Kathleen Ferrier: Whattalife

I am currently working with Lucy Stevens (Actor, Opera Singer and Writer) developing and directing her wonderful new production, Kathleen Ferrier: Whattalife. Taken from diary entries and letters home, this one woman play with music tells the story of Kathleen Ferrier, a Lancashire lass turned national treasure. The narrative invites the audience to travel with Kathleen as she is launched on to the British and world opera scene. In turns comic and tragic, this beloved contralto icon shares the joys and her pain of her short but extraordinary life.

Throughout my involvement with this show, I have fallen in love with Kathleen, and Lucy’s amazing attention to detail makes my job of facilitator a breeze.

Keep an eye out for tour dates, and check out the website.

http://kathleenferrierwhattalife.com

Ayse Tashkiran, (Movement Director, Artistic Practitioner and Teacher) shares her thoughts and insight into the history of Movement Direction within theatre.

This film produced by the Royal National Theatre, explores the history of Movement Direction and how our understanding of expression has developed the place of movement in theatre in recent years.

Movement Director Ayse Tashkiran looks back at the Central European influences of the 20th century

to the contemporary work of physical theatre companies including Complicite and DV8.

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Ayse Tashkiran talking on the history of Movement Direction

You know it when you see it.

To be clear from the outset, I’m a Movement Director. I am not a Choreographer.

That is not to say that, if you needed a piece of 16th Century dance within a theatre production, I couldn’t do a whole shed load of research and come up with something appropriate and (although I say so myself ) pretty damn good. However, If you are working on a Dance piece I could do some dramaturgy work and maybe tinker, but the person you require is a choreographer.

I am regularly in awe of the grace and athleticism of dancers. Less so with the storytelling contained within dance generally. I am now preparing for an avalanche of abuse from folks who love dance and feel I’m just missing the nuance … or looking for the wrong stuff within it … That I’m blind or stupid or heartless.

To all that I counter … Maybe so.

From the vantage point of an interested fellow professional … someone who shares a similar but distinctly different skill-set … , to use an analogy which came to me while wandering in the countryside considering how to frame this blog, someone who understands the terrain but knows full well he wouldn’t last five minutes if he had to try and survive out there on his own … from there I know that I miss stuff, and I am happy to learn from anyone who will teach me. After all, every day is a school day.

Some years ago I had the opportunity to see a production of Swan Lake. I’d been to other productions of this ballet and enjoyed, to varying degrees, the staging and the fluidity of the performers.

This one however was a production choreographed by a guy called Mats Ek.

If you haven’t seen his work and you get the chance, do it.

His ability to find and transfer story through congruity and incongruity, through attraction and repulsion is breathtaking and speaks with a voice that is simultaneously wholly the dancers, wholly his own and wholly the audiences. I could go on.

Since then I have seen all I can of his stuff. It’s one of the very few things that make me think I’ve been wasting my time on all this other stuff I can do, when clearly I should have been …. Ah, but that way madness awaits.

This vid is not from that production. It is of some work by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago … But Mats choreographed it and … well, just watch it and see.

Another wonderful description of what a Movement Director does.

This video, produced by The Royal National Theatre, features Vanessa Ewan.
I had the pleasure of being guided by her as I formalised my own processes as a practitioner and completed my Masters Degree.
She is an extraordinary facilitator, allowing and encouraging the actor to explore and discover through that exploration strong and manifest character choices which they understand and own.
A consummate professional.

Enjoy

To be …. Or not to be … an actor

This is funny, and pretty much the way things are for much of the acting fraternity in the UK.
I wonder if it’s like this in the US?

The mindless musings of a nearly jobbing actor.

It’s strange to be writing to the world ….. virtually …. coz talking to large groups of people has been my desire for a long time.

I’m James. And I’m a jobbing (nearly) actor, living (nearly) in London and attending auditions when I get the opportunity.

So far it would be easier to call me creatively unemployed.

I don’t leach off the state, so you don’t have to get offended and stop reading straight away.

I take on temporary posts doing anything to make ends meet. They rarely seem to overlap.

I wanted to start this blog so that I could do two things.

Firstly to chart the meteoric rise to fame and international success of an ordinary bloke from a small town no one will have heard of and secondly to provide a guide for fellow actors and interested parties to the real life goings on within this buisness…

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My Latest Foray ….

My latest foray…

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Rehearsals are in full swing for the forthcoming Theatre Stramash’s production of David Greig’s play ‘Brewers Fayre’ and I’m having so much fun. What an amazing bit of writing.

My role is two fold. That of actor and Movement Director. The play is a multimedia tragi-comedy set on the outskirts of Edinburgh, taking in the trials and tribulations of a family who are finding it near impossible to communicate with each other, while finding more confusion than comfort in their relationships with the world wide web.

The writer provided dynamic, a multi-layered and deeply poignant narrative which allows for loads of play in the rehearsal room because, although he gave a list of characters, he also gives the guidance that the mother of the piece would be played, for the most part, by the audience themselves, with lines projected or made available through some other means … and also deemed it unnecessary to assign any of the lines to any of the characters per se.

The upshot of which is that our version is exactly that … it’s ours … our interpretation of how these words could be shared in order to best serve the storytelling.

The cast and other creatives involved are just as engaged and enchanted as I am with the process, looking forward to opening the show on the 24th of May for the closing week of the Brighton Festival, finishing on June the first.

Every day has been a voyage of discovery piloted by our trusty skipper Sandie Armstrong, a powerful actor and storyteller in her own right.

So, at the moment, I am waking up in the morning with a smile and a spring in my step.

 

Here’s wishing you joy in your endeavours …. and if you are in the area of the south coast of England, come see us … it’s going to be good.

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You could also find out more about who I am and what I do at dodgerphillips.com