Last rehearsal was a verbal collaboration between the two previously separated groups. We created a space on the floor using sheets, then we began to tell the stories as we knew them. We fed off one another in the storytelling – when one person told as much as they felt they could at that moment, another person would jump in and continue. The rest of us would provide the supporting sounds – ocean waves, wind, cars, laughing, crying. This method of bringing the two works together was a little busy, but fun. It allowed us to see where and how each story corresponded with the other, an unofficial unified version of the final story coming about.
Take a walk through the city. Not a drive or a bike ride or even a brisk jog to work. Just a nice leisurely walk. Let the urban backdrop of your daily commute become the focus of attention, from the tallest buildings to the cracks in the pavement.
Feel anything yet? A sense of isolation, fascination, intrigue? Perhaps despair for the urban decay and envelops much of the city as well as the minds of its people. Maybe there’s hope to be felt as some areas revitalize and restore the city’s spirit.
For me, however, there was an immense feeling of confusion and unrest. The renewed areas with their businesses and people sometimes shared the same blocks as charred husks of buildings and damaged streets. It’s like the ongoing aftermath of a wildfire that almost seems to pick which sections of a forest will regrow and which will remain scorched earth.
This was our 1 hour walk down to the Detroit River ; a sight-seeing tour of our city’s existential dilemma over who it wants to be both in the present and future. For some citizens, like the elderly man who stopped us to complain about the overgrown weeds and garbage around a building, it is maddening to be trapped in this indecisive state while things continue deteriorating.
For what it’s worth, frustrated old man, I sympathize with you. Yet at the same time it feels just as daunting to venture forth with good intentions when everyone and everything (the city included) seems poised to keep you where you are until a “definitive” answer to their problems has been reached.
It’s not enough to stop us from pushing forward, yet it is enough to disorient the senses.
The voyage we took to the River was both sacred and spiritual for me. As we traveled down Woodward, I noticed different landmarks that were vacant or being rebuilt. Instantly, I thought of people before me who may have experienced a landmark being something it no longer is today. Twenty years from now, when I have children, I can tell them that I walked those very streets and what each landmark’s significance was. Aside from that thought, the walk definitely created an open perception for our script. I felt as if I were following the wolf’s path to the river he crosses to return to sanctuary. As I followed the wolf’s path, I utilized my sense of smell, noting the various smells the wolf may experience while wondering the city. Gasoline and industrial metals were a reoccurring smell along with occasional hints of trash/waste. I also utilized touch, taking in the medium gusts of wing that hit my face as well as being grounded with the cement that touched the bottom of my boots. There were moments when I held another group member’s hand to remind myself that I was not experiencing the journey alone.
Once we made it to the River I became somewhat emotional. As human beings, we take many things for granted and forget where we’ve come from, including the individuals that fought to make our lives possible. In front of the River there is a sculpture dedicated to runaway slaves who sought the Underground Railroad. Midnight was the name of the Underground Railroad location in Detroit. Seeing the sculpture and realizing that I was standing on a historical landmark where my people sacrificed their lives was breathtaking. I was completely speechless and felt honored to stand in the same place where my ancestors made a difference. Before slaves there were Native Americans who lived and prospered in the very same place we stood. It almost makes you wonder that if the river could speak…what stories would it tell?
As I continued to walk and observe, I literally felt as if I were creating foot prints that would be left behind for people to see. In addition to that thought, I knew that I was stepping upon other foot prints, which forms a deep connection with me and all the individuals that traveled through this city. Slaves, Native Americans, and all parts of nature have made foot prints in the area we stepped foot on. The very thought makes me want to kiss the ground and worship. We are all one, connected and together have ventured the same grounds/foundation.
Wednesday morning was our first rehearsal after Christmas break, and the first time the Sailors and the Wolves came together. We walked down to the river, mostly in silence. As I was walking, I tried to take in all that I could around me, particularly by sight. I noticed the change of landscape as we got further from campus, from well-kept lots and buildings to shells of what was once something established covered in graffiti. As we got out of midtown and into downtown, we came across a lot of history. I was particularly taken by the old churches, one of them with a cornerstone dated around the 1880s. I began to imagine what the streets I was walking on looked like then, what sounds I would hear and who I would see. When I was by the rivers edge, I sat and tried to imagine what it looked like years before, before the infrastructure and pollution. Instead of big slabs of concrete, the river was probably lined with flowers and grass. Hart Plaza behind me was probably a big hill, covered with grass and trees. Everything was probably much quieter – no cars, airplanes, or sirens. Just the waters lapping the edge of the bank. This kind of quiet, beautiful world is probably what the Wolves of our story would live in.
