Diamonds In The Rough – A Post Show Analysis

So in the aftermath of my second Scratch (for anyone stumbling across this who doesn’t know; a Scratch is a showing of unfinished performance work) performance of One, at Northern Stage, I am left with the arduous task of sorting the wheat from the chaff…

First thoughts are that it was definitely a useful experience. Useful to try the same material on a less familiar audience to see how I navigate having fewer shared points of reference. In Leeds I built my confidence by directing certain comments to friends knowing they would be easier to draw in to a kind of dialogue as there was a pre-existing rapport. The piece has direct points of contact built in which, I hope, break some of those barriers with a more unknown quantity so it will be interesting to see the written feedback and how the audience felt we were ‘getting along’. They certainly gave off a very friendly vibe.

And yet I was actually disappointed with myself in this section. I didn’t find my feet quite as well as I had in Leeds. I fluffed some lines and got a couple of bits the wrong way round. I tried to keep it fresh for myself by interjecting new information but this just served to unsettle me a little.

The totally interactive and majorly improvised new section about Imaginary Friends at the end went surprisingly smoothly despite my utter fear at throwing it so open to the audience (something I have never done before). I’ve already had some useful feedback on how this could be more inventive and democratically playful for me and the audience, allowing more people to have input in a slightly ‘safer’ space. So I won’t say too much about that here. I have no idea if it will even stay in the show but it was great to just give it a go, to take a chance in the space, and have it embraced so generously. This should be what Scratch is for, right?

I had mixed feelings about the cassette tape section at the beginning. It had no natural place. Though I like it as an idea I didn’t like where it sat. I had to put it at the beginning out of necessity rather than desire. But the tape/player itself has become quite important as it resonates quite deeply with me. Now I need to work out how it weaves with rest of the fabric of the show. Though at this point I do not want it to dictate anything. I wonder about the next Scratch at Emerge in September and whether that should be entirely tape based? Hmmm…

What is clear is that documentation is becoming more and more important to the piece both as a tool for making and reflection but also the presentation. This makes me wonder about who my collaborators should be at this point and if there are significant changes to be made (and here I apologise to my producer Gloria for the kittens this may give her)?

My thanks to the team at Northern Stage, who made me so very welcome for two days in their building.

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