An outside eye – working with Ellie Harrison

On Friday 15 February I had a very different, but no less productive, day with Ellie Harrison at The Carriageworks.

Ellie is acting as an outside eye on the show and I find her particularly helpful when it comes to thinking about the ideas and especially about the structure of the piece. We spent a lot of time pouring over the various bits of ‘material’, written, tried and tested, physical, musical and totally untried to get a sense of what I have. There was a lot.

Ellie asked a lot of probing questions including the hardest of all to answer; “What am I trying to say?”

She told me that I was being too harsh on myself and at the same time not hard enough… And yet, I still think maybe she was going a little easy on me. A lot of the material I have is too similar. It treads a lot of the same ground. We teased out a number of themes that play nicely together and I feel that there could be a strong 30-40 minutes in there. It was one of those days where you spend a lot of time re-arranging pieces of paper into a coherent order of sorts. And we did, for the most part, but there is still a rather large question mark over the end of the piece and consequently over my head.

What am I trying to say that I haven’t already said? What is the big finish? Could that possibly be all there is to say?

I need to spend some time running in what I have and seeing if it works off the page as well it does laid out on a floor or in my head. I’m happy to say that the opening section from the very first Scratch seems to be holding strong as a nice foundation.

I’m looking forward to showing the first 20 minutes in a few weeks at First in Three at Northern Stage. I’m pretty sure that is the best test for the material. Especially if I mean what I say in the copy I wrote; I can’t do it without an audience.

In the meantime, I have a photo shoot for the publicity image (and my website…) and lots to think about/try. Wish me luck.

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