All entries for February 2005

February 25, 2005

Medea 4– Flipchart Pictionary

Todays session started off with Jack showing us how he'd been playing around with Margaret Thatcher. Jack and Ian have put together a couple of fantastic tracks mixing voice over and some incidental music, I think this is the one they decided they wanted in the booths, but I'm not sure.

The Collage group have expanded into doing a collage and two shadow screen performances, which we've incorporated into the main layout hoping they'll be happy with it.

Today was mainly about getting the piece planned as a whole, and what we wanted the audience to experience. At the expense of some of the freedoms we wanted to give the audience I think we're now confident that we have a fully planned piece with few grey areas. The biggest change to the previous incarnations of the piece was the decision to split the audience at the door into Male and Female in order to clearly set the themes in concrete from the beginning, but more importantly to give the two genders a very different experience and personalise the issue to them. Admittedly this means that the freedoms of the audience has been limited. But I like to look at it that now the audience is no longer in control, they're lost and stuck in the middle of this world but they have the freedom to explore it.

may have put the chorus in teh wrong place there, not sure..
We also talked alot about the performance, which is now a little difficult to explain but involves the relationship between Jason and Medea, the kids, a bedsheet, and death. woo.

Medea 3– Professional film buffs (need a hat)

A lot of clarification of the style, subject and content of the film+performance has spontaneously occured over the past couple of days.

Yesterday (Wednesday) the Buffs (Me, Sophie, Zoe, Sarah, Joyo, the Rothelite and Rhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyssssssssssssssssssssssssssss) went on a trip to maths department (after discovering its film worthiness in our location scouting) with Owen's camera to basically shoot anything that looked good. Avoiding freezing in the cold me, Owen and Roth sat down and went over the shots we'd just taken and tried to make sense of it.
Here's the list, which unfortunately probably won't mean much to those who haven't been involved:

So I deleted it.

When we started today though, we realised we hadn't thought about the themes enough, so Hugh suggested that since there were three girls and three blokes that we all took some time to belittle the opposite sex. So for all you bloggers, me, James and Owen bring you some of our observations on the fairer sex. These are wildly accurate generalisations of course.

Don't you just hate it....

when they assume you can't understand anything they're going through just because you haven't got ovaries.


when they say that we should know what's wrong with them, and what to do, even though the rest of the time they say we can never understand.

Technological incompetancy

Having to explain films, especially at the most innapropriate times

Innapropriate over-giddiness

Moody, makes you assume it's your fault and then won't explain what's wrong.

Assume no man can be trusted, but all women can

Saying things that something didn't mean anything, when it clearly did.

Where as every woman is seen as a deep and meaningful person, men are always put into stereotypes.

Bitchiness with other women.

If a blokes in a mood he's an idiot, but if the woman is then the man has to adapt.

A man can move on from an argument after an hour, a woman still hasn't moved on after a week.

My personal favourite – They can't understand why explosions are cool.

Talking about the good things about their ex's.

This was all in good fun and of course the girls came up with more points about us, hopefully they'll blog them. So in time honoured tradition we let them believe that they'd won (of course we did really)

Yet to see how we'll use this in the performance, but with these ideas for the dialogue shots we decided since we'd booked the camera to go out and do the effects shots.

My personal Favourite is the 'In the midst yet misunderstood shot', it's an old trick but a goody. I stand perfectly still for ten minutes and have to suffer maths students who think they're comedians and French people further lowering my respect for their countrymen. Then we speed the shot up and it results in a minute of the world spinning around me. Everybody else going about their business except me and the camera, a bit Spice Girls 'Two become One' with less skirt and innuendo.

Hopefully we've now got pretty much all of the location shots and the work will now move in to the studio for the dialogue. Which at the moment seems like it's going to be a combination of lines from the play and the ideas we came up with after Hugh's suggestions. The structure we came up with on wednesday was a repeating 4 minute piece with mini-scenes of dialogue punctuated by effects shot sequences.

Me, Roth and Owen also invaded the editing suite and almost died of joy, in fact I wouldn't be suprised to find Owen huddled over the cameras gollum-style whispering 'my precious', that is, if I didn't know that his 'precious-to-be' kicks the ass of all the departmental cameras. Just add the phrase 'but my camera does it even better' to every statement you could make about the history of cinematography.

