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October 31, 2005

The Visit – it's actually good

Well we've finished our tech and dress rehearsals in a mammoth 13 hour session at the theatre today, but rather than feel tired i feel ecstatic. rather than feel lethargic, i feel enthusiastic. rather than sleep, i'm going to sit here and let all this pro plus drain out of my system!

Get your tickets if you appreciate good entertainment when u see it, this play will make you laugh, make you think and make you want to see it again and again.

The cast are EXCELLENT, not one person is disposable (which is rare).
Also, the crew have been amazing, I cannot thank the Stage Managers and Tech boys enough. Enough brown nosing, peace out.


October 19, 2005

The Visit

The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt is a student production in the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Week 6.

Tickets are £4.50 and all proceeds go to two children's hospices, one in Coventry and one in Bristol.

I am the producer of this play and hope as many people as possible go and see the play, not only because we promise an entertaining night but also because we are doing it for the kids.

Email me with any ticket queries – you can get them from The Priory's box office or through me on campus.


April 04, 2005

Because I hate essays…

I was going to try and do Hanson, but that turned out to be shit so I started doing Nizlopi, but their album only has 11 tracks and JCB didn't really fit into any category… so in keeping with my Glastonbury themed week, here is my life in the words of the White Stripes:

Describe yourself using one band and song titles from that band

Created by naw5689 and taken 24122 times on bzoink!

Choose a band/artist and answer only in song TITLES by that band:The White Stripes
Are you male or female:I'm finding it harder to be a gentleman
Describe yourself:A boy's best friend
How do some people feel about you:Girl, you have no faith in medicine
How do you feel about yourself:I just don't know what to do with myself
Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend:I think I smell a rat
Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend:you're pretty good looking
Describe where you want to be:hotel yorba
Describe what you want to be:little bird
Describe how you live:jumble, jumble
Describe how you love:in the cold, cold night
Share a few words of wisdomtruth doesn't make a noise

Create a Survey | Search Surveys | Go to bzoink!

By the way, the single greatest way to put off writing an essay is to watch Sky One's coverage of the Michael Jackson court case
(1.30 week days). Almost good enough to miss neighbours for. Probably the funniest thing I have ever seen.
Michael's impersonator and lawyer are ridiculous:


March 25, 2005

Pictures and Sam Brassington's Thigh

Finally got round to blogging these pictures of our Medea work, pretty much the same as all the others but with some frightening Ian pictures that make this gallery worth a gander.

For Ricardo, there are some Drama Ball pics too, sorry I didn't take more but all the ones after the coach down there are a blurry and useless. Love the feathers, mwah mwah… air kisses and drama waves, darling.

Whilst I am blogging, I thought I would bring attention to Sam Brassington's thigh:

Sam boldly pushed the limits of rotheliting by baring his whole leg to me, Julia Maynard and the entire Learning Grid. Is this the kind of behaviour to encourage?


March 03, 2005

Bald Lady Alert

This lovely Swede is about to shave off all of her hair for charity. You might have seen posters about…

Astrid Nordin (the Women's Campaign Convenor and my housemate) is going to do this to raise money for Coventry Women's Haven, a refuge for women that are escaping domestic violence. This is obviously a very worthy cause, particularly because at least one out of every three women in the world has been beaten, forced into sex or abused in her lifetime.

Other scary statistics show that domestic violence is the major cause of death and disability for women and accounts for more death and ill-health than cancer and traffic accidents.
Two women per week are killed by a male partner or former partner in the UK.
Every minute the police in the UK receive a call about domestic violence, but it is estimated that only 35% of domestic violence is reported. On average, a woman is assaulted 35 times before her first call to the police.

We all know families that have been affected by domestic violence, and this is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the people we see everyday around our home towns (because women rarely stay in the town they are living when they go to a refuge): the woman on the bus, the kids in the school playground, your teacher or even your relatives.

Donate at Union North Reception or give me your spare change next time you see me and I will pass it on to Astrid.


