Fruition

The undercurrents festival is on at GCTC – go see the shows! – and two of the works featured are SKIN and Ladies of the Lake.

Wearing my GCTC playwright-in-residence hat, I got to sit in on some of the development for each of these and quite enjoyed the experience in each case. Both shows share a number of interesting elements in common, particularly their incorporation of music and movement into the stories that they’re telling. Since my work has been very much based on text and only text, this was an opportunity for me to expand my horizons a bit and see how other approaches to creation might work. This was all very fruitful: I learned a lot and (I think) contributed a bit to each of the shows in kind, but I was also very, very curious to find out what the shows would look like once they had, you know, developed.

So this past week I was glad finally to see the fruition of all that work for both the companies involved. Interestingly, at each performance I found myself feeling a little lump in my throat of pride that all the people involved in both shows were able to show the world what they’d done at the festival. My hat’s off to them all – it’s a tremendous investment of hard work, sweat, toil and tears to journey from the initial germ of an idea to the auditorium filled with people eager to see what you’ve created. I sometimes feel as though I spend most of my time in that “initial germ” state, so it’s good to be reminded that the purpose of the exercise is to share that creation with the world in performance.

Go see both shows if you can, as well as all the other fine stuff on offer at undercurrents.

Skin

I’m not the kind of person who makes a lot of New Year’s resolutions (though one year I did resolve to try and be more of a New Year’s resolution kind of guy – it didn’t really work), but this time round I did spend some time on New Year’s reflections. And one of the things I reflected on was how fortunate I’ve been recently to spend time doing things I love.

In particular, being part of the GCTC family this season has meant I’ve been able to sit in on a variety of projects that are in development. Most recently, this meant being able to join my friends at Deluxe Hot Sauce for a couple of their rehearsals with director Martha Ross as they ready their latest show, Skin, for the GCTC undercurrents festival opening next week.

One of the reasons that this particular opportunity was so appealing is that I’m a text-based kind of guy, scribbling merrily away on my own in a dark corner. (Actually, you can find me by the photocopier in the GCTC office, which is quite brightly lit.) This show, in contrast, is a powerful bit of collaborative creation by the artists involved, and sitting in the room meant that I got to see some of that creation happening before my eyes.

It was glorious.

Now, I was lucky enough to have been invited to a presentation of the play as a work-in-progress some months back, and even then I found it absolutely arresting. But on the first day I dropped in earlier this month, Martha Ross wanted to introduce a new element to the work, a kind of prologue to the piece, and I was able to witness the atoms swirling, coming together and clumping into molecules, and so on. The next day I watched them run the prologue. It was new, it was raw, and it was the absolute essence of theatre.

I learned so much from just a few hours with these artists and I think I may even have a few new things for my toolkit.

And what’s the show about? Find out for yourself. Just go see it.