Earlier this week, my group and I had a meeting with Conan about his performance “Leaving Home” which is based on Amy Beechey and the loss of her sons, which is one of the stories we would like to involve in our performance. We spoke about using costumes to help develop characters and Conan mentioned that the female cast members in Leaving Home had to wear corsets and therefore they needed to see how their bodies worked differently in those types of clothes. We also spoke about sounds and music in our performance and he advised us to research the sounds and music of 1915 to have a clear idea of what would be appropriate for our piece. Conan also told us the location of Amy Beechey’s grave and so a visit to her grave might be useful. Additionally, Conan advised us to start with a theme first and possibly use 1915 as a base time. He said it would be a wise idea to research into how war changed women and the patronizing expectations of women and also events involving women, during the war. I found it really useful that Conan said to focus on symbolic small moments that involve audience participation rather than just creating a grand performance alongside the audio track. The main things mentioned in the meeting was to involve the audience a lot more, use symbolism and think carefully about how audio and performance integrate. The meeting was very useful and much appreciated.
Furthermore, after the meeting we began engaging in further research about women in 1915 and thinking about the expectations of women before the war such as housework, cooking, looking after the children etc. and then the masculine jobs that women had to do such as working in factories making tracks for the tanks, like Florence Bonnett. We also managed to type up a rough copy of something that could be mentioned in our audio track to introduce the topic of the performance and give the audience an idea of what the theme of the performance is.
Today we spent time at our site (Steep Hill) and recorded various sounds. We recorded sounds such as people walking and talking up Steep Hill, sounds in the sweet shop such as the cash register, the door bell and the sound of sweets being measured and also we recorded the sound of some machines that were being used for road works because that made us think of the factory work during the war.
Karen suggested that listening to the sounds can make you think of other sounds for example, Karen thought the sweets being poured sounded like pebbles and Laura thought it could be bullets. With this in mind, we decided that we are going to record sounds that we hear over the weekend and see if it reminds us of anything that could be relevant to our piece. We also agreed that we should start thinking about monologues.