Pictures of the Collage and Film Groups

Here are more photos:

The light side to Zoe Stroker:


The Chinese Peking Opera

This all looks so cool.
To my fellow Chorus girls: I recommend you look at the links pasted on the comments section about Thursday's session

There were lots of other pics I wanted to put on there but the website wouldn't let me. So you could try a Google Image search for 'peking opera face.' or even better search 'chinese peking opera'


Mask Research

The Balinese believe that living masks can provide inspiration for the wearer, whether a dancer or an actor. The plot of the play or dance comes from the mask. In other words, as the Balinese say, the mask "speaks".

Masks are used in dance and drama performances and are treated with a great deal of respect. They represent the faces of gods, heroes and revered persons. Masks are put on the head, the most sacred part of the body, and never on the ground.

As cultural objects they have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age and have been as varied in appearance as in their use and symbolism.

Social And Religious Uses:

Masks representing potentially harmful spirits were often used to keep a required balance of power or a traditional relationship of inherited positions within a culture. The forms of these masks invariably were prescribed by tradition, as were their uses. This type of mask was often associated with secret societies, especially in Africa, where the greatest range of types and functions can be found. They were also widely used among Oceanic peoples of the South Pacific and the American Indians and are even used in some of the folk rites still performed in Europe.

Masks have served an important role as a means of discipline and have been used to admonish women (relevant especially to our performance which is dealing with gender inequalities), children, and criminals. Common in China, Africa, Oceania, and North America, admonitory masks usually completely cover the features of the wearer. It is believed among some of the southern African tribes that the first mask was an admonitory one. A child, repeatedly told not to, persisted in following its mother to fetch water. To frighten and discipline the child, the mother painted a hideous face on the bottom of her water gourd.

Others say the mask was invented by a secret African society to escape recognition while punishing marauders. In New Britain, members of a secret terroristic society called the Dukduk appear in monstrous five-foot masks to police, to judge, and to execute offenders. Aggressive supernatural spirits of an almost demonic nature are represented by these masks, which are constructed from a variety of materials, usually including tapa, or bark cloth, and the pith of certain reeds. These materials are painted in brilliant colours, with brick red and acid green predominating.

In many cultures throughout the world, a judge wears a mask to protect him from future recriminations (as the Chorus, we are acting as sort of Judges or trying to tell the audience how to 'judge' to action on stage). In this instance, the mask represents a traditionally sanctioned spirit from the past who assumes responsibility for the decision levied on the culprit.

Rituals, often nocturnal, by members of secret societies wearing ancestor masks are reminders of the ancient sanction of their conduct. In many cultures, these masked ceremonials are intended to prevent miscreant acts and to maintain the circumscribed activities of the tribe. Along the Guinea coast of West Africa, for instance, many highly realistic masks represent ancestors who enjoyed specific cultural roles; the masks symbolize sanction and control when donned by the wearer.

Among some of the Dan and Ngere tribes of Liberia and Ivory Coast, ancestor masks with generic features act as intermediaries for the transmission of petitions or offerings of respect to the gods. These traditional ancestral emissaries exert by their spirit power a social control for the community.

Particularly among Oceanic peoples, American Indians, and the tribes of southern Africa, certain times of the year are set aside to honour spirits or ancestors. Among nonliterate peoples who cannot record their own histories, masked rituals act as an important link between past and present, giving a sense of historic continuity that strengthens their social bond. On these occasions, masks usually recognizable as dead chieftains, relatives, friends, or even foes are worn or exhibited. Gifts are made to the spirits incarnated in the masks, while in other instances dancers wearing stylized mourning masks perform the prescribed ceremony.

In western Melanesia, the ancestral ceremonial mask occurs in a great variety of forms and materials. The Sepik River area in north central New Guinea is the source of an extremely rich array of these mask forms mostly carved in wood, ranging from small faces to large fantastic forms with a variety of appendages affixed to the wood, including shell, fiber, animal skins, seed, flowers, and feathers. These masks are highly polychromed with earth colours of red and yellow, lime white, and charcoal black. They often represent supernatural spirits as well as ancestors and therefore have both a religious and a social significance.

