I've been a little distracted from Trolls these last few weeks - partly because I'm directing / rehearsing a few too many other projects and partly because I was deliberately stepping back a bit (see last blog).
But now the rewrites and changes are all chiming fairly well. Whereas before I was dragging myself through rehearsals/writes with some depression, feeling that though the story functioned it didn't work, now it is full of potential. What has changed to unleash the potential? Well, to be frank... orange penguins. By picking up an aside and running with it the story now has room to grow in the rehearsal room. I have a text I can perform, rather than a text I can say. I can now try and decide the best way to physicalise a giant orange penguin named Bernard - and the reactions of the people around him. Though the story is serious, in many ways, there is now an element of fun - of play. I have cast off the gloom.
Before I write about how I'm working on this story at the moment I will make everyone a promise. This year, 2011, will be the final year of using amusing animals for comic effect. I've done it in Teaching Gods, The Alternative Seagull, Trolls and soon in a story I'm planning for Christmas. It is fun but I have to confess - I am now running out of comic animals. So I'm going all out for this story and for Christmas, but 2012 onwards I will only do it if circumstances force me to - or if it's really really funny.
Back to Trolls. Now is the time to add layers to the story. The story is cast, the plot is clear, the characters set in stone. Now is the time to make them more - more interesting, more vibrant, more orange. This I am doing in two ways.
1. Firstly (always) in the words. The text isn't packed with much colour, much detail, much life. Now I remove cliche, look for different ways to express things, make up words, arrange juxtapositions and remove all workmanlike dullness and clunky phrasing. This I will mostly do standing up whilst saying said words - then going... "ah... oh... urm... no..." then leaning against a wall/table/someones back to write a scribbled phrase as an alternative.
2. As I stand about doing the above I am physicalising the text - hunting for what doesn't need to be said. The shape of the penguin, the drunken swagger of the central character, the horror of the lost child. It will be now that I will look at props, set and sound - though these tend to fall away across the rehearsals and only one or two elements will get used.
So, now I have some time to myself again, that is what I'm doing.
It'll be on sale at our Teaching Gods one offs this month and the next - but for those around the world you can get them online at lulu.com from May 23rd. [You could then - you can't now - now you can listen on spotify or download from amazon or itunes! Rob 2014]
The next one will be out later in the year - July touch wood. [That so didn't happen. Rob 2014]
Enough for now - I'm choosing music for the Teaching Gods show in London at the moment and having trouble deciding between two tracks.
Think for me Bagpuss - think!