Dissertation Update!

Recently, I have spent a lot of my time rehearsing with my dissertation group at Brunel – Synthetic Symptoms, myself, Chris Moses, Molly Campbell and George Kay-Bee – creating the first few fledging scenes of the performance we’re to give in May. Seems a long way away at the moment but I’m sure it’ll come rushing towards us. But we’ve come up with some brilliant stuff with less time so I’m pretty confident with what we’re doing so far.
Never felt so confident with a group so its been a lovely process so far.

We’ve been investigating non-verbal communication (We started with memory but it seemed to loose a bit of steam so after a lot of floundering in pre-production hell we’ve finally settled on something we all seem to be enjoying. Still hope to go back to memory at one point, there were some beautiful ideas we had at one point)

Last Thursday, we had to show what we had so far. We only had one solid scene so far but with a good set of foundations to build on. Describing performance is really hard (As I have found in the many essays I’ve written on the subject) as it is a thing to see not to read about. However, I’ll do my best to describe what we’ve got so far.
Using the concept of simple x simple x simple = complex (First taught to us by Peader Kirk) we’ve been layering on simple ideas and exercises to create one lovely picture. We found gestures for waiting, layered on some music and layered on some speech on what communication is to us.

Got to say we got some awesome feedback and some nice support. Also managed to come up with a few scene ideas while we were watching other peoples excerpts.

We decided to keep on moving with our piece. We’re going to film most of our rehearsals so that we have documentation of ideas so we can move onto to others.

So today, we split the rehearsal into two but overall we weren’t allowed to speak to each other. We had to find different ways of communicating. The first half we given several exercises devised by George Kay-Bee on the written word. We had some automatic writing, we had words from a story which were cut up and we had to rearrange into our own, some story drawing, simplifying the true stories of people with verbal communication problems into 6 words (Inspired by this TED Talk) and summarising an article about communication. Was really inspiring stuff and we got some interesting stuff from it, especially from the automatic writing. We all seem to have some problem with communicating with words.

For the second half, we each found text-to-speech programs and experimented to see how it would feel to have a computer program speak for us.
Surprisingly we all seemed to enjoy it and we started to prefer it. We all took my more time to listen to each other and gave each other time to speak, the speech didn’t sound as monotone as we thought and it actually brought out some personality. We had fun making ourselves say things (Including rapping a bit of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air by Will Smith) but at the end we became used to speaking with these voices.

We’ll definitely be using this technique or concept in our piece.

That was a huge post but will try and keep things a bit more up to date for now on.



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