A week of revisiting, then rewriting He Dreamed a Train...its been a good week, always challenging when interrogating new work...what works, what is relevant, how many of our ideas do we kill off in order to grow new and more relevant ones...our journey this week was one of creating a new home for our play "He Dreamed a Train".
For the last few days, Benjamin Knapton, Travis Ash and I have been residing at Queensland Theatre, moving our work forward. Rarely do independent works have this opportunity: thanks to Australia Council and Brisbane City Council and thanks to Queensland Theatre for inkind support this week, we have had the delicious opportunity to re-look at two of our performance works, Train and EVE, with a double season in July at Brisbane Powerhouse.
Train was initially part of "Labrats" at Playlab in 2012, led by Ian Lawson, followed by work-in- residence at Metro Arts in 2013 produced by Kieran Swann. It then won a SWEET season, a program created by Brisbane Powerhouse and produced by Marnie Karmelita, which championed new work. That was in 2014. A two week season is simply a taster when it comes to growing a work and is once again Train and Eve are supported by Brisbane Powerhouse with an upcoming season in July 2017.
This week has shown the importance of returning to and enriching new work. We have a months rehearsal for the two plays in June in the BPH Stores Rehearsal Room to look forward to, followed by a three week season in BPH Visy Theatre.
Eve had a tiny season at Metro Arts in 2012 as part of their independent season-directed by Leah Mercer- followed by a 3 week season at The Blue Room in Perth where it won several Blue Room awards. It is a powerful play, a story of un-belonging, and one that I return to with tentativeness and vigour. Train, as well, is a tender play about belonging, focusing on the transitional themes of life and death. In both plays we embrace mythology as a parallel story, throwing insight on the main themes of belonging, un-belonging, home and un-home.
This week we have written a new ending and grown a new myth for Train. It has been a worthwhile few days and surprisingly not as difficult as one might think. We shared and grew stories and in the sharing realised that there were other stories that needed to be incorporated in the piece in order to enrich and empower the themes, the actors and their audience.
While working at QT this week I also had the opportunity (as National Artistic Team member) to meet up with other independent artists and talk about their independent work, the enormous difficulty of getting it up and the need to be proactive and develop one's own opportunities which is not an easy task. And this brings with it other questions: why do we persist in making our own work when it is so difficult to find the support, the space, the audiences? I think we all have a different answer to this question. Is there another model, one embracing social enterprise, where the artists can find an income stream alongside the production? Big conversations.
When we enter our season of these two shows, we will be offering workshops to the community, some specifically aimed at high school students, university students and teachers. Some aimed at the general public. These workshops will endeavour to enrich the audience's response to the work. Some of the workshops will be skilled based, focusing on the bringing together of technology and old fashioned storytelling. Others will focus on creating personal stories of transformation. Either way, hopefully they will be exciting to participate in, both for the participants and the facilitators.
So next week I am still based at QT, but as a writer. Sitting in a room and refining the works. I look forward to it. I am also endeavouring to see the marvellous work that is happening around town. Having been away for most of the month, there is a lot to catch up on.