Members of secret societies usually conduct the rituals of initiation, when a young man is instructed in his future role as an adult and is acquainted with the rules controlling the social stability of the tribe. Totem and spiritualistic masks are donned by the elders at these ceremonies. Sometimes the masks used are reserved only for initiations. Among the most impressive of the initiation masks are the exquisitely carved human faces of west coast African Negro tribes.

In western and central Congo (Kinshasa), in Africa, large, colourful helmetlike masks are used as a masquerading device when the youth emerges from the initiation area and is introduced to the villagers as an adult of the tribe. After a lengthy ordeal of teaching and initiation rites, for instance, a youth of the Pende tribe appears in a distinctive colourful mask indicative of his new role as an adult. The mask is later cast aside and replaced by a small ivory duplicate, worn as a charm against misfortune and as a symbol of his manhood.

Believing everything in nature to possess a spirit, man found authority for himself and his family by identifying with a specific nonhuman spirit. He adopted an object of nature; then he mythologically traced his ancestry back to the chosen object; he preempted the animal as the emblem of himself and his clan. This is the practice of totem, which consolidates family pride and distinguishes social lines. Masks are made to house the totem spirit. The totem ancestor is believed actually to materialize in its mask; thus masks are of the utmost importance in securing protection and bringing comfort to the totem clan.

The Papuans of New Guinea build mammoth masks called hevehe, attaining 20 feet in height. They are constructed of a palm wood armature covered in bark cloth; geometric designs are stitched on with painted cane strips. These fantastic man–animal masks are given a frightening aspect. When they emerge from the men's secret clubhouse, they serve to protect the members of the clan.

The so-called “totem” pole of the Alaskan and British Columbian Indian fulfills the same function. The African totem mask is often carved from ebony or other hard woods, designed with graceful lines and showing a highly polished surface. Animal masks, their features elongated and beautifully formalized, are common in western Africa. Dried grass, woven palm fibers, coconuts, and shells, as well as wood are employed in the masks of New Guinea, New Ireland, and New Caledonia. Represented are fanciful birds, fishes, and animals with distorted or exaggerated features.

The high priest and medicine man, or the shaman, frequently had his own very powerful totem, in whose mask he could exorcise evil spirits, punish enemies, locate game or fish, predict the weather, and, most importantly, cure disease.

The Northwest Coast Indians of North America in particular devised mechanical masks with movable parts to reveal a second face—generally a human image. Believing that the human spirit could take animal form and vice versa, the makers of these masks fused man and bird or man and animal into one mask. Some of these articulating masks acted out entire legends as their parts moved.

This research has enhanced our creative process greatly. Not only have I been inspired by the beautiful designs on a more aesthetic, 'shallow' level but I also feel the cultural and historical importance that masks have. I will keep this in mind when on stage, now I am aware that I am a part (albeit a tiny part) of a great tradition of story telling.


After Show Party?

How are we going to celebrate our performances? It would be nice if we could have a mini-social or something briefly on Friday? Obviously, before we all go off to our End Of Term celebrations…

My love of masks and face paint and our Installation Medea Project…

A few weeks ago I would have pretty much turned off at the sound of the word 'mask'. Yes, they are interesting and have always appreciated a good bit of mask, but they now thrill me an embarrassingly large amount. Although I have been in love with The Labyrinth and all of Jim Henson's other projects for as long as I can possibly remember, I have never really researched or made any masks. Oh but I am so in love with our little creations.

Today Diddams and I were talking about how the visual aspects of live theatre really thrill us. Colour, textures, scenery, costume, make-up: these are the things that really get me going and are the reasons that I think theatre is so unique. That is why I was so pleased to be putting together an ‘installation’ style piece, the audience can really get close to all of our little portions of the performance… the film, the collage/artwork, the video clips of children… it is all genuinely brilliant and I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such a talented collection of people.

Thanks to Annisa for the mask info, I agree that the Noh masks are very beautiful and did come into our research quite a bit, I hope that is evident when you see them… my housemate just asked if we were playing ghosts so hopefully others can appreciate their 'ethereal' qualities.

