Welcome to my new blog. It’s running for a limited period of six weeks and will cover the development, rehearsal and performance period of my new show Measuring Up! I’m not planning to keep a diary but thought that each week I would try to look at the most interesting ideas or issues we’ve explored.
‘Measuring Up’ was originally a monologue which I performed alongside a BSL interpreter. I used a tape measure as the impetus for movement. Measuring expectations, it looked at both those I believed are held by the mainly non-disabled world, as well as those I placed upon myself.
In the R&D last year, I worked with Director, Matt Rutter, to explore the ideas further. We focused on:
• Breaking the scenes down and developing the movement
• creating a performance relationship between myself and the BSL Interpreter
• Digging into the script and finding the real subject of the piece
• Exploring access both for myself as a performer and for audiences, by experimenting with creative ways of incorporating access
Rip It Up and Start Again!
That’s what we did on day one. It was a painful, but necessary, starting point, to simply tear up the old script and start again. This doesn’t mean that we will lose everything, we think that perhaps 15 minutes of the original 40-minute show will stay, but we have decided to lose the structure, the format, and even the tape measure! Yes, the prop that was the starting point for all the movement in the original monologue, and a central feature in the R&D, is going. Its physicality is too constraining and is preventing me from telling the story I now know I want to tell. It is a radical decision, but losing it feels quite liberating.
So, it’s gone!
The new show is going to focus on my story as a writer. Which means I’m having to deal with some quite difficult questions – why do I write, how does it feel when the writing is going well, how does it feel when the writing is going badly? What fuels my writing? What stops it?
The new Jazz Braille scenes we created in the R&D – where I write live braille, whilst musician Craig Gamble improvises – are going to be developed further. These scenes will act as a skeleton on which we hang the storytelling.
Now that we’re working towards a full production, we have the privilege of working with a top class set designer, Jos Meall, someone I have worked with before. Last time, I had some Astro-turf stuck to the stage in a cross formation, and whilst it offered some kind of tactile directional indication, it was not specific enough. So, Jos is going to focus on the creation of an accessible floor cloth.
The first idea Jos had after watching a recording of the R&D, was to suggest we put my brailler in the centre of the stage. This has really helped with our thinking, by symbolically placing my writing at the heart of the show.
That’s all for this week but thank you for reading. I will post again next Friday, so please visit my page to follow our progress.
‘Measuring Up’ by Mandy Redvers-Rowe is developed in partnership with The Everyman & Playhouse and funded by The Arts Council
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, 5-11 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BH
9th– 11thOctober 2019 7pm
12thOctober 2019 2:30pm and 7pm
All performances BSL Interpreted and Audio Described
For more information and to purchase tickets please visit here.
Director: Matt Rutter
Co-Director: Charlotte McCray
Musician: Craig Gamble
Animator: Laura Sparks
Set Designer: Jocelyn Meall
Dramaturg: Francesca Peschier
Producer: Harriet Warnock