Park Life is go!
The group arrives. I am nervous. How do we carry them all through this process? We ran ice breaking games (er, melting?), set some playful tasks, and it became clear that support for each other was building from within. Sometimes you need to set the structure and then get out of the way to allow a new group to breathe and come alive.
Armed with sun hats and high viz jackets, we took a walk around the park to show the group our “theatre” and test out the ground. Quickly, the trams that pass through and cut into the space and sound, worked their way into the structure of the piece.
“Hot”, “dry”, “arid” and “desert” are not really the words that you would associate with a park in South Norwood, but the sun has baked the ground to a crisp, and it is a very different space than than the one we explored at the start of the month.
We had planned for heat, but I was not prepared for the effect of heat on the creative process: my thinking felt really slow. But the group took it in their (good natured) stride and worked hard and generously all day, and we did get through a lot. We mapped the first section and spent some times on duets. We decided to stay indoors in the afternoon, where we did some group map making /drawing. This allowed the group to enjoy talking together, and, as someone said, enjoy the “sociable” aspect of the work. We also started work on some fun “picnic rug” duets.
One idea that stays with me, is the idea that the piece is “unplugged”, we are only using the soundtrack that exists in the park already. One participants talked about how she loved this opportunity to unplug from everything and enjoy the space as it is.
Naturally being British Anita and I planned a park based dance piece with slight in-trepidation, mainly asking ourselves ‘will it be raining in July?’. Now with less than a week to go do we exchange umbrella’s and wellies for sun lotion and ice lollies?
Come what may this will be a week to remember for the 20 local Croydon residents who will be dancing alongside Rick Rodgers from Candoco (and co-incidentally former Croydon resident). And of course on top of that the audience members which includes the Mayor of Croydon!
This will definitely be a first for South Norwood Country Park and hopefully not the last site-specific dance piece it encounters.
The stage is set and the dancers are waiting in the bushes
The park is “booked”, the invites are going out, Park Life is up and running people!
Gemma, Sophie and I took another visit to the park. Pathways, crossings, sight lines and maps are all emerging. There are some interesting spaces where the audience can see “through” to other layers behind, and the the tram cuts througn the space, bringing sound and speed.
As well as the dirt bikes 🙂