Fringe.

Deaf and Hearing Ensemble do have a twitter so check them out! @Ensemble_DH

Over the next year, there is going to be changes in my life. It's going to be a toughie and a risk but I am willing to make rash decisions. Watch this space...

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