So the Trace team are very excited to start our research and development period this week. We’re going to spend nine days refining the script, inviting our activity partners in to help with our research, finding the physical language of the play and adding sound.
We’ve already had a full three days and been busy discovering new ways to bring the story to life.
I’ve been making changes to the script, as it’s so useful to see the play on it’s feet and to really determine which parts need to remain, and what else may need adding.
Anna Clock is creating some beautiful sounds that explore the themes of loss and dementia that add a very moving layer to the story.
Today there’s been some exciting people in the room as Julian Hulme, Avian Palaeontologist has been helping us with with all things Dodo related.
We learnt so many interesting facts about the Dodo that can be so useful when actress Natasha Bain is finding the character. Added to this, we have had movement director Steve Kirkham in who is helping us with the physicality of the piece.
Today we were lucky enough to have Dr Chris Hardy, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Co -Director of the Dementia MSc (Neuroscience) in the room who gave some invaluable insights and knowledge about dementia and the many forms it can take, which we hope will give authenticity to the piece. This fed into some ideas we are testing with the character of Albert in the play who is in the late stages of dementia.
Over the next couple of days and part of next week we will meeting more dementia specialists and developing our ideas further. It’s very exciting to see what happens over this period and how enriched the play becomes being given the space and time to truly explore.
On a practical level I’m learning how to stay still as the writer, (never easy if you have ants in your pants as I do) as normally as an actor I’m the first to get up and want to move around. I find that even when I’m wanting to try a new line out, my instinct is to want to try acting it out first.
Oh and it was my birthday. Strange one this year, as my two Grandmother’s have both very recently died within weeks of each other, one of whom was in the late stages of dementia like Albert. Odd not to receive their cards, odd not to hear their voices. By some strange form of fate, I’m in the midst of exploring grief in my creative practice too.
Team Trace however, really know how to look after you and if it wasn’t gift enough this year that Lexi Clare and Alice Fitzgerald have helped bring my play to life, they also brought fizz and cake (not drunk in rehearsals…). Thank you both, it meant a lot.