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Tough Love: Part Two

This is the post I’ve been avoiding. Why? Because it involves some form of critical reflection on the work-in-progress that is Ten Irish Love Songs (ie my self) presented a few weeks back at the industry showing. Also because we’ve been busy developing the Major Project “At the Drive In” which is coming up at the end of August:

The showing  was an amazing experience, but it was also an anti-climax. Amazing because the ideas that we had been working on for weeks with Michael finally took on a tangible form. Anti-climax because with the feedback, I now have more work to do and more ideas – ideas that won’t leave me alone!

I worked with a talented artist, Sam Duncan, who really helped crystallise some of the ideas for the show – seriously, the piece that was shown in the end would have been so different without the patience that he gave and his ability to listen and offer insightful comments. It was also completely challenging for me to get up on stage and tell a story in front of people, knowing that they would be giving feedback later on.

Segue into the actual feedback. The most popular word for TILS in the written feedback was “playful.” Which is much better than “awful.” I learned an important lesson: don’t try to do everything. Because I was trying to get over my nerves at being on stage at the same time as make a relatively coherent series of scenes with Michael and Sam, I forgot about the important details of set and costuming design – a comment that came back at me during feedback. For the season, I plan to think about and ask for advice about those details much earlier in the piece.

The second piece of feedback that I found most useful came from Augusta Supple (and some of the written notes), and that was to develop the ‘ye olde’ scenes involving my grandparents with more confidence so that both ‘times’ match in strength and conviction. Also in this vein, was a request to develop the scenes with more reference to love during war time. There seemed to be a pretty huge desire from the audience for some less polite, more hot and heavy sexy scenes, especially during the ‘ye olde’ time. This desire seemed to be founded on the belief that separation during war heightens emotion, love and therefore physical desire. I admit I don’t think I have completely come to terms with this, probably because it’s about my grandparents and I prefer to idealise and romanticise them rather than sexualise their love. However, having said that, the most successful scene in the piece was what I call the “rolling around on the floor” scene set in the ‘now’ times, which represented the intimacy of love and physical closeness of two people using the ‘islands’ technique we ArtsLabbers learned from Alex Harrison. So that is something to consider for further development.

Finally, I have a brief addition to make to my previous post on Tough Love, and that is a comment made by the Mother. The Mother said as an off-the-cuff statement recently this: “there are no guarantees in love, because love is between people and when it comes to people, you can only have faith in them.” I don’t think she realised how beautiful a thing this was to say and it has made me think more about my belief that young love is a “castle in the air.” Maybe all love is a castle, but we do our best to bring it down to earth by making choices to believe in the castle over and above anything else.



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