Online Roundtable C: DAY 2: How to move on
Updated: Dec 29, 2018
During the second and last day of the online roundtable the team continued the discussion on the topic language as music. There was a series of online performative tests prepared, however, as the team was waiting for a technical issue to be solved, a spontaneous discussion took place that changed the plans and led to sharing and shaping a more concrete approach about how to move on with the upcoming workshop.
Intro by Thanasis concrete direction
● How is speech involved in your work and how does it get closer to music?
● SPEECH: Common ground between the theatre world and the music world
○ SPEECH is an organised sound and semantics phenomenon
○ Phonemes (sounds), Vocabulary (words), Syntax (phrases, sentences)
○ Provides structures of meaning and sound (pitch, rhythm)
○ Microtonal sound world, rich sound colour palette (also voice’s character...), advanced rhythmic patterns
○ The space located between talking and singing
● TODAY: generate and share ideas about how to approach the topic “the music of spoken language” or “the music of speech” in the upcoming workshop.
● THINK: Specific experiment ideas and explorations on stage are welcome. They can also have a form of a specific question, e.g. what happens to my intonation as I talk, if my body gets physically challenged?
● Also TODAY: Playing around with transcribing text - let’s see how this works or doesn’t work.
Next to the work on this topic by composers such as George Aperghis, Robert Ashley and Beat Furrer, the team started the day with a lighter introduction:
The team was asked to revisit the previous day's chatrooms and read each other's comments on the Workshop B's open tryout. As the next planned step of the roundtable did not work due to a technical issue, a discussion took place instead. The artists shared thoughts about the goals and the direction of the platform's research, defining problematic points and finding the most constructive way to continue as a collective. Below is an excerpt of their discussion:
Richard: for me, the missing aspect from the 'show' in athens was the 'why'. why are we doing this and what do we all mean to each other. if we want to work with speech and sound, perhaps we can make it more personal.
Thanasis: more personal, like? what I propose is that we pick up what worked well in September and fits within the music of speech, and explore it more in May
baswie?: @Richard: yes!
Richard: text that means something to each of us, personally, in some way. like our own personal contribution to the work, that we expand through sound/movement sorry, and most importantly, that we write ourselves.
Thanasis: I wouldn't like us to go again in all new materials and exploring new texts though
Els Mondelaers: i think we have to trust the flow... come in to the moment... in fact it doesn't matter what we are doing... we can just use what we had or decide to use new material on and on...
Richard: because, as wonderful as the texts that we used are, they are not by us, we have imported them, selected them. i think it's more captivating to see people doing something that they have a personal connection to.
Thanasis: first of all we don't have time to explore 10 new ideas/materials in 5 days
Richard: yes, point taken.
Els Mondelaers: maybe we need a kind of "playground" and what is it as a performer... to be in the "flow"so that everything you do... means something...
Thanasis: first of all, not to repeat myself all the time, what I'm saying goes under the focus "the music of speech"
baswie?: I think what I am really fed up with, is that we keep creating wonderful TOOLS and we stay there. I don´t mean we need to make a finished show, but if you won´t go the last 20 % of what it is to FINISH something, then you won't have explored it, really. And this was where we were in Athens. Great material, no WHY, no trying to reach "perfection".
roelof pothuis: I think it is the other way around. We are all story tellers, all within our own expertise. but in this context telling the story is not the end goal but the way is so for me i would love to be able to agree on any story and find new tools.
IRO: what could be personal is a quite personal matter...
Thanasis: I would like to see 3-4 things we all know, and research how would it work if we approach them in different ways.
Thanasis: Bas I agree with you!
Els Mondelaers: athens was for me forcing to put things in a performance...
Thanasis: That's what I am actually saying. Let's explore PARTS. Not the entire show. Let's play round with text, decompose it, re compose it, transcribe it, do stuff just 3 - 4 of them, and bring them to a different place
Els Mondelaers: and trust the theatre people, musicians! :-)
Thanasis: that feels more explored and completed
tzeni: yes lets work fully on things and not care about full show, great dramaturgy...
IRO: so why new material, and not the ones that we have been starting to explore?
Thanasis: I agree with Iro
Els Mondelaers: me too
Thanasis: we just need case studies - we can do nice stuff with anything
Thanasis: let's pick up the ones that worked well in September and focus on them
IRO: yes, and, staying on things....
