As we rehearsed our performance we realised that certain sections in our piece didn’t work with others which resulted in our performance not capturing the audience’s attention as much as we would like. To resolve this problem we went over and talked about our piece highlighting the sections we thought were causing the problem. The scenes which we thought caused the problem were as follows: The opening scene which was the tour guide as this beginning wasn’t very dramatic which we thought wouldn’t create much interest. We felt it is better to have a powerful opening as it grabs the attention from the audience which makes them more excited about what is going to follow in the performance.
Following the tour guide the next thing that we thought we could improve on was the first dance. This consisted mainly of ballet moves which didn’t help us with what we wanted to show the audience. We decided to choreograph a more contempory dance as there would be more symbolism within it which we hoped the audience would pick up on easier than the original dance also contemporary dance is quite original with its moves so the audience may find this more interesting to watch as it’s quite a change from commonly known dances.
We were going to use this dance as the opening scene so wanted to make it dramatic and exciting for the audience. As our hidden message is ‘life’s too short’, we feel this portrays a sense of time, so we thought that we could choreograph a dance to show how time is moving on. We used a stimulus to help us create this dance it was Dali, Salvador’s ‘melting clocks’. This picture gave an essence of time moving as when looking at the picture it seems the melting clocks are moving while they are melting.
Our dance consists of sharp isolated movement like the background of the picture and quite flowing movements like the melting clocks. Having sharp and flowing moves created contrast in the dynamics and breaks up the music as we used very repetitive music. The music was also quite deep with a distinctive beat which was like the beating of a clock. We liked this music as it gave a creepy edge to the beginning of our performance. We emphasised the idea of time in the dance by isolating our arms. We used them as hands on a clock which would tick in parts of the dance.
To give the idea of the melting clocks and time slipping away from the family we used flowing movements like movements of the spine from the base of the spine and techniques from Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances like the grape vine which we used to show how the family are together working in unison but then the mother and the father jump away from their daughter which shows how the parents can no longer be with their daughter as she is dieing. We decided to have the daughter die instead of the father as we felt this would work better with our piece as the communication there would have been between the mother and the father was more inspiring. This helped us come up with extra scenes to fill in the time.
To bring the dance together we had several motifs such as the use of our arms as the ticking of the clocks which was the main motif, and flexing our hands and rotating our arms.
In our original performance the next thing we decided wasn’t working was the poem scene as it wasn’t flowing as much as we would have liked. We thought it would work better if we restructured the rest of our piece. Our group really liked the poem so we decided to keep it but only use the last verse as this seemed more relevant to our storyline but we didn’t want to use the poem yet in our performance. We thought that if we brought some drama in now it would break our piece up so far from such an abstract beginning.
The original freeze frames we concluded were quite dull as we did it to a silent background and we didn’t link each one to flow into one another.
We decided to change some of the freeze frames and the order which we hoped would work better. To add some depth to them we added ticking of clocks in the background which represented that the freeze frames were in the past. To link the freeze frames together we used abstract flowing movements of our arms which were like each scene was being fast forwarded in time. Each freeze frame showed the relationships between the different characters so the audience could understand the character situation at home. The freeze frames we used were:
- Baby just been born
- Teaching the child to read
- The child playing with her friends
- Argument between the parents and child
In the last freeze frame the daughter wants to give her up piano lessons but her parents don’t want her to, the scene ends with the daughter shouting ‘just drop dead’ to her parents who then both fall to the floor in slow motion. The daughter is now all alone. She starts coughing then she herself falls to the floor as she has died of the illness typhoid.
After the freeze frames we decided to add in our own composed music. This was originally the scene after the tour guide. We decided that as well as using keyboards to create the music we would also use our voices. We used cannon to begin the song which built up a climax of the daughter’s death. The harmony is repeated 4 times and on the last time we decided to use the poem. The daughter read the last verse of the poem while the parents stayed to the harmony, which we felt showed the audience that there was now a divide in the family. The poem is followed by our keyboard music where each of us did isolation movements to represent sadness and confusion in the family. My movements were mainly done with my arms and hands where I would reach out in different direction as I didn’t know where to turn. The poem and harmony symbolized the funeral of the daughter.
We then picked out 2 lines from the poem: ‘the sweeping up the heart’ and ‘until eternity’ which we said in cannon. We felt these two lines were the most relevant as they could be seen as the parents can’t get over the loss of their child for eternity no matter how hard they try.
We then all read the poem in unison getting louder as we walked up the stairs. This walk was done in a line which symbolized a funeral march. We lead the audience into a darkened bedroom in the mansion which would have been the daughters. We chose this room as it was dark and gave quite a morbid feel to our performance. We thought this would be good as the scene in here was very emotional. It was between the parents who were going through the daughters belongings. We wanted this scene to create an emotional reaction from the audience so we used a lot of crying and silence’s to make the audience feel uneasy about what we were doing.
We then move the audience downstairs where the mood is lightened when we do another dance. The dance symbolizes how the family want to be. It shows them being happy with their daughter at the beginning. We used paths of energy which was inspired to us from Siobhan Davis. During the dance the parents do break away from the daughter which shows that they are trying to face up to reality. In contrast with the happy dance movements we chose quite a powerful piece of music which suggests that they are not really happy but are desperately trying to be.
We chose to have a dramatic ending just like the beginning of our performance. We wanted the audience to keep thinking about our performance after it had finished. We decided to use the idea of shadows as they give a sense of mystery and suspense to the story. We chose a darkened stairway to do this. We cast a shadow from upstairs onto the wall by the stairs. Standing on the stairs was the daughter just as the parents pass the child she puts her hand on her mothers shoulder who then starts coughing the parents shadow is then cast onto the wall for the audience to see. The mother then falls to the floor and dies. We thought this ending brought the story back to our hidden message as the father has now lost both the people he loves.