Wednesday, May 22nd 2013
I felt quite unprepared going into Wednesday’s workshop, because I didn’t have very much time to create a plan. I knew that Sonja’s design plan for the day was to continue building the peep-shows, so I thought that further voice-character building would be in order. Last week we worked on transforming our inner-visions of the voice into external creatures or characters. I led the participants toward these characters through a series of physical exercises, based around words/sounds that we had created from previously-drawn images of the voice. I decided to continue work on these characters, but I also made a plan to create soundscapes based on dream-places, and to create characters for these places. Our next construction workshop will be in kaleidoscope worlds, and I thought that dream soundscapes could serve as a good audio basis.
We started with an extensive vocal warm-up and a sit, and then we all closed our eyes and I instructed participants to say a word describing a ‘loose’ voice. I then instructed them to make a sound describing a ‘loose’ voice. The participants were quite enthusiastic about the sound exercise, and a self-sustaining sound-collage quickly formed:
I noticed that two of the participants seemed to be creating a dialogue with each other, so I asked them to have a conversation. Everybody took part:
I then asked each participant to see if they could imagine a character associated with the sounds that they were making. I asked them to conduct each other’s conversations, but this didn’t seem to work because they all wanted to join in.
One of the participants began to develop a character that was quite different from anything that we had already heard. Her character sparked an idea: could we make up myths or creation stories surrounding the creatures that we had made? I asked the participant to describe her creature, and then give it a name. I interviewed her about the creature’s habitat, and what it liked to do on its day off. Then, I asked her to tell the story of the day it began. This activity evolved into a kind of interview, and the other participants readily asked questions in interview-form:
We went through the same process for both the other participants, and then we wrapped up for the day:
The creation-story was a highly successful activity, and the participants were extremely quiet when listening to each other’s characters. Often times character or gibberish activities become loud and boisterous, and participants lose focus as they start to laugh or try to out-do each other. This activity was different because there was a quietness to it. The participants improvised elaborate characters very quickly, and they seemed to care about getting all the details right.
I think that in this group, storytelling is a sure-fire path to interest. I am excited to explore these characters further, and to play with different forms of storytelling. I think that I could provide an outline and a set of ‘must-happens’ for the participants, and see if we can elaborate on what we have already created. I am curious about story-archetypes – what different kinds of stories are there, and how can we use those to generate more characters and interactions?