vendredi 26 septembre 2008

Last Night's Scratch

Thanks to everyone who came yesterday and especially for any feedback given. It was really interesting to perform some ideas at such an early stage of development. If you do have any other thoughts on last night's Scratch please do email us or message the blog, we'd love to hear them.

We now plan to develop the piece further around the central ideas we tried out last night:

The idea is an image: two people in ice skates trying to perform a graceful number in a space but failing on account of the skates. Eventually we realise that, in fact, they are failing not because they are wearing skates but because the room has no ice. We like the ridiculousness of this image and the pathos that might come afterwards. We are interested by the immediacy of the performers’ need for ice and the inability of the room, the theatre, they are in to provide it at that moment. How can the ‘show go on’ and what might this say about the environment on a bigger scale and of people’s ability to adapt, to create, to continue?

We are interested in the double act – in sport, in performance, in life – and the dynamics of dependency inherent in them. A figure skater depends on their partner and both depend wholly on their environment. The image of the skaters without ice inspires themes of loss, of endings (global warming, melting ice), of grace and beauty, of enormous spaces and of triumph in the face of adversity.

We feel that theatre, as an art form of the immediate, is an ideal forum for debate about environmental change and are interested by the three-pronged approach our central moment inspires:

Nostalgia and the past: Ice dancing, the music, Torvill and Dean and the 80s, the kitch-ness, the changing of the sport over the years, reflection, the interviews and analysis of the past performances.

The Present moment: The struggle the skaters have to perform for the audience they have now, in the room they are in now, in the environmental circumstances they find themselves in now.

The future and how to adapt: How do the skaters cope? Do they cope?

dimanche 7 septembre 2008

Freshly Scratched at BAC

Dancing Brick’s newest show will be ‘Scratched’ at the BAC on the 25th September. It will be a ten-minute try out of the initial ideas we have for the show. At the moment those ideas amount to an image: two figure skaters in a room without ice.


Thanks to everyone who came to our workshops at C Venues. For those that didn’t we gave two (due to popular demand an extra one was added) workshops entitled ‘Meaning from Movement’ which explored the themes in 21:13. The workshop highlights the partitions of the body and how the actor can use the isolation of these partitions as a starting point for developing characters and stories. We have since been asked by a number of Universities to come and run workshops.

If you’d like more information about the workshops or would like to inquire about the kinds of workshops Dancing Brick runs please write to

A taster of the workshop is here:

Some sketchy highlights of the last night

Here is an edit of some moments from the last night of the Edinburgh run. If you would like to get hold of a DVD of the full play (it runs just short of an hour) please email The full edit was filmed halfway through the run on two cameras and is of higher quality than these homemade highlights.

End of Edinburgh and the future of 21:13

The Fringe has been a really positive experience for Dancing Brick this year. What Edinburgh gives, which is invaluable, is a space to perform and a huge public (when they can buy tickets) who are there to see shows. Of course it can be hard to get any of this public in but that is true anywhere not just Edinburgh and we have felt that it has given us a good opportunity this year to bring up a show which, still unfinished in many ways, has found an audience and been given a chance to be seen by people who can help it continue. Valentina and I now plan to go back to the rehearsal room to rework parts of the show in anticipation of performing it again in the future; we have been offered a place at next years Arena festival in Germany and have been in contact with a number of theatres in Italy about the possibility of a tour there. We are also hoping to arrange a London run in the near future.

Total Theatre Award

We have been nominated for a Total Theatre Award. Only about 15 shows from the whole of the fringe have been nominated and we are obviously delighted to have made it onto the list. To be recognised by Total Theatre Magazine seems to us a real achievement as it has been judged by people with a great deal of experience actually in the industry, moreover for 21:13, which has been pretty hastily put together and is still very much a work in progress, to get nominated is a real compliment. We have been nominated in the ‘Graduate Company’ category.

Reviews etc.

The reviews of the show have been really positive, both from the press

and more importantly individuals who have come and spoken to us afterwards. Both Valentina and I have been really touched by the personal responses people have had about the show. In fact, this is the first year I’ve ever enjoyed flyering on the Mile because of the amount of people who have come up and spoken to me about the show.

Up at the Fringe

We have now started at the Edinburgh Fringe and the audiences have already started to build. There’s no doubt that the major reason for this is word of mouth running through C Venues and we’d like to thank all the hard working volunteers at C who are supporting the show. Some pictures of the show are viewable at

And below:


Dancing Brick would like to thank all the people who worked so hard on 21:13. Most importantly, Jane Gauntlett, Andrew Sommerville, Chloe Courtney and Natalie Jones.

The Sound and Soundtrack

We knew from an early stage that we wanted sound to play a really important part in the show, not just as a filler between scenes but to take on a space of its own and to really give the audience a taste of how richly diverse the sound of different languages can be. For the initial material we recorded our friends at school, and compiled a library of languages including Spanish, French, Persian, Ivrit, Portuguese, German, Finnish, Mandarin and Russian. Our composer, Ross Blake used these recordings (and many more of his own) to concoct the different sounds we used in the show itself. Ross created the soundtrack completely from samples of the human voice, the idea being that everything heard in the show was, in some form, a human attempt at communication.

If you liked the soundtrack and want to know more about Ross’ work visit
or email him directly at

Rehearsals for 21:13

After the end of term in Paris Valentina and I threw ourselves into rehearsals for 21:13 almost without a pause. Because we had been thinking about the subject for such a long time and knew that we had our first performance in little over a month we made quick progress, writing and rehearsing the whole show in about four weeks. We started with images, both ones that we imagined and ones we found; in magazines, museums, on the street. It was from these images that we started to construct the feel of the play and from there we improvised ways of transposing the images onto the stage. At no point did either of us say ‘here we need a mask piece’ or ‘here we need something with geste’ but we found that each idea quite quickly proposed a style of transposition. We didn’t have a director or an ‘exterior eye’ on 21:13 but found that we could tell quite quickly (and usually agreed) on what was working, or could work, and what wasn’t. Importantly, both of us trusted the other with ideas and images, and had confidence that, with time, all of the separate components would come together to make something richer precisely because we didn’t always stop to think about how, for instance, swimming linked to two mobiles moving in space.