Head Scratching – thinking about my work in progress

Last week (Wednesday 28 November) I was lucky enough to have the chance to scratch ‘One’ again, this time at ARC, Stockton Arts Centre where I am a member of their Artists’ Network ARCADE.

It was an interesting experience for a number of reasons.

1) I think the work has started to take a new direction, more tangental than barking up a new tree I hope. This means that everything I showed was very new and freshly put together, incomplete and perhaps not as brave as I would have liked to have been. I hadn’t had chance to take the ideas as far as I possibly could yet. The knock-on effect is that I wasn’t sure how I felt about the material yet. This also meant I wasn’t able to tech properly as I wasn’t quite on top of all my text when I arrived at the venue.

2) I was also concerned that the text I had provided in advance about the show might not accurately reflect what I was about to do. It’s that age old issue of writing copy for unfinished works. Or perhaps in my case incomplete ideas? I feel I am only now beginning to find the nugget at the heart of this idea of being alone and being OK.

3) I think that Scratch events are contradictory in nature. While I appreciate the chance to try my ‘stage-legs’ and get real reactions to the work, it does skew the intention a little. Everyone says that Scratch Nights are supposed to be for sharing work-in-progress and no-one minds if it is rough around the edges… but of course, you want to be liked. You want the audience to think the work is good, no matter how incomplete. As such, I found myself worrying about how polished mine would seem in comparison to the other performances (as it turned out, not very) and rushing to make the piece make some kind of sense for the audience.

4) Technology is evil. Even the most primitive. And so the old adage “What can go wrong, will go wrong” was very much in play. I forgot music cues, and a blank tape turned out not to be… DIS-ARSE-TER DAHLING!

I was a little disappointed with my offering over all but hope I at least managed to lay out some of the themes and motifs for the show going forwards from here. I was also reassured by my producers Little Mighty that it is not so far removed from the initial material I scratched back in June/July. Which is a relief. I really liked bits of that and hope to hang on to some, if not all, of it.

Some of the issues I had were down to late preparation and procrastination. ie. MY FAULT. Some of this was nerves. Some of this was the nature of the Scratch beast. All I can do is try and learn from it and hope to make the piece even better in the future. Who knew screwing up could feel so positive. It’s kind of exciting.

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