Richard: yes in light of the time we have, we don't have time for new materials. but perhaps we need to answer moreso the question of why in regard to the relationships onstage and why these texts etc.
Efthimis: worked well also in a language/speech kind of way?
Els Mondelaers: i think so...
Thanasis: Richard, I am not sure we need to question the choices now
baswie?: I agree with Richard about the why. Because that, also, is part of "finishing" material.
Els Mondelaers: i remember great thing in relation to speech/language in the very first week...
baswie?: but if we can answer the "why" about the already existing material, that should be ok.
Thanasis: ah yes then Bas and Richard, now I understand, you mean bother ourselves with the relations they create
baswie?: well... why we do them in the first place.
Els Mondelaers: maybe your answer on the why
Thanasis: or frictions or non relations
Els Mondelaers: is in the challenge of speech/language...
Thanasis: for me, I take them as an excuse to explore ideas
Els Mondelaers: and what with it in spoken language/music/body
Thanasis: not to express myself through them
Els Mondelaers: indeed... it is semantic material!
Thanasis: i could also take the things that didn't work at all and make them work
baswie?: As the great soccer player Johan Cruyff once said: I´ve never moved to somewhere on the field if it wasn´t necessary.
Thanasis: I don't care so much at this point about why we chose certain materials I'm interested to know how they ended up there
baswie?: not why we chose them, but why we are doing them on stage.
Els Mondelaers: and if we keep the material of the first week... the idea of the stranger is it... and the audience will make it's own story... if we are totally in it and convincing
baswie?: if we can´t answer this, we´re lost.
Els Mondelaers: Why are we on stage anyway...
Thanasis: I'd like us to make something more clear - when you say materials, you mean the texts? or also e.g. Els singing?
tzeni: we can also see what we do as a stranger.. i mean the why what we look for and from this research is a stranger...
Thanasis: I have an issue with all these questions now. It feels like they are part of "what do I want to say to the audience" but this is linked to how we usually start building a performance. I'd like us to be more playful and just test things that we like under the given frame.
Richard: i like this idea of tzeni's. do we find the stranger in the end?
baswie?: I am not interested in "just testing".
Thanasis: they will lead to something that bothers us
baswie?: we did a lot of "just testing" and we are very good at it.
Richard: (thanasis, you mean 'care about'?)
tzeni: we dont test we search
Thanasis: I want to test deeper though
Els Mondelaers: Again... let's trust Iro and Tzeni... in bringing structure in what ever we do...
IRO: well, the why, the necessity of doing things, is not necessarily something clear and logic, yes?
Els Mondelaers: and efthimis of course... but you are invisible...
Thanasis: I want to have a scene and push it hard to wherever it can go
IRO: i mean that, doing, involving ourselves into something concrete, with a goal, that we like, can bring us to the why, yes?
baswie?: no the necessity can be absolutely poetic and metaphysical. :-)
Thanasis: yes, I propose we don't start with the why, it will consume all our energy and time because it's not something easily graspable and it's always a question mark anyway, even if we arrive to an answer
tzeni: i agree , i think research means you go somewhere you do not know and the why because you want to find fresh, personal, new ways of expression...
Els Mondelaers: Amen!
IRO: so, what you mean in a first place Bas, is to take something, one, two or three things that we REALLY believe for one reason that we want to take
Thanasis: I propose we narrow down the material, chose 2-3 scenes, push their limits, transform them, find out what they mean to us, how important they are to us, also the way we perform, the way we use our voices in all this
tzeni: and the accident and great thing here is that we do it all together great
Thanasis: do we all say the same thing?
Richard: yes agreed.
Els Mondelaers: yes
Thanasis: are we all on the same page?
Efthimis: yes makes sense, one question the whole language/music thing where does it fit to that?
baswie?: yeah that is a good start.
Efthimis: just to make things a bit clearer
Thanasis: well, we need a frame to move on
IRO: to everything Efthimis, to the way of approach and research...
