4 minutes of a Wonderful Experience
The audience before the show... a party after the show, a big thank you to producers Jo and Simone
a good goodbye to Simone... and a rich Chocolate Experience for the cast!
Dayna's reflections:"The performance week was a wicked ride..."
Given its name, the Experience Collider project was exactly how one would expect it to be: an experience. As a young abled artist, any opportunity to express myself through physical performance is a gift; so when I was offered to be involved in a production that was going to be different from any other that I’d participated in before, I was instinctively curious. I recall the first few rehearsals as “odd, creative and beautiful.” To be encouraged to move through interpretation and improve was extremely new to me and I’ll admit a struggle. However, I was motivated by collaborating with artists that didn’t share the same abilities as myself but possess the epic capability of imagination, wonder and inclusivity which provides one with such gratitude and a fresh perspective for possibility...
Sneak preview: shots from the Dress Rehearsal
Josh & Isaac, Hugo & Arlo | Izzy flying above Leila, Bernie & Edie | Ashton & Bernie in the Collider
Roly, Storme, Caleb & Isaac in Caleb's Punk Band | Arlo & Mo
Ashton, Isaac, Bernie, Arlo, Emily Evan, Laura, Mo, Izzy, Leila, Jana, Dayna.
The Colliders arrive!
First day at the State Theatre Centre
Backstage Studio Underground
Tyler's costumes have arrived and rehearsals about to begin in the space..
and first time in the space
Photographs for the program. Only a week to go!
Mo & guitar
Voice is being given to those who might otherwise not have a voice, through sound, sign, gestures movement and perhaps very importantly touch. Building a social world perhaps like no other. Sam puts this so well with the notion of “connect points”. Laura’s comments also speak to a process of empowerment as everyone one learns how to communicate with each other and enable participants taking on the role of the “Conductor”.
That, to my mind is pure pleasure.
Nada Murphy, Telethon Kids Institute
Duet with hoists
My two cents worth for the blog: the experience with Experience Collider has simply transformed my daughter Jana. Each session she went to with a 100% commitment and then stories of the experience over the weeks are wonderful to hear and witness. Real friendships were formed, Jana shared with me how communication is "so much more than words, I can have full conversations signing". For her as she says " the children with disabilities changed to " just people, friends". Abilities, disabilities , the labels became secondary through this joint work in the production. Simply a group of teenagers working together . I can't wait to see the end product of this journey but for me the outcome is already more than I would have ever expected.
Mo & Arlo's duet
Dancing warm up
with Jana, Amelie, Hugo, Harriet & Evan
Caleb's punk band
Amy, Jenny and I have been working hard in the side lines just observing, with the notion that the program will impact on the quality of the participants lives. Our observations will demonstrate how the project achieved this. Our funding has us focusing on DADAA participants although that does not diminish the contribution from the Circus teens. We have seen them engage in some special collaborations through music, movement, working on circus equipment or creative use of other devices such as the hoist. We are watching to see how physical actions, social exchanges and emotions are playing out.
Nada Murphy, Telethon Kids Institute
It's been a huge three days! I really feel like we've had a massive progression, not only from Monday until today but from the start of the project to this point. Sometimes when you're in the middle of a challenge you wonder if you're achieving anything and then you think back to where we started and I feel like we've come on in leaps and bounds. Today we started structuring some material and that felt fantastic because we have all these bits and pieces on different apparatus and on the floor and when we started structuring it we could see that we had quite a lot of material!
It can take a whole day just to feel comfortable in the space after a break but each time we meet that time gets more condensed. So it might now take only an hour or a couple of hours to find that place. Trust as we know it takes a long time to develop between two people and only a few of the participants knew each other before this started so everyone is on an even playing field developing trust. The level of trust is really starting to build and so we can get into experimenting and creating as soon as we get into the space. We're all finding a common language - Sam and Nel and Bernie too -and developing trust within our working practice. So it's definitely the theme for this project.
There's also been huge progress in communication with the DADAA artists, with each other, with us and with the other kids. We're developing modes of communication which means we can understand each other more clearly. It was a real break through once we started being able to talk to each other.
