today was a design extravaganza, with a trip to the space – the main studio at the chisenhale dance space – and very lovely it is too, bathed with light and boasting the bestest red-brick wall i ever did see. brian the wonderful lighting technician is rigging it up a storm, with a tight circle of light on the roda which takes up roughly the first half of the stage. this light will spill up to cover the musicians who will be standing at the back of the roda. he will throw beams of light over the big white muslin sails that sophie, the designer, is creating – an idea she took from Pierre Verger:
then on the back wall we will be hanging chains (which were not only donted by the very lovely Ahmet of Sun Motors in Hackney, but he then jumped in his car and drove me down to the studio! amazing the good will in people’s hearts ), which will also be picked out by shards of light, possibly eventually resembling something like this:
which is an image that sophie had sent to me some weeks ago, but which i hadn’t thought of again until i had the chains in my hands and was looking at the red brick wall. the ideas which crop up magically and from nowhere like this usually seem to be the ones one must hang on to for dear life.
we are almost fixed for costumes now, sophie has bought lots of cloth to tea-stain and make into trousers and tops for the boys, while we are using bits of african batik to make tops for the women. these i had bought in a shop in the african quarter of brussels, porte de namur, when i was there performing nearly a year ago. again, i was not sure quite why i was buying them then, but now it has all become clear…
i am becoming amazed at how much can be done on a shoestring budget: we sophie has spent £25 on the fabric, i have spent another £15-20 on production bits and bobs, £20 on printing scripts. the only considerably pricey thing so far has been rehearsal space, which over three months has amounted to around £300, so we are a little in excess of our raised £250 budget, but i don’t think we’re doing badly at all.
again, it is people’s generosity and good will that makes it possible – we are being supported by cabana cachaca who are providing caipirinhas for 100 at the show as well as nibbles (possibly from a japanese/brasilian bar on teh king’s road – now this i want to see!) and more cachaca for the after party. the party is being put on by raizes on hackney road who will donate food for the performers. jungle drums have come on board as a sponsor in kind, to provide us with promotion and print… so as i say, i am daily being bowled over by what people are willing to do to get something like this off the ground.
thinking that this was just the seed of an idea a little over two years ago, something that i dreamt of doing but didn’t really believe would come about, is testament to the fact that if you just begin something, the rest will follow of its own accord.
looking forward to tuesday to see if the vision really will make itself seen, or if it will remain elusive for some time yet…
ie! vamos emborra, camara…
Tags: acting, afro-brasilian dance, afro-dance, bateria, berimbau, brasil, brasileiro, brazil, cachaca, caipirinhas, capoeira, chains, cordao de ouro, dance, devised theatre, directing, history, kabula, music, orchestra, performance, physical theatre, singing, slavery, songs, theatre