Just a quick post about a theatre piece I worked on last night.
Cassie Workman is an Australian creative and musical stand up comic. She visited the theatre I work at to perform her piece 'Giantess' before doing a run in SOHO, London. It was a great piece of story telling in very inspiring in all aspects. The visuals were very simple but very affective and it has given me lots of food for thought regarding my own show.
The stage set up was a table stage right with a bottle of water, a keyboard stage left and centre up stage was a single window, that when the plain white blind was closed had images projected onto it. The artwork was very simple, single line, biro drawn sketches with no colour and sometimes a little bit of text. It was so simple yet so effective.
There was very basic lighting, simply a spotlight on the keyboard and a general wash for the stage. There was however a amber tinted light behind the window (hidden) that when turned on made it look like the sun was shining through the window - a really simple but nice touch.
Where do I want to be by 31st of October?
(insert brexit joke here)
Ok, so I've typed this up a little later than planned, so now it is more of a 4 week plan.
My imminent goals are quit simple, the main focus is getting the stories written up. So I have challenged myself to create one per week, so I will have four by the 31st. Here is an example of what I am aiming to create for each song.
How many songs and stories do I actually have?
I plan to find a good handful of songs that can be performed with the story part alongside it. I have only performed a 'story-song' once before and have some that are suitable but to create the show I need to dig deep into the back catalogue of my songwriting history and dig out some oldies. And of course maybe write some newbies.
Leigh Davies brought up a book in his presentation that looked interesting - Colour Theory by Josef Albers
This will be useful when it comes to the design of my show overall and what colours I could use to help generate my own aesthetic for the show.
Very much written as I think, so it should hopefully flow as if live...
Windmills and Wooden Shoes.
As a songwriter I find it hard when writing about people from specific places or places and cultures, I find it hard not to be cliche. Anyway here is a song about a girl from holland called ‘Windmills and Wooden Shoes’.
I wrote this song in the summer of 2012, and I remember the year because it was during the London olympics. At the time I was camping in the south of France (It’s not as cool as it sounds, I was about 18 and on a camping holiday with my family). So there was a small hut in the middle of the campsite where they’d set up a little TV for anyone that wanted to watch the Olympics. I used to be into my athletics and sports in general so I would often visit. There was also this lady who would go to watch the olympics and she was the only person who was near my age range, and we kept catching each others eye but I don’t think wither of us were confidant enough to initiate a conversation, I mean I didn’t even know if she could speak English, and I’d only be able to ask her what her name is and ask where she lives in French and that would be the end of the conversation. I would be able to translate her answers either!
So a few evenings went by without us ever talking, and then I was my last night there and it was the night Usain Bolt had his 100m race, so everyone was excited and the little hut was a lot busier than usual. There were people from all across the world, you could here all different accents and languages and it was a really cool experience. So after Usain’s race finishes the room starts to empty until there are very few people there. The people that are left are all talking to each other, except from myself and this lady. There’s no reason for her to be here now, and to be honest there is no reason for me to be there either. Maybe she’s waiting for someone or something - I don’t know. All I know is that this is my last chance to probably ever speak to this person, and I can tell that she’s been looking over to me. Maybe she’s trying to send a signal over or maybe she’s not. Anyway, I wait for her to look over at me switch my phone off and pretend that it’s battery has run out. Then I wait for her to look away and quickly hide my watch in my pocket. Then I walked over to her and said... *This is where the song starts*
None Here (WT)
This song takes place around thirteen years old. I was only a teenager but I was in a very serious relationship relationship - we had been together for almost 3 months(!) That is like 3 years in adult relationships. It was a turbulent time however, it was definitely what you would call an ‘on again, off again’ relationship. One day we’d break up and the next we’d be together again as if nothing had happened.
I remember the very first time she broke up with me, I was heartbroken! It ripped me apart, but luckily a day or two later we were back together. Then I remember the second time, I was completely numb and heartbroken, at least until we got back together. I even remember the third time, I was completely heartbroken, but then we got back together. And then there was the fourth time and I was a little heartbroken… and the the fifth time, and I kinda noticed this pattern.It had happened so much that it became almost like a routine. I was doing things half assed because I thought, well we’ll always get back together and when she’d break up with me I wouldn’t mind so much, because I knew we’d end up back together.
I remember at the time writing a song about the situation in one of my notebooks and I’d left the notebook only bed and she came over one time and found the page and read the lyrics that went something along the lines of ‘it has happened so many times before, I don’t get that broken and numb feeling anymore’.
So, she broke up with me.
But, I didn’t really feel that numb or broken feeling. And we were back together a day or two later. But I remember the one time that she broke up with me, something felt a little different. There was a weird tone to her voice and I didn’t like it. We were at her house, and she sat me down. I was on her bed and she was sat facing me and she told me it was over, but this time for good. This felt final. I was genuinely numb and just in denial. I’d become complacent and naive. Part of me is thinking, don’t worry, there’s no heartbreak here because this happens all the time but for some reason this time felt different. So we just say there in silence for a bit, her at her desk and me on the end of her bed.
*Song Starts Here*
On of the main issues I'm facing is that I'd love for my bad to perform with me on each gig of the tour, but I can't afford to pay them so I need to think of ways to work around it. There are 3 options I can find at the moment
1 - Just pay them.
I've still not got around to the finance side of things in regards to outgoings and fundings, so maybe there will be enough money to pay them. Or if there isn't money in the 'budget' to pay them, perhaps I could pay from my own pocket? It'd be a lot of money so would it be worth it?
2 - Go Solo
I could just make it super simple and just do the whole thing on my own with my guitar. That would save a lot of money, but the impact of the music might not be strong enough - but saying that, it would draw more focus to the lyrics within the song.
3 - Backing Tracks
Perhaps using pre-recorded tracks will solve all of our problems. I can simple press play at the right times and then we get the full band sound but without the cost of bringing musicians to each show. I can even assemble it in a way that would mean I could take out certain parts if I wanted to - for example if my violinist decides that they want to jump in for a show, then I can mute the violin track recording so that we can only hear the live violin. BUT a big problem with this would be the fact that every time I tell the story it is a little different in length - so having the prerecorded tracks means that there would be no flexibility when it comes to the story telling. Is that such a bad thing?