an astonished face of a person, holding waterbottles in front of their eyes

Dispatches from the Creation Space: The Bone Ensemble

| Wed 8 Aug 2018

Now in their second week of their R&D residency in our Creation Space, The Bone Ensemble share with us what they've been up to, the difficulties of procuring a paddling pool in a heat wave and what to do with an aquaphone.

What have you worked on so far?

This is our first practical phase on Gulp!, so we’ve done a bit of everything! It’s been great to have the Creation Space and just to be able to get on with things. We started work with our second performer, Lotte and have devised some basic scenes, as well as begun to try out a kind of narrative that will ‘hold’ the subject we are interested in. There has been more reading and research to inform that. Our designer, Alison, has also been in the room, offering ideas and responding to things: we are finding out what sort of set, space and things we need, and this develops all the time.

On the Thursday of the first week, we did a short workshop with a mixed-age group of children, as we are keen to keep finding out what they know and what things about ‘water’ seem important to them. Around the practical work, we have a set of scientific advisers, so we had a day with them, pushing a bit more into what the important aspects of water are and, importantly, what we should care about… (that’s a really big question).

Brian Duffy has also been in doing some ‘visual vernacular’ with us. This is a kind of visual storytelling mode, used in d/Deaf cultures (we make our work accessible to those audiences). And, after a big hunt during the current heatwave, we finally sourced a paddling pool (there are hardly any left in the country!). We inflated it and filled it with water. And got in!

How’s it been going?

A mixture of finding all sorts of exciting possibilities, and realising that we have a big job still to do! We are keen to build on the success of our last participatory, ecological show, Where’s My Igloo Gone?, and certainly haven’t picked an easy subject!

Any epiphanies or striking moments?

A little moment when Lotte as her character realises she is about to drink poisoned water (this is a true story from Kenya); and Jill found a way to play the aquaphone (you can look that one up!) with a cello bow and use it percussively at the same time. What has been challenging is to have conversations with another of our scientific collaborators, Kris de Meyer, who is very good on how people see and understand things, and getting at the real stories inside people’s experiences… On the other hand, realising that we just should go for it and have quite a lot of water around onstage (let’s hope the paddling pool doesn’t leak yet, there’s no replacement available!).

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