In the future I hope to play with face paint more and progress on to full body paint. I doubt we can get any into our current piece but – my oh my – if we could then I wouldn't be able to control my excitement.

Today’s session was possibly the most productive, this may be due to the thirteen glorious hours of sleep I had last night that was chock-full of dreams about masks and face painting.

We completed the masks:



We also worked on the harmonies for the songs we will be singing/humming. Inspired by some of the harmonies/songs on Brian Wilson’s "Smile": link [click on the sample of ‘Our Prayer’ to hear what I am going on about] we tried out a melody that Anna taught us. It is a haunting tune that sounds fantastic in the acoustics of the masks, they work as little caves or microphones.

We also chose the lines that we will be saying. We picked the text from a very old translation, which I feel gives the piece even more of an otherworldly quality. One of the major advantages of using ‘ye olde English’ is the contrast it will have against the very modern dialogue in the film project.

“When the hand knows what it dares,
When thine eyes look into theirs,
Shalt thou keep thy tears unblended
Thy dividing of the slain?
These be deeds Not for thee:
These be things that cannot be!
Thy babes – though thine hardihood be fell,
‘twill be well!”

Many people will have seen Anna walking around campus with a blue face today, as Diddams and I played with her face a lot.



I was rather pleased with the finished product, as I feel the unveiling will be beautiful. However, we need to be more focused and not just make it up as we go along. I spent a bit of time sketching this afternoon, just trying to get a few designs for the chorus’ faces:

Here are a few possible patterns that we could paint on faces, these are little segments of some paintings I’ve done:


I particularly like sun and moon imagery. In my sketches above, I have tried to incorporate the sun, here is how it looks on paper when using paint. I hope to recreate this on someone’s face.

I’d also really like to paint some veins onto the skin, or vines growing across the skin. This is a bit of a crap photo, but hopefully you can make out what I mean:

All feedback is welcome, any suggestions for patterns or designs for face painting would be nice. As for the future of our masks, I think we will add some string/ripped up rope to them for hair, we will then make our hair big and messy and tie the rope in with our own hair to give us a savage wild-woman effect.


March 01, 2005

Installation Group: Listen Up

More mask fun was had today, six masks have been skillfully cut by Diddams and we gave them noses this afternoon.

Tomorrow we will cut out eyes and then paint them white.

At the moment we plan to outline the eyes with black and maybe a dash of green or blue.

This is actually a bit comical looking, hopefully we will get them to look far more beautiful/poignant/sinister etc.

We would all really like to talk to the rest of the group again so that we can discuss the idea of everyone having masks in more depth. Please come and take some masks and make them, we are all so very sick of papier mache…


February 26, 2005

A Successful and Exciting Session (with photographic evidence)

As blogged by others, I feel that Friday's session was very productive and thrilling. Although I kept pretty quiet, I found the ideas buzzing and gliding round the studio most wonderful.

I have recently been told that everyone will be wearing masks now, great initiative but we might need a little mask making help. Diddams and I will be running a papier-mache day on Sunday, so come along and be useful either in B Block ground floor kitchen or Whitefields 9 from about midday onwards.

Sorry the pictures are so blurry, but everyone was so animated it was hard to get a clear image.


February 25, 2005

Stage Plan

This is for everyone in our group, especially the people who couldn't be there on friday (hope it helps).


February 24, 2005

Masks

Masks:

We have spent our second Thursday of this project covered in wallpaper paste and hundreds of little ripped up pieces of newspaper. Our –currently– embryonic papier maché masks are hanging somewhere in Rootes like little redundant foetuses in a laboratory.

We’ve been researching classical Greek tragedy masks. We like their simplicity and the anonymity that they allow the performer.



Personally, however, I am more drawn to the beauty and vibrancy of Balinese masks. Basically, I just love them. I feel that a modern performance can benefit more from a more colourful mask style. The masks of Ancient Greece had practical uses (for being seen by thousands of people in enormous theatrons) as well as the symbolism which a modern audience can appreciate. We, however, don’t have the problem of enormous audiences and can therefore play around with colour and style. I want to make our performance as visually stimulating as possible; I hope to create a series of wonderful and wondrous moments that stimulate the audience’s senses – through sight and sound in particular.








