Thursday, 27 November 2008

Myth, Ritual and Invisible Theatre

The last steam train passing through Strawberry Hill in 1967

What does myth mean?

As I was slightly confused as to the exact definition of a myth I have put the dictionary definition below:

'1a A traditional story that embodies popular beliefs or explains a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.'

In 1957, a French theorist Roland Barthes was interested in current cultural myths and he believed that they are important in society as it keeps it together.

What are current types of myths?

Christmas, health, the credit crunch, Marriage, fairy stories. I thought that it was interesting when Mark told us about the Olympics being a myth which I was unaware of. From Mark's fact it made me wonder weather myths are in almost everything in day to day life? As Molly later brought up that a memory is a myth. Telling a myth is something that happens in a community to sometimes show their identity.

I like the idea that telling a myth is a way of looking at difficult themes, as you are telling the persons story in an indirect way. Also, I think it may encourage people to talk about their stories and memories in a less awkward way or even without realising it. If I have people with difficult issues in my placement I would like to use myth to help encourage to talk about them.

There are different types of Ritual such as:

SOCIAL - Morning routine, Football chants, Tea drinking.

RELIGIOUS - Marriage, Preying, Christening.

AESTHETIC - Art, Tattoos, piercing.

A ritual will have a transformation weather it be a physical, social or mental one. During the transformation there will be a liminal space which is the in between state where you are not yet transformed.

In the lesson we made a map of the Uni with pieces of paper stating the place and memory of there. It was quite funny doing this as it brought back so many hilarious and warm memories of times at Uni. After we got into groups and picked a location at Uni to perform the chosen memory of that place. Me, Simona, Flick and imaginary Donna chose Strawberry Hill Station and our memory was when we all first met in the first year. When we rehearsed on the platform we did get some strange looks from people!! This type of theatre is called invisible Theatre by Augusto Boal.

When we were watching each of the pieces at the sites around Uni, I felt quite nervous but excited as I did not know what was going to come next especially if the public were involved. When Danielle's group were performing I felt quite nervous for the security guard as I was unsure weather they told him it was a performance or not. After the performances this is something that came up should we tell the people that are involved in our pieces before we preform it or not? I think that Monsay made a valid point that if it was something I would not be willing to do I would not do it to them! I think that if you tell the people before I do not think the performance will be as real and you will not get the same effect. I think if you are not damaging their property or hurting them I do not see why they would get angry or offended and need to tell them before hand.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

The wonderful lesson with Fiona and Mary

Wow what a fantastic lesson! Our two lovely guests Fiona and Mary had such interesting stories to tell. I must admit when they were talking about the suspender belt I was slightly surprised in a good way as I feel it is something that can be quite personal. I really enjoyed it when they talked about the sixties as I would love to have lived in that era (I really want on of those black and white dresses!!). I have learnt a lot more about the war and I found Mary's stories quite emotional and shocking. After Mary told her war story I actually began to reflect on how fortunate I am to have such a free and wonder life and certainly some things I may take advantage of.

After Mary and Fiona had finished telling their stories, we got into groups and performed one of the stories they had just told. There were so many good stories to tell so it was a difficult decision. Our group took Fiona's story of when she met her husband which was very comical! All of the pieces that were created were very different but told Mary's and Fiona's stories well. Both Mary and Fiona enjoyed watching our pieces and thought that we had told their stories back to them in an accurate and interesting way. When we were performing our pieces I was slightly worried that they may be offended or angry inside that we had not told their stories correctly. However, I did not need to worry as both Mary and Fiona really enjoyed it and assured us we told their stories correctly! I think I enjoyed the lesson even more because Mary and Fiona were enjoying it.

On the way home from Uni me and Flick were talking about the lesson and we both picked up on how Mary was very particular with nicknames. When someone said their nickname she asked what their real name is. My nan is exactly the same as my dad's name is Philip and everyone calls him Phil however my nan always calls him Phillip! I wonder why this is? I think that it may be because it is polite to call a person by their birth name??

Lastly, a big thank you to Mary and Fiona for coming into community theatre.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A quick note for tommorow

Just a very quick note before I have my dinner I have found a very very good website that tells you about each year you type in like 1958 etc.... it is good as it is not masses of writing it has some pictures too yaaaay! And is to the point! The link is

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Reminiscence Theatre lesson 13/11/08

Today's lesson was preparation for next week. In the next lesson, two guests are coming to our lesson to tell memories from their past. We will be asking our two guests encouraging questions to help them reminiscence memories from their past. During this Tina is going to bring props and costumes which will help stimulate our guests senses which will help them bring memories back. After, Mark, Molly and Tina will take them somewhere lovely and we will have 30 minutes to re-tell and perform their memories back to them. To prepare for their visit we have to come up with our questions and research life and events from 1948 in 10 year intervals. I think it is important to do the research as I may not know every event and life style in the 20th century. And I also think it is respectful to prepare yourself. I am looking forward to our guests visiting and creating the work next week as I feel it will be a new experience I can learn from and take what I have learnt to my final project.

Molly asked the group what we thought of older people?

I have various opinions of older people as I love my Nan to pieces and think she is fantastic older person as she has so many funny and great stories to tell. I think there are many other older people that are the same. However, I have been in many situations where older people have been extremely rude to me as they think I am bad and have no rights as I am a young person. So, I have mixed views of older people but I am sure older people think the same about younger people.

The rest of the lesson we discussed the terms heritage, reminiscence, memory, nostalgia and some quotes. Each group took on a term I thought this section of the lesson was interesting as it brought up some opposing views and debate.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Musical

Yesterday evening I went to see Billy Elliot The Musical with my family for my mum's birthday. During the day I had a musical lesson and we discussed the messages and content of Billy Elliot The Musical. We discussed how it was based on a lower class family. And someone pointed out that why are the tickets so expensive when it is based on a lower class family, which makes the production less accessible for these people. And then another person made a very good point of maybe it is aimed more for the middle and upper class to educate and raise awareness on the lower class. This made me think of the lesson on Forum Theatre as we discussed that this type of theatre educates the audience.
I think that what I learn in Musical Theatre sometimes relates to my Community Theatre lessons. As in The Musical we discuss a range of musicals like Billy Elliot, West Side Story and My Fair Lady. And most of the productions have a sense of a dividing community or a close community. Billy Elliot has an example of a close community and how they go through the minors strike together. And West Side Story is a good example of a dividing community of the Hispanics and Americans.
I thought it was a truly amazing show, so if you fancy a good musical go and see it!