I've particularly enjoyed learning how to speak to Evan. At first we started by using his book of images. We worked through them and he either blinks or nods when he is at the right category or image and that was wonderful when I was taught how to do that with him. Now we've gone on and made some of our own language around the work. This afternoon we were working on a section called Conductor where Evan is choosing, with me, different physical states through images - to direct the rest of the group. He really loves that - being the director and the boss is really cool for him.
And we were speaking at lunch about Leila. We have some signs and ways of communicating with her but we thought that before we work next time we'd like to actually do some training with her parents because Leila has her own signs which are not Auslan so we thought they could teach us the key signs and gestures she makes so that we could speak to her more frequently.
I think the DADAA participants have really changed in this process, as have the Circus kids. You can see really nice relationships forming, even in the lunch break where they're finding ways to communicate with each other.
A lot of ideas tried out this week and a lot of material made. Some of the material was made in pairs or threes:
Josh & Isaac, Jana, Lila & Amelie, Arlo & Hugo, Izzy & Leila with Nel.
End of workshop reactions
Voices of the circus kids
"there're a lot of cool ideas going around"
"a unique opportunity... very intriguing"
"the dance stuff is a bit weird"
"a cool approach"
"the language barrier is interesting"
"learning to talk using physical language"
"learning new ways of interacting"
People were asked to bring in a small object. Something which had meaning or a story, felt interesting to see or touch but also something they would be happy to give away. It could be a part of something like the wheels from a skate-board, a pair of sunglasses, a soft toy or a spiky ball. They may end up being part of the design work on stage or they may just contain their stories. One group talked about the tortoise for a long time. For some people it meant comfort because the tortoise has a shell. For other people the tortoise meant old in age and time. Hugo chose a tinselly paperweight because it was crunchy and had weight. Arlo chose a spiky ball because it felt good in his hand. He liked the colour - "pink is a happy colour, you don't get sad pink it's always happy pink". Dayna chose Pooh because he's soft and squishy and reminds her of childhood, of good times.
Creating material for duets and quartets in first section "Hold".
Leila & Bernie, Hugo & Arlo, Josh & Isaac, Evan & Dayna, Sam, Josh & Isaac, Nel & Izzy
This week's intensive workshop began with making contact. All together, in pairs, with hands and with name signs. Using hoists, aerial equipment, working on the floor and finding ways to speak to each other - verbally, physically, using sign, objects, sound and music.
Aerial entanglements with Dayna, Leila, Hugo and Izzy
Ashton & Sam
Sam: There are a couple of things here. There's a very simple base and a sit which we can practice with our partners... a little bit like leapfrog where these bases get made across the space and Ashton finds his way across them.. a seat on the hips, lay out and then move on. Ashton is actually amazing at is giving his weight. Did you see that? And he really found hip-to-hip. He knew it was right there.. move a little more.. there it is. Whoosh, he just goes. This is actually a really good one to build on.
This blog starts with the first public showing in December 2018. The Experience Collider team have been working for six months exploring ideas and creating material. Here are three short videos which show a play with silks, learning sign and Leila taking control (and joining in).
the group learns signs which will be used to name actions, duets and movements in the show.
Leila becomes the Boss, the Conductor, choosing the actions which Laura calls out.
Evan couldn't be at the workshop so the group composed a greeting with newly learnt signs, including his name sign.
Simone filmed it and sent it to him in hospital.
‘A key theme for this project is the sharing of experience and this includes obstacles and challenges. One of the questions that circus helps pose is: if we can’t get everyone in the ensemble to fly, do we need to fly? Can we re-purpose tools like the trapese or silks or stilts and create something different, inclusive and dynamic? A similar question will be presented to artists with disabilities: how might they share the tools they rely on for movement, communication and performance with their peers? We’re trying to tap into the heart of exchange. It involves creative thinking, negotiation, trust and, sometimes, a sacrifice or re-ordering of expectations and values. Our process will explore the central challenge of an inclusive society in terms of genuinely and collectively embracing each other’s obstacles. We are going to create a space for all these ideas to collide and see what happens.’