Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Body Land Movement

Life just gets better.  I had a wonderful day on Saturday playing for a dance workshop led by Celia Little and Filipa Pereira Stubbs in woods west of Cambridge.  Called Body Land Movement, it facilitated expressive dance in nature and my role was to support people musically in their exploration.  As they improvised dance, so I improvised music.  It is very hard to convey, in words, just how magical an event this was for teachers, dancers and musician alike.  I won't even try.  At the end of the day we ate soup together and then made use of a sauna in the woods built from huge pieces of oak.  And that gave me a chance to practise, with an audience, the story I plan to tell at Tales from the Undercroft in Norwich tomorrow evening.

The Cambridgeshire site has not one but two covered dance floors without walls.  We used the larger one (pictured) as well as the woods around it.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Farewell, Monster

A rainy Monday is the perfect time to make a long-overdue blog entry.  The eight weeks since my last entry seem have passed in a blur.  For at least the last fortnight I have been completely submerged in 'There's a Monster in My Piano' which is the new show from Garlic Theatre.  The title says it all really.  The story features a toy piano from the famous (in toy piano circles at least) Michelsonne factory in Paris which burnt down in 1970.  These pianos are now rare and sort after.  You may laugh but know this: Yann Tiersen, composer of the Amélie soundtrack, plays a Michelsonne piano.

Being a show about a piano, and not being a pianist myself, I enlisted the help of Norwich piano teacher and jazz musician Simon Brown (pictured with Monster).  He covered the Chopin, ragtime and boogie woogie piano elements.  However, I'm rather pleased with this little piece, half of which we used in the show, which shows off the toy piano while simultaneously demonstrating why you won't often hear it national radio.

It's a waltz followed by a march.  The march bears a very close resemblance to a famous classical piece of music which I'll leave you to identify.

The show was a monster in more ways than one.  As well as involving the sampling of the piano, there are three animated sequences that needed music, foley and scripts recorded and applied.  And the show as a whole is almost never silent.  So it was a relief to declare it 'in the can' at the dress rehearsal on Friday afternoon and kick off the weekend on a high.