I also took notice of the small and beautiful among the big and run down. A few blocks north of the Fox Theatre, we passed by empty parking lots, at the edge of which was a small tree. I looked back and saw three little birds, cute as can be just sitting there. Seeing them among all the rubble brought a spot of joy and natural beauty to the site.
It was a long walk, but it gave me the opportunity to really look at the things I would pass by if I were driving. I could notice the detail, and think about what could have been there before and how the space was being used now. It was a wonderful walk, not only for what I experienced, but just being with everyone. Even though we didn’t do a lot of talking for the first half, it was still a very connecting experience.
The Beginning of the song starts out with military communication- air force to be exact [TACAN: A tactical air navigation system, commonly referred to by the acronym TACAN, is a navigation system used by military aircraft. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactical_air_navigation_system] The Communication appears to be about a team in pursuit of a device- then sudden breaks of contact. Lost?
[THE SEA CAPTAIN AND HIS CREW ARE ALL HUDDLED AROUND A MAP, AND NONE OF THEM KNOW HOW TO READ IT]
1ST MATE : [LOOKING AT THE MAP, JUST AS CONFUSED] MAYBE ITS UPSIDE DOWN
CREW 1: [SHAKES HIS HEAD “YES”]
CREW 2: WELL, THERE ARE STARS ON THIS MAP, MAYBE IF WE WAIT TILL NIGHT-
CAPTAIN: I’VE GOT IT! [SNIFFS THE MAP, FINDS A SPECIFIC POINT] ah! [GOES TO THE SIDE OF THE SHIP AND DABS FINGER IN WATER AND TASTES IT] gaaak! GOOOK! [COUGH]
[SHAKES HIS HEAD “NO” AND JOINS THE GROUP AROUND THE MAP]
CREW 3: WELL WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THIS SEA?
CREW 4: IS IT A SEA? I COULD SWEAR IT WAS A LAKE
CREW 5: I THINK ITS A POND
CREW 2: ITS HAS MORE OF AN CANAL FEEL IF YOU ASK ME
CAPTAIN: I’VE BEEN ON MANY RIVERS AND LET ME TELL YOU … [REALIZES HE’S DISTRACTED AND GETS FRUSTRATED] MEN! REGARDLESS OF WHAT TYPE OF BODY OF WATER WE’RE AT SAIL, YOU ARE STILL MY CREW, AND I SAY UPWARD AND ONWARD! BESIDES, ITS SALT WATER AND THERE ARE ONLY TWO DISTINCT BODIES OF WATER THAT INCLUDE SALT, THAT IS THE BLACK SEA, THE GREAT SALT LAKE, AND OUR BIG BLUE OCEANS. WE CAN CLEARLY SEE NO LAND AROUND HERE ABOUT, THUS OCEAN. CAPTAIN’S RULE! WHO-AH!
CREW 2: THE STARS, LOOK AT THEM.
1ST MATE: STARRY SKYS! NO MONSTERS!
CAPTAIN: UGH! ALL THIS MOON LIGHT IS GETTING IN MY EYES [EVEN THOUGH HE’S BLIND] I’LL BE IN MY QUARTERS. 1ST MATE YOU’RE IN CHARGE
[CREW CONTINUE THEIR DUTIES INTO THE NIGHT, CLEANING, SINGING, WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN,WE HEAR A CRY]
CREW 1: DID ANYONE ELSE HEAR THAT?
CREW 6: I SURE DID
CREW 2: MONSTERS?
CREW 4: STARRY SKYS!
CREW 5: NO MONSTERS!
[THE CRY BECOMES EVEN LOUDER, ALMOST FRIGHTENING. THE CREW NOTICE A FIGURE WASHED ONTO A ROCK AND CANNOT GET BACK TO THE SEA]
1ST MATE: CUT SAIL! UNLOAD THE ANCHOR! ZI[! ZIP!
CREW 1: WHAT IS THAT THING?
