Saturday, 23 July 2011
Research and Development
While performing is a real thrill, the process of creating a show can be equally exciting. Last month I was involved in R&D (research and development) for a show exploring light and aimed at very young children. It involved working with an expressive dancer who trained at the highly regarded Laban school of dance in London. Also involved were a specialist in shadow play and the director, both of whom are experienced puppeteers and manipulators of objects.
My own role was to improvise and interact, sonically, with the dancer and respond to the changing images and projections. We spent three consecutive days together and I used a computer in a live situation for the first time. Experience of watching others struggle with technology had put me off in the past but now I felt the time was right. And it paid off.
I was able to loop previously composed soundscapes, take out unwanted sections or layers, and add live sounds to the mix. In the past I would have burned a CD with various options but this was far more versatile. I remain wary of laptops but, like any tool, they should function properly provided they aren't pushed too hard.
The great thing about R&D is that it's pure play. Anything can, and should, be explored. A voyage of exploration to rival those of Captains Cook and Kirk.
And it was a treat working with a real dancer who truly inhabited and understood her body.