Duet work with a moving floor...

December 4, 2015


Imagine a duet about two women and their experience at sea.
Imagine if it took place on raft drifting across oceans and time.
Imagine if we could create a raft and bring that image to life on land.
Imagine if it moved freely in all directions just like it would on water
Imagine if we could build a set that would move as freely.
Imagine if we could perform the whole show on this platform and so bring the ocean ashore.


…Imagine how difficult it would be to stand up on such a thing…


Isn’t it funny how beautiful, fluid and simple things can seem in the imagination and how much delicacy, intelligence, patience and frustration it can actually take manifest such an image. But, we are dreamers and are determined to make our imaginings a reality.


And so, with the help of the brilliant Julian Payne, we have created a platform which does exactly that. Julian has brilliantly transformed our idea into a real living moving platform. It’s a board which we will dress like a raft and it sits atop a ball and socket joint, hence, it sinks in every direction you weight it just like a platform moves on water.


And now, we have this feat of engineering in our studio and our first afternoon of playtime was one of fear, sliding, danger and laughter. First delighted, and then quickly horrified at the challenge we have set ourselves with an alien and unpredictable stage. But, after three days our confidence has grown and we wander freely over its surface, allowing its movement and not panicking ourselves to a rapid decent floorwards.


Ok, fantastic…


Can we stand up?            Yes
Can we walk around?     Yes
Can we run?                     Hmmm, almost, bit more practice needed

Can we perform the duet we made in the theatre last week…


In short, no, definitely not…but… its quality and its principles have transferred amazingly well into a partner work exploration we embarked upon yesterday. A week of moving together in the theatre has helped us sync our styles, embrace our proportions and understand each other’s bodies. It has proved a great foundation for being safe, playful and getting to know our strange third player. It quickly became apparent that this is no duet; it’s a delicate trio, one raft and two women.


Despite the difficulties day three’s improved confidence has actually allowed us to find some beautiful moments and to really be able lift one another and shift our weight across our stage. All of a sudden the whole ground is pitched at an array of fairly extreme angles and the principles of lifting we’ve been learning for years are flying out of one of our many windows. There are new and brilliant possibilities helped by one person starting higher or lower than the other, the way weight is transferred and absorbed by our bodies is new and very different to what we are used to.


Even so, I feel really excited by the partnering we have already discovered and as we progress further with our research I hope we’ll surprise ourselves and find this lovely, fluid, imagery we aim for and some surprising partnering to boot.

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