CREW 4: IS SOUNDS LIKE ITS IN TROUBLE
CREW 2: WHAT SHOULD WE DO? THE CAPTAIN IS IN HIS QUARTERS AND THE LAST TIME WE DISTURBED HIM CREW 4 HAD TO FIX ALL OF THE SAILS, IT TOOK HIM 8 DAYS WITHOUT FOOD!
CREW 4: DOES ANYONE ELSE SMELL SHRIMP?
CREW 6: [LOOKS AT THE MAP] HEY THERE’S A WHALE ON HERE
CREW 2: A WHAT?
CREW 6: A WHALE
CREW 4: WHATS THAT?
CREW 6: LARGE FISH
1ST MATE: MAMMAL.
CREW 6: WHAT?
1ST MATE: THE WHALE IS A MAMMAL, THE LARGEST OF THEM ALL IN FACT. REGARDLESS, WE SHOULD ASSIST THIS BEAST BEFORE IT WAKES UP THE CAPTAIN. WE CAN FIGURE THIS OUT. 2,5,6 COME WITH ME, THE 1 AND 4, YOU GUYS WATCH THE SHIP AND THE CAPTAIN AND MAKES SURE HE’S NOT DISTURBED.
[CAPTAIN IS SLEEPING IN CHAIR, CREW MEMBERS DURING THIS SCENE MAY WANT TO PLAY WITH PUTTING THINGS OVER THE CAPTAINS EARS THAT WOULD PREVENT WAKING HIM UP]
1ST MATE: NOW IS MY CHANCE TO PROVE MYSELF! YIPPY! BLUE SKIES, NO MONSTERS! THEN MAYBE THEN I’LL BE ABLE TO STEER THE SHIP!
[THE CREW MAKE THERE WAY ACROSS STAGE TO FIND A LARGE BEAST WASHED ONTO A ROCK AND CAN’T GET FREE. YOU CAN TELL ITS COLD, DIRTY, AND LOST.]
? : WAH!!!!!!!
? : DRAWN OUT – HELP ME PLEASE!
1ST MATE: ALRIGHT MEN, LETS ROLL IT INTO THE WATER!
CREW: HUP HUP HUP! SWISH SWASH SWISH SWASH! HO OH! [ROLLS FIGURE AND IS REVILED AS A BABY WHALE]
1ST MATE: OH MY!
CREW 2: Balaenoptera musculus! NEWLY BORN TOO
CREW 2: LATIN FOR BLUE WHALE
1ST MATE: ACHEM, I KNEW THAT, WHO’S IN CHARGE?
[BLUE WHALE ARISES FROM THE WATER AND CAPTAIN WAKES UP]
CAPTAIN: WHO WOKE MY SLUMBER, WHEN I FIND THE NO GOOD … [NOTICES THE WHALE] PERCY?
WHALE: CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN? IS THAT YOU?
CAPTAIN: PERCY! MY FRIEND? WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?
PERCY: I WAS SWIMMING LOOKING FOR FISH, SOMETHING TO EAT, CAUSE YOU KNOW, IF I WANT TO BE AS BIG AS MY ANCESTORS, I GOT TO EAT! I WAS WITH THE SCHOOL AT THE TIME, AND I SAW SOMETHING SHINNY, I THOUGHT IT WAS FOOD, BUT IT KEPT SWIMMING FASTER AND FASTER AND BEFORE I KNEW IT I COULDN’T BREATH, I WAS SURROUNDED BY BLACK THICK WATER, I COULDN’T SEE UNTILL I MANAGED TO ROLL ONTO THIS ROCK AND WASH MYSELF. WHILE I WAS ON THE ROCK I SAW MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS BEING TAKEN AWAY FROM ME. TAKEN AWAY BY MEN IN BOATS, LIKE IN THE OLD DAYS CAPTAIN? WHEN YOU AND MY FATHER FOUGHT THE WHALE POACHERS IN THE GOOD OL’ DAYS. I NEED TO SAVE MY FAMILY, MAN NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THAT EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH IS NOT THEIR OWN BUT IS SHARED BY EVERYONE ON EARTH. I MAYBE YOUNG BUT I KNOW WHATS RIGHT, CAPTAIN, YOU TAUGHT ME THAT.
