No strings attached – workshop with Liz Walker

On Thursday 14 February I travelled to the wintry wilds of Holmfirth to spend the day with Liz Walker from Invisible Thread, in her barn on a very steep hillside.
The best thing about working with Liz, and what I really needed at the time, was that right from the offset she wanted to DO, to try things. I showed her what I had brought: my laptop, notebook, tapes, cassette players, a bouncy ball, some sand and other things we might use. We also had access to the incredible treasure trove of items in Liz’s workshop. And so we played, quite unlike I have played so far in this process. I almost felt like a child again.
Obviously Liz’s strengths lie in puppetry and visually articulating ideas using objects and a whole host of media. When I first started thinking about making One I had thoughts of invisible friends, sex dolls, substitutes for real relationships that cover the gaps in our lives. I was concerned about inhabiting a space alone and wanted to look into object manipulation to create other characters to play with. But things have changed quite a lot along the way and while I still worry about my ability to fill a stage I am also sure that I don’t want to put things in place just to have something to hide behind. I had to finally let go of some ideas that have been with me from the start because they now feel like part of a different show, that I am no longer making. And even though I sort of knew this before I got there, I was adamant that I wanted to at least try them before I gave them up.
RIP Barry the Man(p)illow.
The show is developing a real identity, themes are beginning to emerge and in the end that is what Liz and I focused on. How the space might be defined and structured. What my relation to the space is. How the different elements/props cross the space and if they can cross ‘barriers’. Ways of making a physical distinction between what is memory and what is in the present.While I worry that Liz may have felt her real skills were not being put to use, I had a very positive day and came away feeling that I was moving in the right direction. Her input and constant questioning was incredibly useful in helping me work through some of the decisions I had made. To re-think some and to solidify others. And I would like to thank her for her energy and generosity.

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