August 13, 2015

Notes from a Wallflower: Tuesday 11th August

The room is quiet as everyone puts pencil to paper. I watch Jo set the sheet down in the centre of her notebook very carefully and deliberately. A mapping exercise is beginning, in which each of the Wallflower performers, and Richard and Renny, mark out on paper their own sense of the piece in terms of structure and location of elements.

Before the results are shared and discussed, a conversation happens that leads Richard to recite a passage from a book that Greg explains has ‘become the show bible’. It’s a book called Pieces of Light: The new science of memory by Charles Fernyhough, and it has this beautiful cover with a kind of silver embossed star-like image in the centre.

Everyone moves closer to the sheets of paper, admiring how differently everyone has approached the mapping task. Jo explains she has drawn the shape of it. She talks us through her map, highlighting its moments of depth, height, cycles and stillness. She envisages that the piece might end with a return to a dance from the beginning.

Map 2

Nic has drawn a kind of geometry of intersecting lines and curves. To the uninformed eye it isn’t easy to read. But she talks us through it and it unfolds, not just in itself, but my ideas of the show. She traces through the lines she has drawn and asks, ‘is there this moment where it folds back?’ She circles around a section of the drawing that appears as a right-angle; ‘I’ve got this corner’, shesays, ‘game changer… I’m sorry, I feel like it’s totally unhelpful. There’s a corner’. And though I can’t speak for anyone else, it seems to offer an opening.

Map 4

She has drawn four main axes, which cut through the shape, creating an interruption. The quadrants might represent sections of the piece. And then she moves to another part of the picture she has drawn where one line moves across another; ‘It’s passing through this audience threshold again, but I’m not sure what it means’, she says, as if she is reading the page like a clairvoyant or an investigator.

We all turn to Richard’s page; his map appears quite a contrast to Nic’s. ‘Mine returns to the horribly linear’, he says. This map shows how different elements might be structured along a timeline, but there is a link with both Jo and Nic’s ideas of cycles and returns as he picks up the paper and joins one end of the page to the other highlighting the cycling of the piece.

James’s map has a kind of expanding wave and shaded areas that highlight moments of energy in the piece.

Map 3

Sonia has drawn a map of the space with frantic stick-bodies in the stage area, representing ‘the game’.

Map 6

Dani Abulhawa

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