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Book Pictures 1-12
Session 27 5th October 2011 The Odyssey
To see stick/hoop stills for books 1-12 please go to Photos - Book Pictures album.
The Fixed and Flowing
We started with singing - Tim got his travelling guitar out and we worked on the tune based around D, later used with words (I think...) D-F-A : B-D-F(sharp) : G-B(flat)-D.
What are your dreams?
Tell me your dreams.
And I’ll swallow them, swallow them
Familiar exercises with hoops spinning them across the room to partners, whilst reciting the first two lines of The O in Ancient Greek, a mexican wave of hoops missing (mostly) each other, and on the last beat of both lines we threw them up in the air for ourselves to catch.
Lifting the slippery hoops - Team A and Team B
TC mentioned the hoops will be covered in something to make them look more organic and natural, and - hooray - give them some texture so there is a little friction to help in the lifting and lowering process. To the Sing, Sing, Sing melody plus harmonies. Team A lift; Team B bring back down; then reverse. TC encouraged people to move from one part or harmonic line to another, which produces a beautiful effect as people’s tones alter and shift across the different pitches (sometimes out of their comfort zone) to make the overall song shift and pulsate. It becomes more emotional I think, certainly more surprising and alive. TC talked of the need to not panic; moves must be small, or don’t move at all until everyone is together again, taking it slow, not rushing...
We practiced our stick stamping dance with Ben as Dance Master; adding a ripple of moves to fill the 6 beat rhythm.
TC then talked about how the Globe showing we will have some fixed elements around which we can move and play, including, for example the tunes Jox is writing.
We set a picture for each book (running out of time after Book 12) with a one word title which could only possibly mean that book. Lizzie has posted photos of them. These are modular pictures which different numbers of performers can slot into. Session 23 blog has more detail on the genesis of these although some key clarifying changes took place this session:
Book 1 Olympus (previous title; Beginnings)
Everyone facing the front in two rows, right leg forward and bent - hoop held out in front of us with the stick held at the right side of hoop pointing up and out.
Eye line just above the top rim of hoop - in abeyance to Olympus.
Eye line just above the top rim of hoop - in abeyance to Olympus.
Book 2 Departure
Performers in 2 parallel lines with hoops making a long tube with Telemachus streaking through it, sticks menacingly pointing at his head.
Book 3 Nestor
Stand inside your hoop in a semi-circle, Nestor standing in the middle, with sticks at equal height and horizontal to the floor, pointing at his head like a crown.
Book 4 Sparta (previous title: Menelaus)
Telemachus and Pisistratus in a 4 horse chariot with sticks as chasers and hoops as bridles. Horses D.S. leg raised in prancing manner. Opposite the chariot are Menelaus and Helen surrounded by a crown of hoops.
Book 5 The Raft
Front on to audience, sticks on the ground to make a raft with Odysseus standing on it riding the waves. Performers alternating left to right holding on to the end of their stick and holding hoop out vertically behind them as choppy waves.
TC says this image works well as a still picture; if the sticks were lifted at angles and animated along with the hoop-waves we could make a moving sequence of this moment.
Book 6 Nausicaa
Nausacaa facing Odysseus - she holds two hoops out to her sides; O hides his modesty with both his own and her sticks. (Is this the first place we have a giving up of hoops and sticks from one performer to another?) Behind Nausicaa are her maidens, crouching, peeking at O from behind their hoops, their sticks on the ground pointing at the naked Odysseus.
Book 7 Mist
TC changed the tubular mist effect until we use the hoops as a tube for Athena later on, so this picture became Odysseus standing C.S. with all hoops ‘hiding’ him in a random pattern around him, with our eyes looking right through Odysseus, sticks held vertical and on floor behind us.
Book 8 Discus
Fewer hoops in this image than previously; Odysseus D.S.R starts his monumental throw; three hoops close together carry on the movement of the discus as it lifts into the air; two more hoops as it reaches its apex U.S.L with surprised onlookers. Sticks held by onlookers or on the ground around the discus image makers. Two measuring men stand under the apex of the discus in awe.
Book 9 Cyclops
U.S.R Colin - a marvellous Cyclops - holds a handful of hoops together on his forehead with the help of each stick-owner, who have their backs to the audience. Three sticks held ends together to make one huge weapon as it points towards the Cyclop’s giant eye.
In the moving sequence if this at the point of stabbing contact the Cyclops screams and the hoops are thrown down the long stick to rattle down to the ground. Any spare performers are sheep on all fours.
Book 10 Pigs
Five men lie on their backs inside their hoops in trussed up pig position with hand and feet bound to sticks. A handmaid prods each one with a stick.
Book 11 Hades
Two parallel lines of hoops; inside each hoop stands a guard of Hades; sticks held vertical in front of faces; as O navigates his way along the line the sticks are thrown backwards and forwards always (?) just missing him. Fingers of guards hands are open as though in a permanent throwing action.
Book 12 Sirens
U.S.L three sirens stand, straining back, with hoops outstretched willing O into their clutches. They show him the future in their hoops, their sticks held out behind them. O stands bound to his stick/mast with his men all around him rowing in unison. Elpenor at the helm S.R. TC says the sirens may have their own song.
Then TC gave us a talk about how the Globe showing might work. The version of The Odyssey in which everyone can be anyone in any book will, for now, have to wait. For now, each performer has one or two books for which they are the Teller - or Book Master - for that part of the story; they take responsibility for how it will be done and they decide who they are in that book. The Book Master takes the vase to the audience who pulls out an instruction - Tell the book in 10 words/10 sentences/connected by sticks/as a radio play/in one minute/one word at a time/through your own stories etc. Many of these instructions will have been played with by some of the company; some will be brand new. All of them will include a little definition of what that instruction means. There may be the instruction Sing us a song - this could be your own ready prepared song, like those we were played with during the intensive. Or Tell us something about The Odyssey - a little moment of academic research, so read around your book is TC’s advice.
Of course, he also says, you could b******t any of this, as that ties in with Odysseus the Trickster.
PS I have asked TC for clarification on what melody we sang when, cos I have forgotten so please add if you can, fellow Storey Tellers.
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