Thanasis: (I believe, a narrower frame, not only about choosing less material but also about how we're going to further research it)
Efthimis: ok clear
Thanasis: ok good! I guess the plans for today's roundtable have changed
Kieran Klaassen's online platform, designed for the purposes of the RE-FUSE roundtables, introduced in Online Roundtable C a new function under the title highlights, via which any member of the team could highlight any text in the chatroom, keeping a sort of personal list of notes:
Els Mondelaers Speech Music A particular equilibrium of relation between narration and singing/dancing for a theatrical form It has to do with text, a story getting out of the music and not the contrary... to move beyond just playing The "totality" of the thing, maybe video as a separate personage on stage the coexistence of performers from various backgrounds trying to find honesty I am thinking a lot lately of the different qualities that exist when something is improvised even with very strict rules, when is open improvisation and when is set in detail and how much space to explore various qualities exists in each occasion. How to work on speaking and structure it as a sound composition. the hierarchy issue How to work on speaking and structure it as a sound composition to not over do it my limits and perception. do it. it
tzeni trouwens! personal can someone be on stage within a constructed environment looking for a personal way of expression... Sometimes I find it hard to understand or connect connecting different individuals within the audience a choir who sing all the time and dance can be the "protagonist" get out of the comfort zone body/physical performance without instruments performing challenge the tensions between music, text, space, time, and how they could be merged The "totality" of the thing, maybe? common "difficulties" video as a separate personage on stage Locating sound in space! Involve real-time to not over do it. more space and speech
Richard Speech Music stage biographies everything is divided showing them things they didn't know even existed poetry coming from music opening up you can really "live" in the thing error video purely as a light source very strict rules where does one discipline stop being what it is and gets transformed to another more space and speech
baswiegers [5:01 PM] working on stage biographies and how personal can someone be on stage within a constructed environment. to be an all-round the idea of giving control away turning their world of ideas upside down is sexy get out of the comfort zone to move beyond just The fact that as a maker you can really "live" in the thing making little maquettes trying to find honesty within it and maybe trying to make it accurate. I am thinking a lot lately where does one discipline stop being what it is and gets transformed to another will broaden my limits and perception.
roelof pothuis speech Music dus Too often everything is divided in skills... turning their world of ideas upside down is sexy A particular equilibrium of relation between narration and singing/dancing for a theatrical form get out of the comfort zone exploring different ways of 'being' The fact that as a maker you can really "live" in the thing It would be interesting to find the most common "difficulties" in whatever is called music theatre the tensions between music, text, space, time, and how they could be merged. vocal vocabulary or even simply, theatre where does one discipline stop being what it is and gets transformed to another As a musician i guess the acting part.
Kieran ... Leuk je weer eens te “zien” trouwens! spoken word as it is expressed in everyday life .. Too often everything is divided in skills poetry coming from music non logical . comfort zone as a musician ge and to the different ways to get out text (singing/speaking) "live" in the thing the best "subject matter" that fits in a music theatre concept roelof: error video as a separate personage on stage to generate an audience darkness in general. an echt Rotterdamer coexistence of performers from various backgrounds on stage confusing in a way the clear lines quality that exist when something is improvised qualities exist in each occasion I have no idea real-time technologies speaking and structure it is tricky some times to not over do it broaden my limits and perception COCKTAILS SERVED! story getting out of the music particular RE-FUSE Bot
George Over Speech Music :-) is to be story getting out of the music just playing "live" in the thing error ligt confusing in a way the clear lines between them where does one discipline stop being what it is and gets transformed to another I have no idea to explore more space and speech baswie? Je valt digitaal trouwens ook reuze mee! down is sexy
Pepe i´m here 5:01 Too often everything is divided giving control away space, form, context, interaction. move beyond the tensions between music, text, space, time, and how they could be merged You can highlight whatever you find important vocal vocabulary Kitchen
Efthimis Idem dito... making songs theatre education other levels of perception opened, that are non logical to get out of the comfort zone playing darkness synchronous bodies one discipline stop being over do it
Thanasis Idem dito... rhythms and qualities of everyday speech on stage Too often everything is divided in skills connecting different individuals within the audience the other levels of perception opened understanding of space, form, context, interaction connecting better to the people on stage and to the audience. move beyond just playing the clarinet and to be involved in eg. text (singing/speaking) the intersection between the voice and the clarinet performance without instruments concision can be a virtue... i google translated it... very weird!!! as a maker you can really "live" in the thing find the most common "difficulties" in whatever is called music theatre the tensions between music, text, space, time, and how they could be merged. “I have nothing to say and I am saying it and that is poetry as I need it.” ―John Cage Source/Notes: Lecture on Nothing (1949) video as a separate personage on stage, and video as a new way to generate an audience (via youtube for instance). movement and vocal vocabulary and synchronous bodies qualities exist in each occasion. I found attractive the coexistence it is tricky some times to not over do it. I would love to explore more space and speech.
End of Online Roundtable C.