Very excited to find out about what the other mini-groups have come up with in the full group session tomorrow, especially after seeing the Homebase team banging away at their masterpiece yesterday. We've been criticised by members of the other group for taking the 'easy road' by splitting in to smaller teams, but it's clear from talking to people that everything we're doing is being considered as part of the whole rather than seperate sideshows. This is the most excited I've been in any of the practical modules so far, I really think this presentation's going to be fantastic.

February 19, 2005

Medea 2– clarification of ideas

The Session on friday began as usual in a group brainstorming and telling the ideas we'd all had. After we clarified what themes were central to the performance, (opposition of the sexes, and how this conflict can have repurcussions) we came together in our groups.

The Film and live perfomance group have merged somewhat as the interactivity between them is key to each of them working.

So Me, Owen, Rothelite, Sophie and Sarah sat down and threw about ideas:

Contemporising the story; could the film be a modernisation in terms of mise en scene etc. Grimy and seedy backstreets style to the presentation and/or characters?

Using more than one couple, several actors would take the issues from being about a relationship to being about society in general and depersonalise the opposing sexes.

Several ways of transferring the attention of the film from actor to actor, here's a couple:
Shot of actors upperbody,smoking->shot of ashtray, hand puts down fag, in the same shot another hand picks up the fag -> identical shot to first but with different actor smoking
One actor in foreground in focus and other in background blurred, effect like that of a flickering light bulb but flickering between images of both actors and then stabalising on the the other.

We've had a lot of inspiration from Requiem for a Dream (an AMAZING film, one of the best arguments against drugs and the most haunting soundtrack ever) with certain cinematic effects. For example; Macro shots that show a series of relevant objects/things in a sequence that is repeated; 'the camera walks with you shot' (you have to see it to understand); the beautiful effect of speeding things up ever so slightly to make things unnatural, give it the Verfremdungs effekt as an English + Theatre student might say; Requiem has a way of showing the perceptions of it's characters (love the fridge!) that I think is an important point when it comes to showing the themes and motivations of the male/female personas in the film.

Chiascuro lighting creates a great atmosphere of suspense <-> fear. It's used most frequently in Film Noir (Maltese Falcon, Chinatown, The Man who wasnt there, Minority Report etc.) with having the light source behind some kind of grid like window blinds or a roof fan etc. there is a pattern of light created only ever revealing half of what is there. This is a great way of creating a tragic-dramatic atmosphere instantly and I think it would be great to use to immediately establish the seriousness of the situation and struggle present in the themes.

There remains some indecision on the nature of the relationship between the film and the live performance, mainly because we haven't thought about the performance very much. Personally though I'd like the film and performance to mirror each other, possibly in the sense that one or the other showed the opposing forces in the sex-war. This connects to the idea of the female/male being in the foreground/the background and then vise versa.

Some general thoughts
There seems to be a lot of focus throughout the group as a whole that the film is a centre piece, I think I speak for the film/performance group that this shouldn't be the case. Just as the film is a supporting element to the performance, the two should be a support to the whole experience of the INSTALLATION. The piece should be affecting people from all sides, there shouldn't be focus purely on the film when it's going on.

With this in mind I suggest that the film shouldn't have a plot as such, but be abstract in order to create the necessary effect without drawing the audience into this one aspect of the whole.

I'm also very keen on using lines from the play to keep us rooted in Medea and not going off on too much of a tangent, this would be in keeping with my abstract point but also giving the film a clear meaning.

Location, location, location

Me Owen and the Rothelite went location searching (check the gallery) despite upsets like my stupid mistake in not putting the film into my camera properly and losing some good shots, we have a selection of locations that could be used. Since we're not entirely sure of the content of the film yet we went to a range of locations on campus, the closest thing we have to classical architecture (the pillared Maths Block and cathedral-like University house) and some natural locations in the Gibbet Hill wood.

Despite some great locations I still prefer any 'scenes' or dialogue to take place in a controlled interior space like the studio, I think to have too many 'natural' real life locations will detract from the supporting role of the film, too much detail I think will just make it too 'interesting' (not in the sense that we don't want the film to be interesting but that

February 17, 2005

Medea 1–Jason's Fan Club

1st Session of our Medea group

A quick recap of my arguments for why Jason deserves sympathy:

1)Medea never considers any other possible outcome than revenge over Jason, even if you take for granted that revenge is the only course of action, in my opinion it should only be taken out on those that deserve it, The children are innocents and the weight of the tragedy of their death is laid on Jason's shoulders. He was still their father and he certainly cared enough to persuade Creon and his new wife to let them stay. In the words of Owen, 'fathers for justice'.