CAPTAIN: I’M SO PROUD OF YOU PERCY, FOR BEING AS STRONG AS YOU ARE. I BELIEVE YOU ARE THE WISEST WHALE I HAVE EVER MET. CREW, THIS WHALE NEEDS HELP FINDING HIS FAMILY, HOW DOES A LITTLE DIRECTION SOUND?!
1ST MATE: AT THE READY SIR!
CAPTAIN: HERE [ HANDS HIM THE WHEEL] YOU STEER.
PERCY: FOLLOW ME!
ALL: STARRY SKIES! NO MONSTERS!
After missing the rehearsal the week before Thanksgiving, I had to get caught up last rehearsal to see what my ensemble mates covered. I was so bummed to miss the last rehearsal, I heard it was tons of fun. When they filled me in, I could see why! They worked on the scene Aeisha wrote where the fat man is watching tv and is driven to get a wolf. The scene was written very cleverly to match the tone and notes of the original song, and the words are rather hilarious! Mary and my ensemble mates filled me in on what the scene was about, gave me a copy of the scene, and plugged me right in. After this past rehearsal, I can see how each of the scenes that were written will come together and possible ways they will be physically acted out in the show. I am excited to read the script and see all of the other parts of the story in script form that I have not yet seen.
Today I took my grandson from school and it was cold and rainy and we came home. My grandson is four and a half and at home we love to play the piano and make up stories. Both of us don’t ‘know’ to play the piano but we love to play anyway. This afternoon he wanted to play all by himself, I was aloud to sit and be quiet and touch nothing. Then he began to play on the lower notes with all his possible might (By mysterious luck the piano is still standing) and told this story:
And the man was changed to a dinosaur and the dinosaur was born and the dinosaur ran to the city and he killed the people, more and more and more and he killed and killed and killed every one and they were all killed and then he saw god and the dinosaur chased god and god ran and ran faster and faster and then he disappeared to the sky. He is hiding now. One man was left. And he came out. And the dinosaur very slowly changed. He became a little boy (going to the lower notes). And the boy stayed with the man.
I swear by my life and by god wherever he is hiding that I wrote the story almost word by word.
I bet you’re pretty curious as to would I would title this particular blog “Groove Makin'”, well prepare to be AMAZED…or not. Last week during our rehearsal we continued to explore how the Fat man is inspired to get a wolf. We’ve loosely decided that he’ll be watching tv and the tv will come to life. Inside the tv are singers and dancers who’ll persuade him with their sultry dance moves and engaging voices to get a wolf (song will be inspired by Donna Summers’ I Need Love). The group is starting to get a groove going, our group member Tiaja brought her guitar and we’ve been jamming out! We intend to add more music once we combine with the other Tour Show group next semester. I’m excited about going deeper with our idea and am proud to admit that I’m bringing my hardcore tamborine to our next meeting. I feel like we’re on the right track, last week a couple of people stopped by our room and we offered them to come watch us, they seemed to be pretty engaged in the story (which is definately something we want). I really am enjoying these group sessions because there is so much creativity from us individually and we work very well as a group. We are really getting into the groove of things, we’re Groove Makin’ baby!!!
Last week our group had so much fun discussing our ideas for the script. Each of us had great ideas and all were uniquely different. We had songs, poems, and beautiful narratives that are sure to bring flare to the story. Cecilia’s “Be a Man” song had us all laughing, and Molly’s singing brought us all to tears; not because it’s a sad song (because it isn’t) but because she sang it so beautifully. Rosa gave such a delightfully descriptive beginning, Alex rocked our minds with his deep poetry and Tiaja created a beautively written narrative. I think my favorite part of the script would have to be Aiesha’s song and dance for the fat man, I’m so excited about implementing these ideas into movement. Well I ended up going with my Dr. Seuss idea and I think the group liked it alot. I drew my inspiration from the narrator in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. Below I have provided a link to show you what I was going for.
