I’ve got my new notebook, my new academic year diary, my pencils are sharpened and I’m ready to play. Because that’s how it all starts.
Maybe it’s the hair. Or the trousers. Or the grin. But it’s hard to imagine Steve in any other industry than circus. The director of Let’s Circus knows a thing or two about playing games, so we kicked off with Zip, Zap, Boing then moved onto a collection of newspaper-based exercises which include:
- covering the entire floor in newspaper as fast as possible
- getting underneath and concealing ourselves completely with said newspaper as fast as possible
- attempting to move across the room, while remaining completely covered in newspaper
- picking the newspaper up off the floor as fast as possible, scrunching it into little balls and throwing it at each other.
- pairing up and creating a creature/creatures/characters to perform to the group with only the newspaper and sticky tape as costume. The one and only time I have actively sought out the pages of The Daily Telegraph – because broadsheets make better squid tentacles.
After this, we’re all a bit more comfortable with being silly around one another but have also begun to explore concepts of performing to an audience, such as the use of physicality, spoken sounds and archetypes (pirates were popular!) in establishing character, as well as devices like ‘clocking’ the audience to draw focus, and bowing or making the ‘ta-dah!’ gesture to indicate the end. Further warming up our improvisation muscles – while getting us comfortable with being in very close proximity to one another – is an exercise which involves us rearranging ourselves along a tightly packed line – while acting out a specific characteristic. On watching, I genuinely LOLed. They’ll make clowns of us yet.
We closed the session with Steve with a problem-solving/team-building exercise that made me nostalgic for bizarrely wonderful ’80s TV show The Adventure Game (specifically the Vortex, which I found absolutely terrifying as a child -see here from around 4.20, but try not to fall into the same Youtube vortex I just did).
Circus Central ringmistress Helen took us through some important facts and forms, technical support Mahum introduced us to the online handbook and course leader Claire introduced us to the brilliant innovation of blog-as-portfolio, leading to the creation of THIS VERY BLOG. There then followed an hour of box splits-focused stretching with Ross, for which I was physically, mentally and sartorially unprepared (note to self: keep spare leggings in the car at all times) but which surprisingly left me still able to walk the next day.
Claire took pictures – but I didn’t, so here’s a picture of current inspirational reading atop my beautiful new notebook instead. Moleskine – writerly habits die hard.