2)Medea's been dumped,divorced and had a restraining order on her, but considering she murdered her own family we'd condemn her much more in present day conditions. Jason owes her his life, but it's clear she's more than a little unhinged in an obsessive way, lacking in empathy, back in civilisation Jason has probably started to be a little repulsed by his wife. He knows that she'll be cast out of Corinth, but knows that she has friends in Athens and the children can either go there, or as he later persuades Creon, stay in Corinth. Jason tries to make it an amicable divorce.

3)I'm not a fan of thinking that individuals should be pressured by society, it always seems inevitable that this divorce is going to happen and the proceeds can not be stopped. Considering that Medea is a woman who kills her own children, Jason probably thinks this is the easiest way of letting Medea down gently, after all, this way it's 'all society's fault'.

Obviously I can see all the reasons why Medea would deserve sympathy, but even as the Medea supporters said, it's difficult to sympathise after she slaughters her own children horrifically with a sword, considering that she is an expert in poisoning this seems to be a cruel way to mercifully kill her own children.

These are the notes I came up with during our visit to the library, from what books Gethin and Will didn't make off with. ;)

Two differing variations of the original myth –
1)Medea attempts to make her children immortal resulting in their accidental deaths. In this version Jason & Medea inherit the throne of Corinth and become king and Queen.
2)Medea's children killed by the Corinthians in revenge for the murder of their king.

Euripedes frequently used his artistic license to adapt myths, no one is absolutely sure whether his version was another actual myth or his interpretation. Most Scholars think his interpretation.

Despite the fact that Medea is linked to the supernatural in many respects and her actions can be seen as 'above human ethics', however Euripedes goes out of his way to make her seem more human, bringing her down to that questionable human level.

'She views her renewal of criminal resolve a return to sanity' suggesting that she views herself on this supernatural level living by the same rules as the gods or heroes (eg.Achilles)

Euripedes – Medea is bound by mortal rules
Medea – Medea is descended from the gods and above the rules.

The Presentation

Our primary theme of the conflict between Media&Jason /Male&Female/ etc. and the consequences of this kind of conflict on the innocents was the starting point of our conversation that lead to an exploration of different technicalities we could use in an installation style of theatre. here are some of the ideas;

Use of projected film combined with live theatre – debate on the relationship that there could be between the mediums, yet to be decided.

Possibilities – The action between them overlaps; they both display different sides of the argument; one reinforces the other; there is a concious relationship between people on the screen and on the stage.

Ideas – One displays Medea's point of view, the other Jasons; The screen displays the consequences of the events on stage;Two or more screens projecting a film based on the events.

Use of recorded sound
Those that had been outside interviewing people in the street suggested that we should use what had been said about Medea's actions as soundbites over the speakers.

A large collage of relevant material is intended to be displayed for people to view.

Use of lighting
It was suggested that the lighting should be quite minimal and the audience be given torches so that they were in control of what they saw and how they interpreted it. This would be particularly effective with the collage as the audience revealed parts of it at a time.

It's agreed there should be focus at some point on some live theatre..

We have split into groups to consider these different aspects of the piece. I elected to be in the Film group with Owen, Rhys, and James. These groups will be maleable as the development process and people's jobs may change where needed.

February 11, 2005

Into The Wardrobe

Come see my short but sweet Warwick theatrical debut – 'Into the Wardrobe'. It's a short (about 50 mins) play, surreal, funny in a quirky way. Written by a member of Codpiece, acted by members of Codpiece, quite 'Codpiece' in it's style. (Plugging Codpiece a bit here) Not sure how much it's going to be on the door, but it's only to cover the cost of hiring the cooler so it shouldn't be much.

It's on next Saturday (26th Feb) at 5:15 in the Cooler.

Look out for the posters going up soon!

edit – Unfortunately the play is void of anything from Narnia, I wish it had some talking animals in it as much as the next man!

February 2005

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