The narration begins at 1:58
In performance exchange, we discover through play. Play meaning we first warm up our bodies and minds to the raw ideas in front of us and adopt traits through invention and spontaneous objective reactions. The ocean was given to us as a raw idea in our ensemble and I feel that the ocean is new, ever changing and the alpha when it comes to power. We as Man have discovered more about space then we have about our own oceans. With this fact, romanticizing the relationship with the moon and large bodies of water instantly attracted my attention. As actors with these facts under our belt, we played and we evolved. Yes my attendance has been faulty lately but I assure you, my process of what we’ve built already has not been forgotten and not neglected, I ask for your forgiveness and accept my most sincere apology. Back to the ocean, MOBY DICK by LED ZEPPELIEN came to mind first. Rhythm has been a huge element in our process so with that why not be inspired by the Viking God himself John Bonham
Moby Dick – Led Zeppelin ( start at the one minuet mark )
it speaks adventure.. With our play being as fearless as it has been, kind of interesting how the call and response element of the drum set has, much like our ensemble and how we interact in the moment.
Photos of whales:
Blue (Moby Dick) c. 1943
Moby Dick Fantasy Fine Art Print – Jan Fontecchio Perley
Mystical Whales by Nancy J Hall
AS for the Whale. Katy Bush is a Rock Star, but I feel her story is for a lullaby and is not really active, in terms of how my writing style goes. Being that it does not have much to grow on, my adventures brought me to Quadrophenia by The Who. More specificly – Drowned and Moby Dick
the section of the monster being discovered is of great importance. The crew obviously fear monsters, and most likely a monster has to do with the captain being blind. But this unique awareness of their safety by being vigalent with call and response of
so encountering a monster has potencial not for just physical violence to which everyone must beat the crap out of it then ask questions but let the peril come in and absorb the crew. Discovering he’s a whale with news will be such a release that they will forget about the mysticism of a talking whale but more glad for their life.
(We see our heroes in deep water. Most of the crew looks as though they’re lost, but our vigilant captain maintains his unwavering confidence in his sense of direction.)
There are men high up there fishing,
Haven’t seen quite enough of the world,
I ain’t seen a sign of my hero,
And I’m still diving down for pearls.
Let me flow into the ocean,
Let me get back to the sea.
Let me be stormy and let me be calm,
Let the tide in, and set me free.
I’m flowing under bridges,
Then flying through the sky,
I’m travelling down cold metal
Just a tear in baby’s eye.
Let me flow into the ocean
Let me get back to the sea
Let me be stormy and let me be calm
Let the tide in, rush over me.
I am not the actor
This can’t be the scene
But I am in the water,
As far as I can see…
I’m remembering distant memories
Recalling other names.
Rippling over canyons,
And boiling in the train.
ALL: [chant] blue skies, no monsters!
Cap.: ha-rumpf [points out location on the map] swish-swash swish: EEEPPP! [dabs finger in the water] hmmm
1st mate: ?
Cap.: [dabs finger in the water, tastes it and holds it up.] AH HAH! [Points in the direction they’ve been going] HOOOO OOOOHH!!
Crew: UGGHHHH! [disappointment]
One rumble [section of Moby Dick]
Cap. BLUE SKIES?!
1st mate: ALL HANDS ON DECK.
[chorus line crew members shoulder to shoulder]
Two rumbles [another section of Moby Dick]
[movement should be spiratic almost as though the beast was under the boat moving it to and fro]
MONSTER [whale covered in sludge]!!!
[running away from the newly boarded monster soon becomes stopping as the captain stands to face the monster, the monster and the captain face off like an epic duel]
Captain: [quoting Patton’s 1944 England speech]
You are not all going to die. Only two percent of you right here today would die in a major battle. Death must not be feared. Death, in time, comes to all men. Yes, every man is scared in his first battle. If he says he’s not, he’s a liar. Some men are cowards but they fight the same as the brave men or they get the hell slammed out of them watching men fight who are just as scared as they are. The real hero is the man who fights even though he is scared. Some men get over their fright in a minute under fire. For some, it takes an hour. For some, it takes days. But a real man will never let his fear of death overpower his honor, his sense of duty to his ship [country], and his innate manhood.
Battleis the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best and it removes all that is base.
[The whale being so moved by these words rolls over to revile himself]
Whale: that was beautiful, captain, you truly love your crew and will do the impossible to make sure of their safety. You gota good cap. here guys! [still emotional] a bunch of us guys were heading over to hear what all the hub-up at this island, something about a wolf or something, adventure eh? Why not! Hahahaha!
[crew decide amoung themselves if they should go..]
[Conclusion of MOBY DICK—idea in motion/movement]
[They all decide to follow and finally have some direction]