My suggestion would be to remove the masks at some point in the performance to reveal intricate designs on our faces, lovely patterns and vibrant colours compared to the simplistic white masks. Don't know what this symbolises but I think it would look cool as hell.


February 23, 2005

Free Film PLEASE VOTE

Writing about web page http://www.deloitte.co.uk/filmseason/warwick/fivefilms.htm

Deloitte are providing the Warwick Student Cinema a free film night, all we have to do is vote for what film it is that we want to watch.

I am urging you to vote for Y Tu Mama Tambien- an amazing Mexican film about sex, friendship and youth. It is beautiful and funny. More importantly, it is not on DC++ and I want to see it on the big screen.

Come on, if you love jokes about 'your mum' then this is a film you should vote for and then watch. If you love stunningly and achingly beautiful cinematography, the same applies.

The other films are really good, Raging Bull, Donnie Darko, Apocalypse Now - canonised classics - but Y Tu... is a chance for something a bit different!

Viva la voting.

please vote


February 16, 2005

Where is Jochen's chocolate?

Time of incident: between 1800 hours Tuesday 15th and 1200 hours Wednesday 16th February.

Last seen:

I blame John Nash, Game Theory and, in particular, Nash's Equilibrium (which became the organizing concept under Game Theory – even though the concept actually stretched as far back as Cournot)


February 11, 2005

We Were Up All Night

As promised (weeks ago) here are a few images and memories of the night that Rothelite became a verb.
Apologies for the blurriness of these photos.

Aubergines scare the life out of Helen.

It was a strange and fun night that lasted until morning. I was rothelited at around 2 a.m., others were acquired soon after me. What started as a film viewing ended as a sober and vomitous insomniac nightmare, intermingled with ironing-board covers and saying the word rrhhhhyyyyssssss. This photograph is, for me, symbolic of that odd, odd Thursday.

I also like these facial expressions, they are a bit poignant.


February 04, 2005

Richard Jephcote likes to watch.

Richard Jephcote likes to watch.

January 16, 2005

Ricardo Jones

….. or Gethin Jephcote?


January 07, 2005

If you Love live music…

You may have heard of Healthy Concerts. What is particularly exciting is the 'Gigs in Digs' tour taking place right now. This is rather special. The idea is both simple and brilliant:
"Small groups of people gathering locally (next door or around the corner) in modest sized venues, such as a neighbour's living-room, for the simple and natural pleasure of listening to genuinely unplugged Live acoustic music. Healthy Concerts make this experience available to all…."

The gigs are all smoke-free and the artists usually request that people leave their kegs of beer and alcopops at home, instead it is supposed to be a night of sharing a few bottles of wine with your mates and chilling out whilst listening to genuinely wonderful songs.

If you've not heard me going on about the band Nizlopi then I advise you to rummage through my blog, you might just find my account of a wonderful night with them in Stratford-Upon-Avon a few months ago in which they managed to kick Radiohead off the top of my 'best ever gigs' list (Quite a feat, I'm sure you'll agree, especially as I saw one of the few performances of Creep by Oxford's Finest). Nizlopi are a Leamington band and if you are really lucky then you might hear them on the popular In Bed With Jack And Ed show on RaW (Sundays 9–11 am 1251 AM and online).

Nizlopi are taking part in the Gigs in Digs tour and are playing in lots of places, but students of the University of Warwick may be interested to know that they are playing Leamington on the 21st January in a house

This is such a rare opportunity to see one of the most talked about acoustic acts in the British music scene today. They have recently sold out venues in Edinburgh and London, and are getting lots and lots of attention from everybody with good taste. The only thing left to say is that Nizlopi are a duo of two people who passionately love music and are most appreciated by people who also passionately love music.

Visit the link above to get tickets or contact me for any information. These tickets will go very very fast and there is a 'you snooze, you lose' policy.

Should be an amazing night.