Location: The Kings Arms
It was a sunny day among the city of Manchester. I was on my way to the Kings Arm's in Salford. The King's Arms is a highly respected and historical pub which has been the iconic place for new plays and writing from spoken poetry and music, as well as its vast selection of ales.
This would be the location for the next Foot in the Door Workshop. A collection of multi lessons, teaching the different and creative aspects of wiritng, statging, directing, producing and many more. Each workshop would be taught by a guest speaker.I had selected to attend the writing workshop as I had a key intrest in developing my writing skills as well as well hearing a professional discuss how they approach writing a script.
WORKING WITH NEW WRITING WORKSHOP
Speaker: Francesca from Monkeywood Theatre
Francesca was the guest speaker for the New writing workshop. She was of team of Monkeywood Theatre, a new writing company that take new scripts and help develop that piece to get it performed on stage. the group have been together for 12 years and have performed three shows at the 24:7 Festival. We all introduced ourselves in a circle our writing experiences and we hoped to achieve in the workshop.
Francesca discussed with us what makes a good story and how Monkeywood choose their scripts. What many producers and directors are looking for is a script that is exciting, something that could have an impact on the audience. She asked us which play we have seen or read that had an impact on us and why. We each told her which play had an impact on us whether it be the works of Kevin McDonald's Pillow Man or Simon Stephen's Punk Rock and why.
She explained us us that a good script has a strong narrative, good use of language and structure. She put it best by saying 'write your first draft with your heart, write the second draft with your head'.
She then made us draw a triangle in our notebooks and at the left side bottom of the triangle wirte 'exposition'. Then we we would follow the triangle upward we wrote 'complications' and climax. Then when we went down the right side of the triangle we wrote 'falling action' and resolution. This was the structure that each script should follow.
Another exercise that Francesca made us do was write a short story about someone we saw this morning whether it be on the bus or while on our way to the venue. We had 3 minutes to write a short background on the person we selected and we each shared what we wrote. We did a second exercise in which we wrote dialogue from our character's perspective and what we thought they would have said in a conversation.
Near the end of the workshop, Francesca suggested that we buy a book called 'Into the Woods' by John York, a celebrated playwright and left us with 10 questions that he asks each writer.
10 Questions by John York
1-Whose story is it?
2-What do they want?
3-What do they need?
4-What is the in sighting incident ?
5-What obstacle comes the character's way?
6-What's at stake?
7-Why should we care?
8-How do they change?
9-If they don't change...?
10: How does it end?
Speakers: Owen Rafferty and Laura Lindsay
After lunch, I attended the next workshop. The Desgin workshop focused on desgining the music and stage for a production. It was run by Owen Rafferty, a sound technician who was involved in the production of Lucia's Cox's One Hand Clapping production that just came back from touring America and being crowdfunded. Set designer Laura Lindsay of Assembled Junk was there as well to discuss the methods and process of creating a set and adapting the directors vision to the stage.
We started the workshop by reading a script from a play about an small hut in Ireland near a beach where Irish soldiers are posted during World war 2. In a small group we had to discuss what sounds would be required to create the illusion that the play is set in a beach area and what props would be required to show to the audience that it was a small cabin and it was wartime. We shared our lists 'for sound ocean, seagulls and strong winds''. and props 'propaganda posters from that era, imported boxes, lamps etc''.
Owen and Lindsay discussed that sound and design is a collective role, working together to create the director and writer's vision and to share your suggestions and ideas to have your own creativity.
They both began discussing the process with the production with One Hand Clapping. Owen discussed how we had to find and edit footage from sixties adverts and mixing that with music to create the plays multi media side which covers the plays subject of capitalism. Laura discussed how she had to research fabrics and pictures of the sixties decade including home and interior to create the staging of the piece as the pieec is set in the mid sixties.
They showed us images and pictures that we looked at and researched in order to get a better understanding of the decade and the production and set photos to show the tools and equipment they used to make the piece come to life. They also showed us photos of the TV's that they had to design and the tour around America.
Owen also discussed the programmes that he used to edit and cut the footage and where he found the music on certain websites and royalty free sites like blue box and sound bible.
Lindsay began her presentation on stage design and brought in a small model design of a large 18th century house and there were small miniature characters on the the set as well. She discussed how by creating a miniature model can be a useful tool as it can give the director an idea of what the stage would appear on stage from the notes that are on the script and within the production notebook. The small characters could be use to show the height of each prop and where the actor could enter and exit.
Lindsay also showed us the tools that are required to build a miniature set from a cutting board, white card paper and glue.
Near the end of the exercise, Lindsay made us create miniature characters of ourselves for the stage and add every detail on our character from costume to facial structure. We each competed our characters and layed them on the stage, creating a ensemble of small characters on a big set.